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Patchouli alcohol: The main determinant for quality of Patchouli oil

Patchouli oil has been well known for over a century due to its importance and highly valued essential oil extracted from Patchouli leaves (Pogostemon cablin Benth). Patchouli oil is mainly used in fragrance and also listed as generally regarded as safe (GRAS) (Manoj et al., 2012). The quality of patchouli oil depends on the presence of Patchouli alcohol (PA) as the major volatile compound in Patchouli oil. Patchouli alcohol, also called by Patchoulol (C15H26O), is a sesquiterpene alcohol (Figure 1) found naturally in patchouli, although Magee et al. (1995) had successfully made a total synthesis of Patchouli alcohol in six steps starting from 2,2,6-trimethylcyclohexadiene.

Figure 1. Molecular structure of Patchouli Alcohol

Sumatra and Sulawesi Islands are the main Patchouli growing regions in Indonesia. In general, Patchouli oil from Sumatra is composed of Patchouli alcohol (31.8%), δ-guaine (17.0%), α-guaiene (13.9%), and other minor compounds. The Patchouli alcohol content of Patchouli oil from Sumatra is slightly higher than that of Sulawesi (30.0%) (PT Mitra Ayu Adipratama), but lower than other countries, China (37.5-51.0%) (Chen et al., 2014) and India (50.7-54.3%) (Singh et al., 2002). Jain et al. (2021) revealed that in addition to the geographical origin, other factors, such as climate, harvesting time, and extraction process, caused the variation of Patchouli alcohol content. Several reports showed that patchouli’s leaves have the highest content of Patchouli alcohol than in stems and lastly in roots (Chen et al., 2014; Lee et al., 2020).

Patchouli alcohol is one of decisive chemical constituents from patchouli oil responsible for the strong and long lasting aroma (Donelian et al., 2009). It is known for a distinctive Patchouli scent of earthy and camphor (Su et al., 2014). In addition, various health beneficial effects of Patchouli alcohol have been reported, i.e., anti-oxidative (Liu et al., 2016), anti-inflammation (Zhang et al., 2020), anti-cancer (Lu et al., 2016), anti-obesity (Lee et al., 2020b), and others reviewed by Lee et al. (2020a). With both functions contributing to its aroma and pharmacological properties and the main component of the Patchouli oil, the content of Patchouli alcohol is frequently used as an indicator for the quality of patchouli oil.

PT Mitra Ayu offers Patchouli essential oil, with Patchouli alcohol 30% to 99%. Contact us at or send us a message HERE.


Chen, Y., Wu, Y.-G., Xu, Y., Zhang, J.-F., Song, X.-Q., Zhu, G.-P., and Hu, X.-W. (2014). Dynamic accumulation of sesquiterpenes in essential oil of Pogostemon cablin. Brazilain Journal of Pharmcognosy, 24: 626–634.

Donelian, A., Carlson, L.H.C., Lopes, T.J., and Machado, R.A.F. (2009). Comparison of extraction of patchouli (Pogostemon cablin) essential oil with supercritical CO2 and by steam distillation. The Journal of Supercritical Fluids, 48: 15–20.

Jain, P.L.B., Patel, S.R., and Desai, M.A. (2021). Patchouli oil: an overview on extraction method, composition and biological activities. Journal of Essential Oil Research, 34: 1–11.

Lee, H.-S., Lee, J., Smolensky, D., and Lee, S.-H. (2020). Potential benefits of patchouli alcohol in prevention of human diseases: A mechanistic review. International Immunopharmacology, 89: 107056.

Lee, J., Kong, B., and Lee, S.H. (2020b). Patchouli alcohol, a compound from Pogostemon cablin, inhibits obesity. Journal of Medicinal Food, 23: 326–334.

Liu, X., Jiang, L., Liu, F., Chen, Y., Xu, L., Li, D., Ma, Y., Li, H., and Xu, J. (2016). Effect of patchouli alcohol on the regulation of heat shock-induced oxidative stress in IEC-6 cells. International Journal of Hyperthermia, 32: 474–482.

Lu, X.G., Yang, L., Lu, C.H., Xu, Z.Y., Qiu, H.F., Wu, J.J., Wang, J.W., Tong, J.F., Zhu, Y., and Shen, J. (2016). Molecular role of EGFR-MAPK pathway in patchouli alcohol-induced apoptosis and cell cycle arrest on A549 cells in vitro and in vivo. BioMed Research International, 2016: 4567580.

Magee, T.V., Stork, G., and Fludzinski, P. (1995). A total synthesis of rac-patchouli alcohol. Tetrahedron Letters, 36: 7607–7610.

Manoj, G., Manohar, S.H., and Murthy, H.N. (2012). Chemical constituents, antioxidant and antimocrobial activity of essential oil of Pogostemon paniculatus (Willd.). Natural Product Research, 26: 2152–2154.

Singh, M., Sharma, S., and Ramesh, S. (2002). Herbage, oil yield and oil quality of patchouli [Pogostemon cablin (Blanco) Benth.] influenced by irrigation, organic mulch and nitrogen application in semi-arid tropical climate. Industrial Crops Products, 16: 101–107.

Su, Z.Q., Wu, X.L., Bao, M.J., Li, C.W., Kong, S.Z., Su, Z.R., Lai, X.P., Li, Y.C., and Chen, J.N. (2014). Isolation of patchouli alcohol from patchouli oil by fractional distillation and crystallization. Tropical Journal of Pharmaceutical Research, 13: 359–363.

Zhang, G., Liu, M., Song, M., Wang, J., Cai, J., Lin, C., Li, Y., Jin, X., Shen, C., and Chen, Z. (2020). Patchouli alcohol activates PXR and suppresses the NF-κB-mediated intestinal inflammatory. Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 248: 112302.


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