Patchouli (Indonesian) essential oil is extracted from the leaves of the herb which are dried and fermented before steam distillation. It is dark brown in color and gives off an aroma of earth and smoke.
Patchouli oil is known as “light” patchouli oil because it results from the use of stainless steel to distill the essence of the patchouli plant. The “black” Patchouli oil is distilled in iron vats and is thicker with a more pronounced aroma. Light patchouli oil is generally preferred for soaps and diffusers, due in part to its more subtle and milder aroma.
The Indonesian variety (as opposed to the Indian variety) of patchouli oil is the best known and most used form, having a tastier and more musky aroma than its Indian counterpart.
Patchouli oil is known to be effective in the fight against stress, anxiety and depression. It is also used as an aphrodisiac and to combat bad odors. As such, it is often used as a natural deodorant.
Other benefits include preventing infection, reducing inflammation, and improving circulation.