Love it or hate it, many people instantly associate patchouli with hippies and head shops or some other distant memory of funk. The funny thing is that very few people have smelled patchouli in this context– unless you spent a bunch of time in Berkeley during the 60s. All that said, patchouli got a bad rap years ago.
Most people don't really know much about patchouli, or how it came to be used over time– but it is still one of the most widely used ingredients in perfumery. It is by all standards, an iconic scent that can be layered and used in ways that adds so much depth to whatever it touches. It is multifunctional, works well on a variety of skin types and is one of the most versatile essential oils– and these are just a few of the reasons why we love it.
A Brief History:
Patchouli or pogostemon cablin originated in the Philippines and Indonesia. It has a long history of medicinal use in India, China, and Japan and was then imported to Europe via the Silk Road. Historically, it had very practical uses because of its potent antiseptic, insecticide, and anti-inflammatory properties. The leaves were used in the importing of silks because it warded off moths and other insects that would damage the cloth. Some stories say that the cloth that was layered with patchouli leaves sold faster, not because of the color or pattern, but because of the allure of the scent. In the Victorian era, patchouli leaves were used in potpourri to purify the home. It has also been burned as incense and temple purification ceremonies for centuries and beyond its practical uses, there has always been some unknown allure and draw to the scent.
Made famous in our culture by the hippies, most believe it was used it to mask the smell of marijuana. And because of its liberal use in the 60s and 70s it was also associated with free love and sexuality.
How It's Made:
Patchouli is a short bushy shrub that has little to no fragrance until the leaves are dried. It is part of the mint family even though the fragrance couldn't be more different. Once the leaves are picked, they are dried and lightly fermented and traditionally distilled in iron vessels. The patchouli that we used is distilled in stainless steel, so it is iron free and has a cleaner, clearer aroma.
Although it has very little in common with the mint family as far as fragrance goes, many of the health benefits are the same. The anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties of patchouli are very much in line with mint. It can also be taken as a tea to help improve and boost digestion.
Patchouli is uplifting, boosts mood, and is calming to the nervous system. The base, woody notes have strong aphrodisiac properties because they stimulate hormone receptors.
Why We Love It:
Along with all its beneficial properties, we love the way the fragrance works with our other essential oils and how it works with a variety of skin types. Like sandalwood, patchouli adapts to our bodies own natural fragrance and ads a certain layer to our natural scent. Instead of masking smell, patchouli enhances your body’s own pheromones– and works with them. When layered properly, patchouli is a very sexy scent that smells amazing on a variety of people. Patchouli and sandalwood are two essential oils that are thought to mimic the body’s natural sexual pheromones.
It's also wonderfully nurturing for most skin types– soothing, softening and preventing irritation. it's part of what makes our products feel so healing. Unlike many essential oils, patchouli doesn't often illicit irritation or a negative reactions.
Most people that smell our product wouldn't necessarily know patchouli is there. It's very subtle. Like salt in a dish, patchouli can be there without being overpowering. We believe it lends itself to making everything it touches a little bit better.
Don't be turned off by whatever you think you know about patchouli. Be turned on! We promise our use of this incredible herbal fragrance, isn't polarizing and most people love us that much more for it.