- Fashion and Beauty
Patchouli in a Garden of Sensuous Delight
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.
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.