Description: An upright bushy evergreen perennial with aromatic triangular leaves, closely related to the mint plant.
In India, patchouli is used on valuable clothing and carpets to repel moths. The famous cashmere shawls of India were delicately scented by being stored in wooden containers aromatized with patchouli oil. The Arabs took large quantities of patchouli with them on pilgrimages, stuffing it into mattresses and pillows to ward off contagious disease.
Fashionable in Europe during the 1860's, patchouli regained popularity with the hippie movement in the US in the 1960's.
Synonyms: patchouly, Pogostemon patchouli
Origin: native to India, Indonesia and Malaysia, now grown throughout Asia
Parts Used: for making incense use the essential oil (aged oils are better) - the fermented dried leaves have a foul odor when directly burned. Dried patchouli leaves can work well on incense stoves which allow adjusting either the heat intensity or the distance away from the flame so it doesn't burn at all
Aroma Description: deep, rich, intense, sweet, herbaceous, spicy, woody balsamic
Cosmetic Uses: Perfumery, aromatherapy, potpourri; creams, lotions, oils, toiletries, etc.
Culinary Uses: used in breath fresheners, and in the commercial food industry
Medicinal Attributes: an astringent, antiseptic, warming herb that acts as a diuretic,, lowers fever, improves digestion, controls vomiting and has both a tonic and sedative effect on the nervous system.
Element Association: Earth
Planetary Association: Saturn
Aromatic Note: Base note
Essential Oil: Yes, a steam distilled essential oil is made. The cell walls of the leaves must first be ruptured before distilling, this is done by controlled light fermentation with superheated steam or by stacking the leaves in bales and curing them. The essential oil gets much better with age.
A resinoid is also made from a concrete created by using hydrocarbon solvents on the dried leaves.
Mixes Well With: benzoin, borneol camphor, calamus, cassia, cedar-red, clove, iris root, labdanum, lavender, musk seeds, mugwort, myrrh, nutmeg, opoponax, pine needles, rhubarb, rose, sandalwood, spikenard, tolu balsam, valerian root, vetiver, neroli, bergamot, geranium, etc.
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