Common name: Nilam, Huo xiang, Putcha-Pat.
Botanical name: Pogostemon cablin
A species from the genus Pogostemon and a bushy herb of the mint family, with erect stems, reaching two or three feet (about 0.75 metre) in height and bearing small pale pink-white flowers. The plant is native to tropical regions of Asia and is now extensively cultivated in Caribbean countries, China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mauritius, Philippines, West Africa and Vietnam.
Arthritis and rheumatism: Crush leaves and apply on affected part.
Infusion of fresh leaves for painful menses.
Infusion of leaves, dried tops or roots used for scanty urination.
Essential oil of patchouli used in perfumes and cosmetics.
Traditional Chinese medicine: used for colds, headaches, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal pain. Oil also used as ingredient in foods and beverages.
Leaves and tops used as insecticide repellant for cockroaches, moths, ants, etc.
Leaves used with gogo for washing hair.
In some countries, used as ingredient in tobacco smoking.
Juice of leaves used to repel leeches in climbing mountains.
In Europe and the US, patchouli oil and incense underwent a surge in popularity in the 1960s and 1970s, mostly among devotees of the free love and hippie lifestyles.
Conditioner and repellent: It has also been used as a hair conditioner for dreadlocks. One study suggests Patchouli oil may serve as an outdoor insect repellent.
Medicinal uses: In several Asian countries, such as Japan and Malaysia, Patchouli is also used as an antidote for venomous snakebites. The plant and oil have a number of claimed health benefits in herbal folk-lore, and its scent is used with the aim of inducing relaxation. Chinese medicine uses the herb to treat headaches, colds, nausea, diarrhea and abdominal pain. Patchouli oil can be purchased from mainstream Western pharmacies and alternative therapy sources as an aromatherapy oil.
Perfume uses: Patchouli is also in widespread use in modern industry. It is a popular component in perfumes, including more than half of perfumes for men. Patchouli is also an important ingredient in East Asian incense. It is also used as a scent in products like paper towels, laundry detergents, and air fresheners. Two important components of the essential oil is patchoulol and norpatchoulenol.
During the 18th and 19th century silk traders from China travelling to the Middle East packed their silk cloth with dried patchouli leaves to prevent moths from laying their eggs on the cloth.Many historians speculate that this association with opulent eastern goods is why patchouli was considered by Europeans of that era to be a luxurious scent. It is said that Patchouli was used in the linen chests of Queen Victoria in this way.