Pogostemon cablin, also known as patchouli, is an herb used in aromatherapy, perfumes, and other fragrances.
Patchouli is often used to induce relaxation, but studies have found this effect to be unreliable. When it does work, patchouli supplementation reduces central nervous system activity.
Preliminary evidence suggests patchouli can alleviate influenza. It has a moderate effect on most strains of flu, and a powerful effect on the H1N1 strain. Animal evidence suggests patchouli supplementation may also have an anti-depressant effect.
The main bioactive of patchouli is called patchouli alcohol. It can be used to synthesize Taxol, an anti-cancer medicine.
Though patchouli may be an effective anti-flu herb that makes it easier to relax, much more research is needed to confirm these effects.