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Patchouli in a Garden of Sensuous Delight

Updated on July 15, 2011

Patchouli is a sensuous, warm fragrance that stays well and hints at delicious abandon. Patchouli is so aromatic, so soothing, that its healing properties are well-known in the orient. The scent is so enticing, so irresistible, so...SEDUCTIVE, that it's widely used commercially in scented products such as paper towels, laundry soap, and air fresheners.

The Secret Garden, with Patchouli as the Centerpiece
The Secret Garden, with Patchouli as the Centerpiece

I love patchouli perfume, It is the most delicious scent, and it seems to stay much better than other perfumes. It is well-known to have healing properties; remarkably, as an antidote for venomous snakebites. It also repels insects, and is used as a universal insect repellent.

The plant and the oil of its leaves have so many health benefits: headaches, colds, nausea and menstrual cramps are all soothed and eased by the oil of patchouli. Silk traders traditionally packed the silk cloth with dried patchouli leaves to prevent moths, and believe me, if you want to use patchouli instead of moth balls to preserve your fine wool suits, all the people in church will thank you, that is, if they don't swoon with delight sitting next to that wonderful fragrance!

Queen Victoria used patchouli leaves to preserve HER dresses--what's good enough for Queen V. is good enough for me!

Patchouli plants also repel termites, and are used in the extermination of termites. It's one of the very few effective insecticides for termite invasions.

The patchouli plant is a bushy herbal plant, related to mint plants, with stems reaching a couple of feet in height at full growth and having small pale, pinky-white flowers. Though originally native to Asia, patchouli is now cultivated in China, Indonesia, India, Malaysia...even West Africa. It does well in warm, tropical or sub-tropical climates. It likes the heat, but not direct sunlight. You can grow your own patchouli, as a potted herb plant, in much the same way you would grow mint. It has to be moved indoors in cooler weather, and will "sleep" for a season when the indoor temperatures are consistently below 75 to 78 degrees Fahrenheit, or so. The flowers bloom in the late fall, like asters, and the flowers produce the seeds. The flowers are very aromatic when crushed, and can be used as potpourri. The tiny seeds will also produce new plants, but the best way to start a new plant is from a cutting, rooted in water.

Patchouli makes wonderful incense. That heady, relaxing, sensuous scent fills my house as I write this. I wish I could give you a virtual hint of the actual scent; you would love it!

I wanted to make my own patchouli perfume, from the plant...until I found out that the process of extracting the essence is complicated and takes TONS of leaves. The process is by steam distillation, meaning that the leaves are crushed into boiling water, then the steam from the boiling water is captured in a tube, and distilled into just the oil.

Ah, well, I can just enjoy the scent of the patchouli flowers when they bloom and the patchouli leaves, crushed into potpourri.


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    • Enlydia Listener profile image

      Enlydia Listener 6 years ago from trailer in the country

      I love patchouli also...interesting name...what is the origen of the name?

      sounds foreign.

      I noticed the prices on the essential oils...they are pretty good prices.

    • Paradise7 profile image

      Paradise7 6 years ago from Upstate New York

      You're welcome!

    • profile image

      fashion 6 years ago

      Interesting and informative hub.

      Thanks for sharing

    • Paradise7 profile image

      Paradise7 6 years ago from Upstate New York

      Good idea, Greg, we should try it. Thanks for the comment.

    • Greg Sage profile image

      Greg Sage 6 years ago from Orlando, Florida

      I rarely wear cologne, but when I do, it's got to be something that speaks to me personally. I used to make my own back when one of those mall chains had a combine your own essential oils station with a few dozen choices.

      hmmm... maybe time to order some ingredients.

      Everyone should try getting some essential oils and creting their own scent.

    • Paradise7 profile image

      Paradise7 6 years ago from Upstate New York

      Thanks, Greg, for the comment. I like both sandalwood and lavender, too. I'm a firm believer in aromatherapy.

    • Greg Sage profile image

      Greg Sage 6 years ago from Orlando, Florida

      Patchouli and Nag Champa... two scents that instantly transport me back to the Grateful Dead scene. With the hippies around Haight-Ashbury, though, it wasn't so much the patchouli... as the fact that it was being used INSTEAD of a shower.

      I like them both, though... Still burn Champa now and then.

      Personally, I could add lavender scent to just about anything. I love the way it blends with sandalwood if you want to ground it a bit.

      We've got a few things growing here just for the scent... subtropical climate, though.

    • Paradise7 profile image

      Paradise7 6 years ago from Upstate New York

      Thanks, sofs, I'll do that.

    • sofs profile image

      sofs 6 years ago

      Paradise, neem is a tree of the tropics. It may never grow where you live.. I have a hub written on neem and it uses. Check it out if you want to. It is called the 'village pharmacy ' and the Miracle tree of India. :)

    • Paradise7 profile image

      Paradise7 6 years ago from Upstate New York

      Hey, Gypsy Rose, thank you for the comment. It is always "Indian" summer, in my house, too.

      Thanks, tim-tim for the comment. I hope you get a chance to experience the scent of patchouli in person some time.

      Prasetio, check it out. Get some for your girl, you and she will both adore it! Thank you for your comment.

    • prasetio30 profile image

      prasetio30 6 years ago from malang-indonesia

      I had never knew about this perfume. I want to smell this in person. Thanks for writing and share with us. Vote it up! Cheers...


    • tim-tim profile image

      Priscilla Chan 6 years ago from Normal, Illinois

      Nice hub and good information! Thanks.

    • Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

      Gypsy Rose Lee 6 years ago from Riga, Latvia

      I can smell patchouli right now just from reading your hub. Love the incense. I get it from an Indian store and it makes those cold winter evenings melt away.

    • Paradise7 profile image

      Paradise7 6 years ago from Upstate New York

      Oh, yes, sofs, the leaves of the patchouli plant are the very best way to preserve anything silk, anything wool, any natural fibres that moths love. Even camphor doesn't work as well. Showing my ignorance here-- I never heard of neem leaves. Are they also from the mint family?

      Where I live, you can only grow patchouli indoors--the climate is too chilly, and winter will kill these plants dead, beyond hope of reviving. Where you live, can you grow it?

    • sofs profile image

      sofs 6 years ago

      My favorite scent too.. I use the aroma therapy oils in my bathwater and for my massages. It is so relaxing and it is a hint of heaven. I did not know that you could use the leaves to preserve your silks.. we use lemon or neem leaves here (Neem smells awful). I shall take the hint from you. Thanks for sharing.

    • Paradise7 profile image

      Paradise7 6 years ago from Upstate New York

      Thanks for the comment, A. Kirchner, and no, I don't mind at all!!! Let me check this out and get back.

    • akirchner profile image

      Audrey Kirchner 6 years ago from Washington

      OOOOOh - Lovely~! I kinda like hippy scents myself as they tend to be more earthy and less perfumed~ Great subject...

      P.S. My hub is in the tug-of-war and if you'd like to vote, please go to

      Hope you don't mind me shamelessly trolling for votes!

    • Paradise7 profile image

      Paradise7 6 years ago from Upstate New York

      Thanks, mega, for the comment. Yeah, it IS kind of a hippy scent, come to think of it, but it never got old to me. I just love it!

    • mega1 profile image

      mega1 6 years ago

      yeah, patchouli - love it - it reminds me of San Francisco and hippy girls in long skirts. People usually either hate it or love it. I use a few drops in my home-made essential oil mixes to get staying power and that earthiness. It somehow makes me feel good but its so hard to describe how - Lovely hub.

    • Paradise7 profile image

      Paradise7 6 years ago from Upstate New York

      Thanks for the comments, Rebekah and Beth. I love patchouli, I'm sorry you can't wear it, Beth. Rebekah, I also had a favorite campus shop that had incense burning. I don't think we went to the same school though. Funny, that.

    • bethperry profile image

      Beth Perry 6 years ago from Tennesee

      I love the scent of patcholi but can't wear it on my skin. Thankfully I think it smells so much better on my husband anyway!

    • rebekahELLE profile image

      rebekahELLE 6 years ago from Tampa Bay

      I saw this on the feed and had to come in and take a peek.

      I also love patchouli and love to have the scent outside on a hot tropical evening. When I was in college, one of my favorite shops near the university always had patchouli incense burning. We would go inside and look around because it smelled so good! Wonderful, informative hub. Now you've put me in the mood!


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