Many people associate the scent of Patchouli with the era of peace and love in the 1960s. Patchouli’s popularity seems like a bottled version of the hippy zeitgeist of the 1960s as a whole. They weren’t nicknamed the love generation without good reason. Practicing an all-embracing, freely-given definition of love overwhelmingly linked to non-violence and partly also to sexual liberation. This is where patchouli comes in, not only is it endorsed for its ability to relieve stress, but also for its potency when it comes to increasing libido. It even picked up the names ‘love oil’ and ‘attraction oil’ along the way.
But Patchouli’s history extends well beyond the days of daisy chains, LSD and free love.
Madonna scented the packaging of her Like A Prayer album with patchouli oils because “she wanted to create a flavour of the ‘60s and the church.”
During the 1800s, the scent became synonymous with quality fabric, as many textile traders included dry leaves in their exports as an insect repellent. The scent permeated the fabric and kept moths from infesting the valuable cloth. The ubiquitous scent soon became symbolic of luxury, as well as the mark that distinguished a material of Indian origin. The ‘Oriental’ scent was so popular with European buyers that local tailors became prone to adding the aroma to their own garments to improve their sales.
Native to the tropical regions of Asia and belonging to the Mint family, Patchouli (Pogostemon cablin) has been utilised for many different purposes over the centuries. In many Asian countries such as Malaysia, China and Japan, Patchouli was used to improve specific skin conditions such as dermatitis, acne and dandruff. It was also used to treat insect or snake bites and even believed to be effective on bites of the King Cobra, if administered immediately.
The name ‘Patchouli’ is derived from the Tamil words for ‘green leaf’, as the fragrant plant flourishes with lush green foliage. In skincare, Patchouli Oil imparts a functional deodorising action. Its febrifuge (a medicine used to reduce fever) properties keep the body cool and can help reduce redness or angry-looking skin when incorporated into an Aloe Vera gel or light moisturising lotion. It can also be a wonderful anti-ageing ingredient that may help to reduce fine lines and wrinkles whilst encouraging new cell growth. Patchouli Oil can promote a healthy complexion with soft and supple looking skin.
With its persistent base note aroma Patchouli oil is an excellent natural fixative, helping to tamper the volatility in an oil blend, and thus playing an important role in blending. It is one of the few essential oils to improve with age, much like a fine wine and brings a balanced and calming vibe to a diffuser blend. With its grounding aroma, it is ideal for creating a soothing atmosphere in the room.
At Woodfloria, Patchouli is a primary ingredient in our popular Yoga Love Oil, Yoga Love Mist and Yoga Love Balm. The Yoga Love blend was designed by our Aromatherapist, Michelle Coates with the 7 chakras in mind. It contains a specific blend of 7 oils each one resonating with a particular Chakra. The addition of Patchouli was due to its resonance to the second chakra (Sacral). This Chakra helps to connect the earth element and the mental element providing a bridge between the two to allow the higher (spiritual) and lower (physical) chakras to connect allowing energy to flow between the mind and the body. It’s in this Chakra that we learn to live life to the fullest – and this dance we call life and Patchouli is the oil to do this