Patchouli - Benefits & Uses
Patchouli is a species of plant from the mint family and its essential oil is often extracted and sold as an essential therapeutic oil, or as a perfume. The scent is heavy, earthy, exotic and penetrating. People either love the smell or hate it.
Many people associate the aroma of patchouli with the 60’s, hippies, drugs and Woodstock. Being a teen in the 70’s, growing up in a little town less than 2 hours away from the original site of the 1969 Woodstock festival, I knew several patchouli users. Although the hippie movement did spark the use of patchouli in the U.S., the use of patchouli has been around since the 18th century in the Middle East.
I love the warm reminder of my youth, so I like to infuse my bed sheets with the scent of patchouli. I cut a small patch of material from an old t-shirt, put about 10 drops of patchouli oil on it, and throw it into the dryer with my sheets. The result is a light spicy and exotic fragrance. The scent is heavenly.
Other Uses and Benefits of Patchouli
Massage Oil. Use a carrier oil such as sweet almond oil or grape seed oil to mix the patchouli oil with. Using 15 drops of patchouli oil to 1 oz. of oil seems to be the average mixture.
Insect repellant. Add patchouli oil to a carrier oil and rub it on your skin to ward off mosquitos and other pesky insects. Put some patchouli oil on a small piece of cloth and tuck it in with stored blankets or clothes to keep the moths away. You can also store garments with dried patchouli leaves. It is often noted that 18th century traders from China would only buy material imported from the Middle East that smelled like patchouli because they knew then that the material was stored properly.
Incense. Patchouli scented incense sticks and cones are found in many shops. Growing up in the 70’s, burning patchouli incense to fragrance a room was very popular. The smoke from the incense can be overpowering and irritating to some people though.
Oil burners. Put several drops of patchouli essential oil into an electric burner to fill your room with the intoxicating smell. Oftentimes patchouli oil will be mixed with another scent such as orange or lavender when purchased for oil burners. Oil burners are a great alternative to incense when you don’t want the smoke that incense produces.
Antifungal. Patchouli oil has antifungal properties and it can be used topically to treat athletes foot fungus. Be sure to use a therapeutic grade oil for this purpose.
Aphrodisiac. Patchouli was used as an anointing oil in Tantric sexual practices and has gained a reputation as an aphrodisiac. So keep those oil burners filled, and patchouli infused material in the dryer!
The patchouli plant grows well in warm to tropical climates. It thrives in hot weather, but does not like the direct sunlight. I currently live in Texas and have a patchouli plant growing in a container in my back yard. I love to crush the leaves when I walk by it to release its earthy scent.
The scent of patchouli oil is strong, permeating and offensive to some, so if you are a lover of patchouli, be kind and wear it sparingly when out in public. After all, we patchouli lovers wouldn’t like to be offended by a person that is wearing a heavy perfume that doesn’t agree with our personal tastes.