Patchouli alcohol


Patchoulol or patchouli alcohol (C15H26O) is a sesquiterpene alcohol found in Patchouli. It also goes by the name, Patchouli camphor;(–)-patchoulol; (1R, 3R, 6S, 7S, 8S)-patchoulol, patchouli alcohol.

The (−)-optical isomer is one of the organic compound that imparts the scent of patchouli; it’s a colorless to pale yellow crystalline solid. Due to its pleasant fragrance, it is used as an important material in perfumery.

The oil has proven activity as anti microbial, inhibiting platelet activating factor (PAF), antiseptic, antiviral, sedative agents, and antifungal.

The organo nitrogen compounds of the oil functions with biological activities as a vasodilator, antiviral, antidepressants, antimicrobial, anti-schistosomal, anti-inflammatory, analgesic, antitumor, and anticonvulsant. The chemotherapy drug Taxol is also synthesized from this very oil.

Therapeutic uses of Patchouli alcohol:

Some studies reported the potential of patchouli oil for medicinal application. This compound is commonly associated to biological and physiological activity for disorders of the central nervous system and its capability to cooperate with receptors of the body.

The most prominent remedial attributes of Patchouli alcohol are:

Patchouli alcohol as an antioxidant:

A study on ‘Antioxidant Activities and Volatile Constituents of Various Essential Oils’ was carried out in the year 2007. During the process, thirteen essential oils were analyzed to determine their antioxidant activity using three different assay systems.

The main compounds seen in the oil which showed extensive antioxidant traits were, limonene (composition, 74.6%) in celery seed, benzyl acetate (22.9%) in jasmine, α-pinene (33.7%) in juniper berry, myristicin (44%) in parsley seed, patchouli alcohol (28.8%) in patchouli, citronellol (34.2%) found in rose, and germacrene (19.1%)  seen in ylang−ylang.

Bacterostatic, antifungal & larvicidal activity of Patchouli alcohol:

In 2004 a study to check the larvicidal activity of the essential oil of Teucrium leucocladum Boiss was conducted. During this study, the chemical composition of the water-distilled essential oil and n-hexane–ether extract of Teucrium leucocladum Boiss were identified by GLC and GLC–MS techniques. As a result 72 compounds were identified.

The sesquiterpene alcohols, patchouli alcohol (31.24% and 29.66%) and α-cadinol (9.29% and 21.54%) were the main components in the oil.

On analyzing the resulting extracts to identify their antifungal and bacterostatic activities, it was proved that they showed broad and potent activity against Bacillus subtilis, Candida albicans and Pseudomonas aeruginosa.

Patchouli alcohol as an Anti-inflammatory:

‘Anti-inflammatory activity of patchouli alcohol in RAW264.7 and HT-29 cells’ study performed in the year 2013 states that “PA inhibits the production of inflammatory mediators.” During the study, it was analyzed and documented to check if the PA brings on a reduction in the production of inflammatory mediators through down regulation of the NF-κB and ERK pathway.”

The above mentioned results suggested that PA shows anti-inflammatory activities through suppressing ERK-mediated NF-κB pathway in mouse macrophage and human colorectal cancer cells.

Antibacterial activity of Patchouli oil:

A study on the antimicrobial tests of patchouli oil was carried out by using a technology called molecular docking and antimicrobial test done in vitro. In the study, five biological macromolecule enzymes, required by the bacteria in the process of biosynthesis were selected as the objective molecules.

“A group of antibiotics benzyl penicillin, sulfadiazine, trimethoprim, rifampicin and ciprofloxacin, commonly known as antibacterial drugs, were selected as reference compounds.” The 3 three-dimensional of the 5 reference compounds used and the 26 compounds from patchouli oil were analyzed using surflex-dock software.

Here patchouli oil and its two major compounds, pogostone, and (-)-patchouli alcohol which exceeded 60% in patchouli oil samples, were selected antibacterial agents. The conclusion: “Molecular docking technology and antimicrobial test in vitro proved that patchouli oil had strong antimicrobial effects.” Of which, pogostone and (-)-patchouli alcohol displayed effective antimicrobial activity.

Reference Links:

  1. Patchoulol by Wikipedia
  2. Anti-inflammatory activity of patchouli alcohol in RAW264.7 and HT-29 cells, by Department of Nutrition and Food Science, University of Maryland, published in Food Chemical Toxicology
  3. Evaluation of the Antibacterial Activity of Patchouli Oil, published in the Iranian Journal of Pharmaceutical Research and PubMed