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Thursday, January 12, 2012

Aromatherapy Thursday - Patchouli

Patchouli is a shrub that is found in Southeast Asia; it is related to the mint family.  Patchouli has a musky, earthy sent that very nicely blends with other oils for a rich perfume.  Natural musks come from a gland found in specific animals such as Musk Deer and it was used for the highest grade of perfume years ago because of its unique scent and strong fixative qualities.  However since musk can only be harvested by destroying the animal during the 20th century perfume makers started using synthetic musks.  Many people want something natural so instead of relying on the synthetic musks they found Patchouli, along with a few other similar scented plants, to be a great alternative giving Patchouli more notoriety in the perfume industry.
You can grow your own Patchouli by purchasing this plant from ETSY shop JensiesSoaps at http://www.etsy.com/shop/JensiesSoaps?ref=seller_info
Because Patchouli has such a strong distinct scent it should be used as a "bottom note" in perfumes.  This means that there should be less patchouli than other fragrances and should be used to enhance the perfume not dominate it.  Often I will pass by someone that is only using Patchouli by itself  and while I don't find it offensive, it is strong and probably not quite the scent that the wearer was intending.  So when using Patchouli as a component keep in mind that less is more and that it should be used as if it where a musk.

Patchouli is known as "warm" scent that can help relax you and can help enhance sleep.  It also is heralded as an aphrodisiac.  Using Patchouli as a relaxant can be as easy as adding 1 drop of it along with 5 drops of lavender on a cotton ball and placing it in a dish or as complicated as specially formulated massage oil. 

Soaking in a bath water infused with a Patchouli bath salt or oil can be very soothing for most people (but remember to always do an allergy test prior to using any new natural product.)  It has nervine and anti-inflammatory properties that can make it very useful in treating dry and irritate skin.

Here is a list of some scents that would be complimented by using Patchouli as a bottom note:
Lavender, Rose, Bergamont, Lemon, Orange, Rose Geranium, Violet, Jasmine, Ylang-Ylang and neroli.  When mixing scents always use just a very little of the bottom and middle notes at first because you don't want them to over power the top notes. 

As with any essential oil, homeopathic treatment, or aromatherapy, you should always consult your physician prior to use and never substitute a home treatment for medical treatment. Pregnant ladies should always use caution (and consult their physician) when using any essential oils, herbs and home treatments. Remember that just because it is natural does not automatically make it safe, so treat it with the same respect you would with a prescription and talk to your doctor first. Also you should always do allergy test prior to using any products with essential oils that you are not familiar with.

1 comment:

silvana said...

patchouli is Amazing ...so is this blog!