Photo by jayeshpatil912
I first smelled patchouli essential oil when I was a young man in my 20s. It was attached to a certain crowd and a certain scene and a certain moment in my life. The smell and the scene opened my eyes to what felt like something entirely different than the white middle-class suburban culture in which I was raised. In the 60s we called this crowd the hippies or bohemians and today it is perhaps called the counter-culture. Patchouli oil was the essence of that moment for me and was the essence of an entire American generation.
Therapeutically, patchouli oil can be used to heal acne, athletes foot, chapped skin, dermatitis, eczema, fatigue, and frigidity. Emotionally, patchouli oil is best described as calming and grounding. Spiritually, it is commonly used in blends or standing alone as a support for prayer and meditation.
The patchouli plant grows well in tropical regions and can be found in the United States, on the islands of Hawaii, and in Asia, particularly in India. The patchouli plant is a member of the mint family and grows to a height of three feet. The essential oil of patchouli is steam distilled from the shade-dried leaves and typically needs to age in order to develop the deep earthier tones that have made it so popular.
Much like the scene in which it arose into the mainstream, patchouli essential oil is a powerful and often polarizing element. People seem to be either attracted to it or repelled by it. To many, it is an acquired taste but like the message of that scene, patchouli oil carries a powerful of message of a return to the earth with its magnetic grounding effect.