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Pogostemon patchouli, Patchouli

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It is one of the great mysteries of the universe: Do Hippies smell like Patchouli or does Patchouli smell like Hippies? Anybody that has ever been around either will know what the other smells like, though. Patchouli is a fragrant herb, with soft, opposite, egg-shaped leaves and square stems, grows from 2 to 3 feet in height, giving out the peculiar, characteristic odour when rubbed.

The dried leaves are commonly burned as incense or mixed with other incense blends. Its use is said to cause loss of appetite and to help with sleep and nervous attacks. The Chinese, Japanese and Arabs believe it to possess prophylactic properties.



 



Uses Perfume



Patchouli is used widely in modern perfumery and modern industry to scent products such as paper towels, laundry detergents, and air fresheners. Two important components of its essential oil are patchoulol and norpatchoulenol.



 



Incense



Patchouli is an important ingredient in East Asian incense. Both patchouli oil and incense underwent a surge in popularity in the 1960s and 1970s in the US and Europe, mainly due to the hippie movement of those decades.



 



Medicinal



In several Asian countries, such as Japan and Malaysia, patchouli is used as an antidote for venomous snakebites. The plant and oil have many claimed health benefits in herbal folk-lore and the scent is used to induce relaxation. Chinese medicine uses the herb to treat headaches, colds, nausea, diarrhea, and abdominal pain.

Patchouli oil can be purchased from mainstream Western pharmacies and alternative therapy sources as an aromatherapy oil. One study suggests patchouli oil may serve as an all-purpose insect repellent. During the 18th and 19th century silk traders from China traveling to the Middle East packed their silk cloth with dried patchouli leaves to prevent moths from laying their eggs on the cloth.[citation needed]

Many historians speculate that this association with opulent eastern goods is why patchouli was considered by Europeans of that era to be a luxurious scent. It is said that patchouli was used in the linen chests of Queen Victoria in this way.

Pogostemon patchouli, Patchouli

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