Contrary to popular belief, hippies didn’t discover Patchouli. And Patchouli isn’t just used for those imbibing in incense burning and late night jam sessions.
For centuries this minty herb was used in India to revive mental and physical strength and improve skin health. Its aroma also was dual purposed by keeping insects at bay and calming the nerves.
Years later as trade routes formed from the East to Europe, Patchouli boomed in popularity in England under the reign of Queen Victoria. Irish linen was shipped to India to be made into shawls and was packed in dried Patchouli leaves on its return because the leaves keep moths away. For the Brits, the Patchouli became synonymous for wealth and affluence because the scent of the dried leaves on the shawls inferred that you could afford to buy imported clothing.
The habit continued and the use of the leaves and oil spread into many other industries. Perfumes were created, it was added to teas, and now we use the pure essential oils from the plant in our soaps.
Patchouli is definitely one of those scents you either hate or love, but you’d be surprised at how much of the character can change when it’s blended with other essential oils. Inferior grades of oil smell like airplane glue, but the premium grades we source directly from India are heavenly.