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PATCHOULI (Pogostemon cablin, Herba pogostemonis)

 

Also known as: Green leaf or guang huo xiang.

 

Patchouli oil

Patchouli is an aromatic, bushy herb of the mint family native to the tropical regions of Asia and is still cultivated extensively across much of Asia today. The word 'patchouli' means 'green leaf' in Indian. It grows best in hot climates but not direct sunlight and is able to withstand periods of little water. The flowers have a powerful fragrance and bloom in late autumn.

It is mostly grown for its highly aromatic essential oil which is extract using distillation and then used in cosmetics, Indian incenses, perfumes and potpourris. It has a deeply musky scent which is said to be an antidepressant and stimulant and can cover unpleasant odours very effectively. Patchouli blends well with other fragrances such as basil, bergamot, geranium, jasmine, juniper, lavender, myrrh, neroli, pine, rose, sandalwood and vanilla and was a favourite fragrance during the 60's and 70's hippy movement.

A tea can be made with dried leaves of the patchouli and is often used in Chinese medicine to treat the following conditions:

It has powerful antibacterial properties and can promote the secretion of gastric juices, enhance the digestion, relieve gastrointestinal spasms, dilate the capillaries and induce perspiration. It is sometimes used with galangal root to treat malaria.

Patchouli leaf and tangerine peel can be used to treat the profuse watery diarrhoea and vomiting caused by cholera.

 

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It is sometimes combined with holy basil and/or tulsi which is thought to calm the spirit, enhance dreams and assist with meditation. It also has powerful antidepressant and relaxing properties and is sometimes used to heal skin disorders such as acne, dryness, eczema and other irritations.

It is used in many Asian countries, including Japan and Malaysia, as an antidote for venomous snakebites. It also repels insects and can be used to stop moths from damaging delicate materials such as satin, silk and wool.

The known main chemical components of patchouli oil are α-bulnesene, α-guaiene, α-patchoulene, β-patchoulene, caryophyllene, eugenol, patchoulol, norpatchoulenol, patchoulipyridine, pogostone and γ-patchoulene.

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"Nature cures not the physician..." Hippocrates 460 BC

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