Why Do Hippies Smell Like Patchouli?

Medically Reviewed on 2/10/2023
Patchouli oil has a raw, earthy scent.
Patchouli oil has a raw, earthy scent. It is often described as having a spicy, sweet, and slightly musty odor.

Patchouli oil has been in use for thousands of years, but it gained tremendous popularity because of its use by the hippies in the 1960s. Experts suggest that the regular use of patchouli oil by hippies is because of the raw, earthy, and natural nature of this oil. Hippies preferred using products that were not artificially manufactured and were cruelty-free. Those are characteristics of patchouli oil. Patchouli oil is derived from the plant, Pogostemon cablin, which belongs to the mint family. The plant is native to tropical Asian countries such as India, China, Malaysia, and the Philippines. Some experts suggest that strong-smelling patchouli oil was used by hippies to mask the smell of marijuana that they have used. It was also effective in masking the smell of alcohol. The hippie culture emphasized unbounded love and inclusiveness. Patchouli oil is known for its calming and libido-enhancing effect, which made it popular among hippies.

Some people also detect hints of fresh grass, dried leaves, and a touch of vanilla in its aroma. Patchouli is widely used in perfumes, incense, and other fragrance products due to its long-lasting and distinct scent.

Is patchouli oil good for stress and anxiety?

There is a lack of scientific evidence to support the use of patchouli oil for medical conditions including stress, depression, and anxiety. Caution is advised. The oil, however, is used by practitioners of alternative medicine including Ayurveda and aromatherapy for managing mental conditions such as stress, depression, and anxiety.

Besides its use for mental conditions, patchouli oil is also used for other purposes including

  • Treating skin conditions such as skin allergies and inflammation
  • Controlling nausea and vomiting
  • Treating headaches
  • Treating bad breath, especially from alcohol use
  • Treating diarrhea and stomach pain
  • Controlling appetite
  • Treating skin conditions as a constituent of skin creams, lotions, and other personal care products
  • Treating hair conditions such as hair loss and dandruff
  • Treating insect and fungal infestations as an insecticide and antifungal agent to protect items such as silk fabrics, carpets, and woolen clothes
  • Enhancing the taste of foods and beverages as a flavoring agent
  • Disinfecting because it has disinfectant and antibacterial properties 
  • Enhancing scent In perfumes and deodorants


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How do you use patchouli oil? Benefits

Patchouli oil has to be diluted in a carrier oil such as coconut oil before use. Direct application of concentrated essential oil is not recommended because it may cause skin irritation. Patchouli applications and benefits include:

  1. Aromatherapy: The oil can also be used in aromatherapy. You may add a few drops of the oil to your moisturizer or skin cream before application.
  2. Perfume: Mix a few drops of patchouli oil with a carrier oil, such as jojoba oil, and use it as a natural perfume.
  3. Hair care: Add a few drops to shampoo or conditioner to make hair smoother and boost scalp health.
  4. Relaxation: Add a few drops of patchouli oil to your bath water to help promote relaxation and reduce stress.
  5. Foods and beverages: Patchouli oil may also be added in small quantities to foods and beverages as a flavoring agent.
  6. Tea: Dried leaves from the patchouli plant may be used for making patchouli tea. Ingestion of patchouli oil may be toxic and should be avoided.

The safety of patchouli oil has not been demonstrated in pregnant women or lactating mothers. Because there is a paucity of scientific evidence for using patchouli oil for treating medical conditions, it is advisable to not use the oil or other patchouli products without consulting your healthcare provider. People with underlying medical conditions or who are on long-term medications must particularly refrain from using the oil without consulting their doctor.

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Medically Reviewed on 2/10/2023
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