While it may be related to the mint family, Patchouli surely does not smell minty! This earthy, rich aroma is very unique, and is often used in commercial perfumes and other fragranced products, such as incense, deodorant and laundry detergents. The essential oil is obtained by steam distillation of the leaves of the Pogostemon cablin bush, and it is most often sourced from Indonesia.
Patchouli essential oil has another unique characteristic – the oil improves with age rather than ‘going off’ like other essential oils. Most essential oils will oxidise and expire over time, but Patchouli continues to develop in aroma and does not lose its therapeutic benefits.
Patchouli has an intense aroma can be overpowering or too earthy for some. It does well in blends, especially with the floral oils such as jasmine, rose and ylang ylang. Interestingly, this base note oil blends well with other base notes such as sandalwood and vetiver.
The smell of patchouli is reminiscent of the free love movement of the 1960s, and perhaps the aroma still makes you think of hippies! Enjoy Patchouli essential oil to get in touch with your hippy side – it is calming and grounding and is useful for meditation and lucid dreaming. It is also used as an aphrodisiac – I did say ‘free love’!
Based on its traditional uses in Chinese, Ayurvedic, and Greek medicines, Patchouli essential oil is indicated for numerous skin disorders and scar tissue. Its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory actions can promote skin.