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Concept: Patchouli


Patchouli is used as an incense material and essential oil. The characteristic odor of patchouli leaves results from the drying process used in their production; however, there have to date been no reports on the changes in the odor of patchouli leaves during the drying process. We investigated the aroma profile of dried patchouli leaves using the hexane extracts of fresh and dried patchouli leaves. We focused on the presence or absence of the constituents of the fresh and dried extracts, and the differences in the content of the common constituents. Fourteen constituents were identified as characteristic of dried patchouli extract odor by gas chromatography-olfactometry analysis. The structures of seven of the 14 constituents were determined by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (α-patchoulene, seychellene, humulene, α-bulnesene, isoaromadendrene epoxide, caryophyllene oxide, and patchouli alcohol). The aroma profile of the essential oil obtained from the dried patchouli leaves was clearly different from that of dried patchouli. The aroma profile of the essential oil was investigated by a similar method. We identified 12 compounds as important odor constituents. The structures of nine of the 12 constituents were determined by gas chromatographymass spectrometry (cis-thujopsene, caryophyllene, α-guaiene, α-patchoulene, seychellene, α-bulnesene, isoaromadendrene epoxide, patchouli alcohol, and corymbolone). Comparing the odors and constituents demonstrated that the aroma profile of patchouli depends on the manufacturing process.

Concepts: Olfaction, Drying, Perfume, Odor, Essential oil, Aroma compound, Aromatherapy, Patchouli


Pogostemon cablin Benth. (patchouli) is an important herb which possesses many therapeutic properties and is widely used in the fragrance industries. In traditional medicinal practices, it is used to treat colds, headaches, fever, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, insect and snake bites. In aromatherapy, patchouli oil is used to relieve depression, stress, calm nerves, control appetite and to improve sexual interest. Till now more than 140 compounds, including terpenoids, phytosterols, flavonoids, organic acids, lignins, alkaloids, glycosides, alcohols, aldehydes have been isolated and identified from patchouli. The main phytochemical compounds are patchouli alcohol, α-patchoulene, β-patchoulene, α-bulnesene, seychellene, norpatchoulenol, pogostone, eugenol and pogostol. Modern studies have revealed several biological activities such as antioxidant, analgesic, anti-inflammatory, antiplatelet, antithrombotic, aphrodisiac, antidepressant, antimutagenic, antiemetic, fibrinolytic and cytotoxic activities. However, some of the traditional uses need to be verified and may require standardizing and authenticating the bioactivity of purified compounds through scientific methods. The aim of the present review is to provide comprehensive knowledge on the phytochemistry and pharmacological activities of essential oil and different plant extracts of patchouli based on the available scientific literature. This information will provide a potential guide in exploring the use of main active compounds of patchouli in various medical fields.

Concepts: Medicine, Perfume, Essential oil, Patchouli, Patchoulol, Pogostemon, Perfume ingredients, Norpatchoulenol


Patchouli alcohol (PA) is one of the important compounds isolated from the essential oil of Pogostemon cablin (patchouli). PA has neuroprotective, anti-influenza and anti-inflammatory activities. However, anti-cancer activity of PA has not been studied so far. We performed in vitro study to investigate whether PA affects proliferation and apoptosis of human colorectal cancer cells, and to define potential molecular mechanisms. PA suppressed cell growth and induced apoptosis in a dose-dependent manner in human colorectal cancer cells (HCT116, SW480). In addition, PA decreased cell growth in MCF7, BxPC3, PC3, and HUVEC cells. Exposure of PA to HCT116 and SW480 cells activated p21 expression and suppressed the expressions of cyclin D1 and cyclin-dependent kinase 4 (CDK4) in a dose-dependent manner. In addition, PA attenuated the expressions of HDAC2 (histone deacetylase 2) and c-myc, and HDAC enzyme activity. We also observed that PA induced the transcriptional activity of NF-κB through an increase of nuclear translocation of p65. These findings suggest that PA exerts an anti-cancer activity by decreasing cell growth and increasing apoptosis in human colorectal cancer cells. The proposed mechanisms include the inhibition of HDAC2 expression and HDAC enzyme activity, and subsequent downregulation of c-myc and activation of NF-κB pathway.

Concepts: DNA, Gene expression, Cancer, Enzyme, Cell division, Colorectal cancer, Cell cycle, Patchouli


The aerial parts of Pogostemon cablin (Blanco) Benth. for the treatment of cardiodynia have been documented in Mingyi Bielu of late Han Dynasty, in addition to that the Ca(2+) antagonized activities of P. cablin and its critically pharmacological ingredient patchouli alcohol (PA) were reported previously.

Concepts: Han Dynasty, Patchouli


To explore the anti-nociceptive effect of patchouli alcohol (PA), the essential oil isolated from Pogostemon cablin (Blanco) Bent, and determine the mechanism in molecular levels.

Concepts: Enzyme, Lamiaceae, Essential oil, Incense, Patchouli, Patchoulol, Pogostemon, Norpatchoulenol


β-Patchoulene (β-PAE), a tricyclic sesquiterpene isolated from the essential oil of the leaves and stems of Pogostemon cablin (Blanco) Benth., has been reported to have potent anti-inflammatory activity. The aim of this study was to evaluate the potential protective effect of β-PAE on lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced acute lung injury (ALI) in mice and to illuminate the underlying mechanisms. ALI was induced by intracheal instillation of LPS into lung, and dexamethasone (DEX) was used as a positive control. Results indicated that pretreatment with β-PAE significantly decreased the mortality rate of mice and lung W/D weight ratio, ameliorated lung pathological changes as compared to model group. Meanwhile, β-PAE pretreatment markedly inhibited the increase of TNF-α, IL-6 and IL-1β secretions in the bronchoalveolar lavage fluid, and prevented LPS-induced elevations of MPO activity and MDA level in the lung. Additionally, β-PAE pretreatment significantly elevated miR-146a expression and suppressed the LPS-induced activation of NF-κB and expression of its mediated genes (TNF-α, IL-6 and IL-1β). β-PAE was also observed to markedly upregulate the Nrf2 and HO-1 expression and activate the antioxidant genes (NQO-1, GCLC and HO-1). Taken together, β-PAE possessed protective effect against LPS-induced ALI, which might be associated with its differential regulation of NF-κB and Nrf2 activities and up-regulation of expression of miR-146a. The results rendered β-PAE a promising anti-inflammatory agent worthy of further development into a pharmaceutical drug for the treatment of ALI.

Concepts: Pulmonology, Bronchoalveolar lavage, Perfume, Lavage, Essential oil, Incense, Patchouli, Pogostemon


Phytochemical analysis by GC and GC/MS of the essential oil samples obtained from fresh shoots and flowers of Saponaria officinalis L. allowed the identification of 96 components in total, comprising 94.7% and 86.0% of the total oils compositions, respectively. Regarding the shoots essential oil, the major of 87 identified volatile compounds were phytol (14.1%), tricosane-6,8-dione (13.4%), patchouli alcohol (7.9%) and tricosane (7.2%), whereas patchouli alcohol (20.0%), heneicosane (11.5%) and tricosane (8.4%) were dominant among the 66 volatiles in the flower oil. Nonterpenoid compounds had the highest contribution in S. officinalis shoots essential oil (53.7%), while in the flower oil, constituents were almost evenly distributed between the oxygenated sesquiterpenoid (41.2%) and nonterpenoid compounds (39.5%).

Concepts: Water, Essential oil, Oil, Oils, Volatile, Rose, Patchouli, Essential oils


Pocahemiketals A and B (1 and 2), two novel hemiketal sesquiterpenoids with unprecedented skeletons, were isolated from the essential oil of the aerial parts of Pogostemon cablin. In addition to a bicyclo[3.2.1]-carbon core, 1 and 2 possessed a hemiketal α,β-unsaturated-γ-lactone moiety. Their structures were determined by extensive spectroscopic analysis, electronic circular dichroism calculation, and single-crystal X-ray diffraction. Compound 2 exhibited significant vasorelaxant activity against phenylephrine-induced contraction of a rat aorta ring with the EC50 value of 16.32μM.

Concepts: Diffraction, X-ray, Electromagnetic radiation, Essential oil, Ginger, Patchouli


Pogostemon cablin, the natural source of patchouli alcohol, is an important herb in the Lamiaceae family. Here, we present the entire chloroplast genome of P. cablin. This genome, with 38.24% GC content, is 152,460 bp in length. The genome presents a typical quadripartite structure with two inverted repeats (each 25,417 bp in length), separated by one small and one large single-copy region (17,652 and 83,974 bp in length, respectively). The chloroplast genome encodes 127 genes, of which 107 genes are single-copy, including 79 protein-coding genes, four rRNA genes, and 24 tRNA genes. The genome structure, GC content, and codon usage of this chloroplast genome are similar to those of other species in the family, except that it encodes less protein-coding genes and tRNA genes. Phylogenetic analysis reveals that P. cablin diverged from the Scutellarioideae clade about 29.45 million years ago (Mya). Furthermore, most of the simple sequence repeats (SSRs) are short polyadenine or polythymine repeats that contribute to high AT content in the chloroplast genome. Complete sequences and annotation of P. cablin chloroplast genome will facilitate phylogenic, population and genetic engineering research investigations involving this particular species.

Concepts: DNA, Genetics, Organism, Genome, RNA, Lamiaceae, Transfer RNA, Patchouli


In Pogostemon cablin (Blanco) Benth. essential oil, patchoulol and pogostone are the two major bioactive phytochemicals while their in vivo biosynthesis remains largely unknown. In this study, seven genes of the plastidic methylerythritol 4-phosphate pathway (MEP) and three genes of the cytoplasmic mevalonate pathway (MVA) in two cultivars HN and YN were isolated. Gene expression and phytochemical profiles across leaves and stems at different developmental stages of the two cultivars were evaluated using quantitative reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction and Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry, respectively. Hierarchical analysis showed the expression of MVA- and MEP-related genes were clustered similarly in the two cultivars. Phytochemical assay revealed that the contents of patchoulol in leaves and pogostone in stems were regulated in an aging-dependent manner. Pogostone was only detected in stems but not in leaves of the two cultivars. Pearson correlation analysis suggested that several genes were presumably involved in the biosynthesis of patchoulol and pogostone. In the YN cultivar, the genes DXR and IDI2, and MCT were positively responsible for patchoulol and pogostone biosynthesis, respectively. In the HN cultivar, HMGR and MDD, and MK expression were positively associated with pogostone and patchoulol biosynthesis, respectively. The genes identified in the present study are good candidates for the enhancement of patchoulol content in the leaves or pogostone content in the stems of P. cablin. Taken together, our results lay a solid foundation for better understanding of the mechanism underlying patchoulol and pogostone biosynthesis, which in turn may help improve their content in P. cablin.

Concepts: DNA, Gene, Cell nucleus, Gene expression, Cell, Polymerase chain reaction, Molecular biology, Patchouli