As a member of the mint family, patchouli brings a lovely earthy quality to so many fragrances. It comes in the form of a low, bushy shrub that grows natively in tropical regions throughout Southeast Asia. To distill its essential oil, the leaves are dried and then steamed to extract and distill a main chemical component - patchoulol - which often serves as a base in many perfumes.
Patchouli itself has an incredibly interesting history. When textiles from India were shipped out across the sea in centuries past, dried patchouli leaves would be tucked in with the fabric to keep moths away. When it arrived at its destination, fabric buyers enjoyed the natural yet exotic perfume.
Fast forward to the 1960’s and 70’s when patchouli became synonymous with the hippie movement. Hippies used patchouli as a natural fragrance, preferring nature’s own gift rather than formulated fragrances available commercially.
From textile trade to hippies, patchouli holds a place of great significance in the world of scent - and with good reason, too!
How Can Patchouli Be Used?
Patchouli has been used for hundreds of years as a perfume to mask the scent of body odor, making it a popular note found in many fragrances and body care products. Its musky aroma is very grounding and has since spread beyond our bodies to also candles, incense, insect repellents, and alternative medicines.
Patchouli can be a wonderful scent for aromatherapy as it helps to stimulate your body’s production of pleasure hormones dopamine and serotonin. When released, these hormones can instill a sense of calm, reduce anxiety, and give you an overall greater sense of well-being. This is why patchouli is often found in incense and is readily available as an essential oil. Yogis and those who practice meditation enjoy the scent of patchouli as they seek to ground their emotions and explore a greater sense of calm.
Patchouli essential oil has also been a long-time tool for healing as its properties are quite remarkable! In homeopathy, patchouli is used to stimulate blood circulation, speed up the healing process, and protect wounds from infection. On top of that, patchouli can also reduce inflammation and help the body deal with external stressors, such as allergies.
Did you know that patchouli is also an aphrodisiac? During the free love movement throughout the 1960’s, men and women would wear patchouli as an attraction scent, noting that its properties were complementary to our own body odors - even before research would later show greater insight into olfactory effects on our libido and pheremones. Amazing how our senses can discover something well before research!
While patchouli can be a great attractor for other humans, it’s also a wonderful insect repellent. Research has shown patchouli to be effective in repelling certain species of termite, as well as moths, mosquitoes, and ants, making it a favorite scent for those who spend a great deal of time outdoors.
Our Favorite Patchouli Products
At NOTE Fragrances, we use patchouli in a variety of our products - it’s so versatile and blendablet! If you’re looking to add a bit of patchouli to your home or wardrobe, consider some of our favorite NOTE items featuring this all-star ingredient!
- Sandalwood Patchouli Shea Butter Soap: Get squeaky clean while enjoying the intoxicating scent of our natural shea butter soap. Wonderful for oily, combination, or blemish-prone complexions.
- Cypress White Cedar Eau de Parfum: This woody and fresh blend of white patchouli, bergamot, green apple, and cypress is forest-inspired and lovely for both men and women.
- Midnight Leather Eau de Parfum: Patchouli shines alongside coffee, tobacco leaf, blood orange, ginger, juniper, and leather in this Italian-inspired fragrance that is both exotic and mysterious. Fun fact: this crowd-pleaser was also featured in the official Primetime Emmy gift bag!
- Orchid Noir Eau de Parfum: This patchouli fragrance from our exclusive collection also showcases notes of bergamot, black currant, vetiver, vanilla, iris flower, and dark cocoa in a purely seductive blend. Sexy and unexpected.
- Yuzu Vanilla Eau de Parfum: Yin and yang balance in this uplifting and warm fragrance that combines together patchouli, Madagascar vanilla, Japanese yuzu, neroli, and ylang-ylang.