Patchouli oil is extracted from the Pogostemon cablin plant of the mint family and has a rich musky-sweet, spicy smell. The plant is native to Malaysia and India, where it is known as 'puchaput'. The word patchouli is derived from Tamil 'pachchai ilai' meaning, simply, 'green leaf.' Patchouli oil is extracted from the young leaves, which are dried and fermented before steam distillation. This oil improves its fragrance and power with age. It is much valued in skin care, especially in scar healing.
In eastern countries, patchouli oil is used in potpourris and sachets between linen and clothes for the fragrance as well as to keep bedbugs and insects away. The oil is said to have a balancing effect on the emotions and create an amorous atmosphere. When used in an oil burner, it eases anxiety and depression. Used in bath water, it is believed to help skin and scalp complaints, fungal infections, fluid retention, break down cellulite and ease constipation. It has excellent tissue regenerating properties, speeds up healing and fights infections. Thus, it helps acne, eczema, weeping sores, ulcers, and athlete's foot.