Most people know patchouli as the Hippie Scent. The scent is said to be an aphrodisiac, and is said to attract the opposite sex. It’s slightly musty, pungent smell is unmistakable and pervasive, and it was often used as a fixative for other scents, or to mask more objectionable scents.
Most people, however, are not aware of the other uses of patchouli. The furry-leafed shrub grows to about four feet in its native Malaysia, but can be grown as a houseplant throughout the world if you avoid the cold. Over the centuries, patchouli has had numerous medicinal uses.
Three terpenoids Germacrene, Patchoulol or patchouli alcohol, Norpatchoulenol found in patchouli oil are responsible for the typical patchouli scent. Tenacity is one of the virtues of Patchouli oil but often its intensity (strength of odor) is low. The odor in quality Patchouli is floral, fruity, green herbaceous and spicy and more fully described as “possessing an extremely rich, sweet-herbaceous, aromatic-spicy and woody-balsamic odor with a wine-like presence.
The Hydrosol is wonderful as a mist for the house, your body and your hair (tames frizzies). The dried leaves can also be used to make a tea or used as incence.
Patchouli is an important herb which possesses many therapeutic properties and is also widely used in the fragrance industries. In traditional medicinal practices, the herb is used to treat colds, fevers, headaches, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, insect and snake bites.
Patchouli enjoys the distinction of being both well-known and lesser known. Most are familiar with its scent and its uses in aromatherapy, but not with the wide range of conditions it may help. There is little conclusive research to support the use of patchouli in medicinal preparations, but its properties are well known. In addition to its medicinal and perfumery uses, patchouli also repels insects, and is often used in the east to scent bed linens and keep fleas and other pests at bay.