Patchouli

(Pogostemon patchouli) The famous eastern perfume, from a plant whose scent is very powerful, and in an unadulterated form very unpleasant, smelling strongly of goats. But when the attar is diluted with attar of roses, the unpleasant quality goes completely (Genders. 1972). Patchouli oil is obtained by distillation of the leaves. Patchouli perfume (not the same as the oil) is also made from the leaves - it has the reputation of being aphrodisiac. Powdered dried patchouli leaves are sometimes introduced into incense (Schery). The perfume first became known in Britain about 1820, when it was used to impregnate Indian shawls which became so fashionable that the designs were copied by Paisley weavers for export to many other parts of the world. But they could not sell them if they did not smell of patchouli (Genders. 1972).

Patchouli leaves are regarded in India as a prophylactic against disease. Malays put the dried leaves among their clothes to protect them from insects, and they used them medicinally in an oil prescribed for smallpox (Leyel. 1937).

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