Patchouli is a bushy herb of the mint family, with straight stems, growing two to three feet in height and bearing tiny, pale pink-white flowers and is native to the tropical regions of Asia. Patchouli has been used for centuries in perfumes, incense, insect repellents, and alternative medicines, because of its heavy and strong scent.
Patchouli grows best in warm to tropical climates and thrives in hot weather, but not direct sunlight. Due to lack of water, the plant may wither, but will recover quickly after a rain or watering. The seed-producing flowers blossom in late fall and are very fragrant. The very small seeds may be collected for planting, but they are very fragile and easily crushed. Cuttings from the mother plant can also be rooted in water to produce additional plants.
Steam distillation of the leaves are the usual extraction method of the patchouli's essential oil, which requires rupturing of its cell walls by steam scalding, light fermentation, or drying. Several times a year, the leaves may be harvested, then dried for exporting for the distillation process. Highest quality oil is usually produced from fresh leaves distilled close to where they are harvested, while others claim that baling the dried leaves and fermenting them for a period of time is best.
Patchouli leaves have also been used to make an herbal tea. And, in some cultures, patchouli leaves are eaten as a vegetable.
Patcholi has antidepressant, antiphlogistic, antiseptic, aphrodisiac, astringent, deodorant, diuretic, fungicide, insecticide, sedative benefits. This oil is also known for years for its insect repellent properties.
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