Two women in their mid fifties stopped by my booth one Saturday at the Farmers’ market. One loved patchouli, while the other hated it! The one hating it said she always thought it was the smell of marijuana. The one loving it said it was what they wore to cover up the smell of marijuana. They both laughed, and went their separate ways. So it goes with the scent of patchouli!
Patchouli oil is steam distilled from the dried leaves and stems of the Pogostemon patchouli plant. Indonesia is the leading producer of it's oil.
Patchouli is an important essential oil in perfumery. In aromatherapy, there are top, middle and base notes, like in music. Top notes don’t hold very well and are fleeting. Middle notes keep the scent together, while base notes or fixatives hold the overall scent together for a long time giving it greater intensity.
For instance, I make a lemongrass soap. The dominant essential oil is lemon, which is a top note. I add to the lemon, lemongrass, geranium (which are middle notes) and patchouli. Using patchouli in the blend keeps the lemon scent in the bar, so it doesn’t fade.
Externally patchouli is used in skin care products to promote healing, to rejuvenate old, wrinkled and tired skin. It is considered antiseptic and anti-inflammatory.
Internally inhaled it is calming, and some say it has aphrodisiac properties.
Karita’s Handmade uses patchouli in some soaps, skin cremes, and bath salts. Check them out at: