Saturday, December 31, 2011
Essential oils: Patchouli
Patchouli essential oil is steam distilled from the Pogostemon cablin plant, generally found in the tropical parts of Asia. It is rectified to remove some of the darker colours in the oil. (Rectification means there's a re-distillation of the crude oils.) CO2 extraction was find to produce a higher yield of patchouli oil from the raw materials - generally the leaves, and it takes 100 kg to create 3.5 kg of oil, which explains why it's so expensive - and a "better quality" essential oil (Journal of Supercritical Fluids, Feb 2009, Vol 48, issue 1, p 15-20).
Click here for more processing technique information!
The main compound in patchouli essential oil is patchouli alcohol or patchoulol, which makes up about 32% of the oil. The other components include α-guaiene at 15.6%, Ϭ-guaiene at 16.7%, α-patchoulene at 5.5%, and seychellene at 5.3%. The main odour of patchouli comes from norpatchoulenol, which makes up 0.6% of the oil. (Journal of Essential Oil Research, issue 16, p 17 to 19, Jan/Feb 2004.)
click here and scroll down. No page number given.) Please note that I have not been able to find any studies on any of these claims, so I can't provide you with any more information than this. I was able to find that patchouli essential oil is considered a potential contact allergen when used at more than 1%, so I'd suggest you keep your usage of this oil under 1% (p. 91, Handbook of Cosmetic Science & Technology).
As with most of our essential oils, it is suggested to use patchouli in the cool down phase of our products (below 45˚C/113˚F) and it sounds like using it at 1% or lower is a good idea.
If you can provide me with some studies on patchouli essential oil or any of the components, let me know! I've seen many claims made, but can't find a single study on patchouli, patchouli alcohol, and patchoulol in my texts, on Ebsco host, Google scholar, or Google books!
Join me on Monday for more fun with essential oils!