Patchouli oils comes from a plant called Pogostemon cablin, from the same family as the Clary Sage, Lamiaceae. This plant is thought to have originated in the Philippines and is now cultivated in many tropical areas. The fragrant woody, earthy, somewhat spicy, musky and smoky scent of Patchouli is produced by the leaves of this herb. The strength and unique odor quality of Patchouli lends itself to oriental types of perfumes. It gives a long-lasting fragrant allure to any perfume. The plant is a bushy perennial herb, up to three feet tall with hairy leaves that are 4 inches long.
Patchouli is recognized by aromatherapists as being effective for combating nervous disorders, helping with dandruff, sores, skin irritations and acne. The specific properties of the oil include use as an antidepressant, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antiseptic, antiviral, aphrodisiac, astringent, deodorant, stimulating and tonic agent. In the perfumery industry, it is interesting to note that Patchouli improves with age, and that the aged product is what is preferred over freshly harvested. In aromatherapy, Patchouli is an excellent fixative that can help extend other, more expensive oils.