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Introduction: What is Patchouli?
Patchouli is a type of plant that is indigenous to southwest Asia and northeast Africa but is is now extensively cultivated in tropical climates around the world, though Indonesia currently produces over 90% of the global volume of patchouli oil. The name patchouli comes from the Arabic word for tar, which is why this plant is often called tar wood. Patchouli oil has been used in Eastern medicine for centuries, and it’s also used in perfumes and cosmetics.
More specifically plants in the genus Pogostemon cablin, P. heyneanus and P. plectranthoides are all cultivated for their essential oil, known as patchouli oil. This fragrant oil derived from the leaves, stems, and flowers of Patchouli, extracted by steam distillation or cold pressing.
What are the benefits of Patchouli oil?
Patchouli oil has been used for centuries in traditional medicine and Ayurveda to promote well-being and aid in relaxation. Some of the claimed benefits of using patchouli oil include reducing stress, improving mood, and boosting cognitive function. Patchouli seems to have a calming effect on the central nervous system and has been used to treat depression, anxiety, insomnia, and stress. The oil may also be able to prevent seizures, which are caused by chemical imbalances in the brain.
Patchouli oil has a strong antibacterial effect against the bacteria that cause acne. It also has anti-fungal and anti-viral properties, making it an excellent treatment for fungal infections such as athlete’s foot, ringworm, and jock itch. It can help reduce the appearance of wrinkles and age spots, and improve skin tone.
What Does Patchouli Smell Like?
The oil is used in perfumes and cosmetics. Patchouli has a characteristic scent that is often described as earthy, peppery, or smoky. Some say patchouli smells like clove. Patchouli oil is a key ingredient in many colognes because of its earthy, woodsy, and smoky smell. The scent is said to be attractive to women and can add masculinity to a man’s scent.
What Are Some Shaving Creams And Soaps With Patchouli?
The use of patchouli in shaving creams and soaps, like that of colognes, is usually that of a “partner” rather than “star.” Patchouli is usually used along with other scents to create particular scent “feel” or “vibe.”
There are a few shaving products with a straight-up patchouli scent though. Tabula Rasa offers a patchouli shaving soap (US affiliate link, NZ link, UK link). Mama Bear Soaps (US) offers a patchouli glycerin shave soap.
But you’re more likely to find patchouli as one element of shave shave soap or cream:
St. James of London Mandarin And Patchouli shave cream
Catie’s Bubbles La Terre Verte shave soap
Barrister And Mann Cheshire shave soap
Saponificio Varesino Cubebe shave soap
In my opinion, patchouli is a potent and full-bodied essential oil that works well as a base note in colognes, shaving products, and incense. In small doses it has a sweet, earthy and even spicy aroma. While I can’t speak to its use in traditional Indian or Tibetan medicines, I suspect it may have been used for a variety of ailments. I have found that the scent of patchouli is quite popular and useful in a variety of applications.