COMMON NAMES: Patchouli, Patchouly, Pachouli
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Pogostemon cablin, or patchouli, is a bushy herb of the mint family that has erect stems reaching two or three feet in height and that produces small pale pinkish white flowers. Patchouli is native to the tropical regions of Asia and is cultivated extensively across much of Asia in the present (Wikipedia 2011).
Patchouli thrives in hot weather but not direct sunlight. It revives very well after periods of under watering. The flowers are incredibly fragrant and bloom late in fall. It is primarily grown and harvested for purposes of the extraction of its essential oils for use in perfumes, potpourris, and body care products (Wikipedia 2011).
TRADITIONAL USES: Patchouli is used widely in modern perfumery and industry. It has an extremely powerful scent and the leaves need only to be placed in the open air to scent an entire room. Patchouli is also used extensively in body care products, and has been for thousands of years. It produces a rich and musky scent that is considered to be both a stimulant and an anti-depressant. The scent of patchouli is well known in that it can cover up most any unpleasant smell in next to no time (Essentialoils.co.za 2011).
When combined with holy basil, patchouli leaves are considered to be powerful tools in enhancing dreams, improving meditation and calming the spirit. Consumed on its own, patchouli is also said to act as a powerful sex tonic (Dreamherbs 2011).
TRADITIONAL PREPARATION: Patchouli is primarily used as an essential oil, which is extracted by steam distillation. This requires the rupture of the plant’s cell walls through steam scalding, fermentation, or drying. Some people claim that the best oil is produced when fresh leaves are distilled close to where they were harvested, while others claim that balling up the dried leaves and fermenting them for a period of time is better. Patchouli is a very common ingredient in Indian incenses (Essentialoils.co.za 2011).
For the consumption of dried patchouli leaves, a tea may be made or the dried leaves may be crushed and smoked. According to Indian tradition, combining patchouli with holy basil in a tea or a smoking blend is the most effective method of consumption (Dreamherbs 2011).
MEDICINAL USES: Patchouli is used in many Asian countries, including Japan and Malaysia, as an antidote for venomous snakebites. The scent of the essential oil is used as an antidepressant and stimulant, and to induce relaxation. According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, patchouli may be used to treat headaches, colds, nausea, diarrhea and abdominal troubles. Patchouli is also a potent repellent against insects and was even used to prevent moths from damaging silk and other fabrics (Franco 2011).
TRADITIONAL EFFECTS: When the essential oil of patchouli is diffused with an oil burner, it is said to have powerful anti-depressant and stimulant effects. When the herb is smoked or taken as a tea on its own, it is said to be a powerful aphrodisiac and stimulant. However, the most interesting effects of patchouli come when it is combined with holy basil, or tulsi seeds. The tea or smoking blend made of this combination is said to improve vitality and sexual performance, and is also meant to ward off evil spirits and promote visions, hypnosis and vivid dreaming (Dreamherbs 2011).
Franco, S. “10 Medicinal Uses and Health Benefits of Patchouli Essential Oil.” Evelynparham.com, 2011. http://evelynparham.com/2011/08/03/10-medicinal-uses-and-health-benefits-of-patchouli-essential-oil/.
“Patchouli.” Wikipedia, n.d. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patchouli.
“Patchouli Oil (Pogostemon Cablin) – Information on the Origin, Source, Extraction Method, Chemical Composition, Therapeutic Properties and Uses.” Essential Oils, n.d. http://www.essentialoils.co.za/essential-oils/patchouli.htm.
“Pogostemon Cablin.” DreamHerbs, 2011. http://dreamherbs.com/herbal-products/pogostemon-cablin/.