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Friday, August 31, 2012 3:11 PM
When we think of Patchouli it s often associated with the hippy movement of the 60s. However there is much more to this plant and the wonderful pungent oil it produces.
The plant itself is a native of Malaysia and is now cultivated in various S.E Asian countries. It is bushy in character and has white, purple-tinged flowers and soft furry leaves. A thick, amber coloured oil is extracted from its young leaves. The oil has a rich, musky, earthy scent which can be persistent and the aroma is not appealing to some.
In the east patchouli is used to scent cloth. Interestingly in the Victorian times in India, it was used to scent shawls to protect from moths and was also used as an ingredient in Indian ink.
The use of patchouli oil is considered soothing to the mind and is an anti-depressant. It promotes a sense of balance and soothes the mind. It banishes lethargy and sharpens the wits. Also known as a tonic, Patchouli is regarded as a general body strengthener.
The oil has a diuretic effect and seems to curb the appetite. It is anti inflammatory, antiseptic and fungicidal. For these reasons it is useful in skin care and is known to aid tissue regeneration in regrowth of skin cells and scars. It reduces fever, cools inflamed skin and helps rough, cracked skin, sores and wounds.
Patchouli oil is also an excellent fixative and is widely used for this purpose in perfumery.
Another interesting feature of this oil is that it has long been used in traditional Eastern medicine as an insecticide and for treating snake-bites and poisonous insect stings.
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