8.3.4 Patchouli Alcohol

Patchouli alcohol is the major active ingredient and the most odor-intensive component of patchouli oil, the volatile oil of Pogostemon cablin and Pogostemon patchouli. Patchouli oil is widely used in the cosmetic and oral hygiene industries to scent perfumes and flavor toothpaste (Bang et al., 1975). Modern research has also demonstrated various pharmacological activities of this oil including antiemetic, antibacterial, and antifungal properties. In rabbits and dogs, patchouli alcohol is hydroxylated at the C-15 yielding a diol that is subsequently oxidized to a hydroxyl acid. After decarboxylation and oxidation, the 3,4-unsaturated norpatchoulen-1-ol is formed, which also has a characteristic odor (Figure 8.25). All these urinary metabolites are also found as glucuronides, explaining their excellent water solubility (Bang et al., 1975; Ishida, 2005).

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