Patchouli
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Patchouli
  Seasonings  
Last updated 6/12/2012 12:48:48 AM. Recipe ID 10002. Report a problem with this recipe.
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      Title: Patchouli
 Categories: Info, Seasonings
      Yield: 1 Info below
 
      1    Info below
 
  "One mint [Family: Lamiaceae (Labiatae)] relative that's not so well
  known in temperate North America (though it has been grown here at
  least since 1900) is patchouli, two species of which (Pogostemon
  cablin and P. heyneanus) are increasingly seen in the catalogs of
  herb nurseries these days.
  
  "The genus Pogostemon consists of some 30 or 40 species of shrubs,
  subshrubs, and herbaceous plants native to tropical Asia. The name
  means 'bearded thread' in Greek and refers to the hairy middles of
  the four stamens.  Other characteristics of the genus include flowers
  in whorls in the upper leaf axils; a tubular, five-toothed calyx; a
  tubular corolla with four nearly equal lobes, and one style with two
  stigmas. The fruits are four seedlike nutlets.
  
  "The name patchouli comes from a Tamil word, paccilai, meaning 'green
  leaf.'  An alternate common name seen in some older references is
  pucha-pat."
  
  "The species of patchouli commonly available in the United States are
  P. cablin and P. heyneanus, also known as P. patchouli or P.
  patchouly. The latter is sometimes known as smooth or Java patchouli.
  Both are shrubby plants which may grow 3 feet tall under optimal
  conditions. The green leaves are roughly egg-shaped, up to 4 inches
  long, deeply veined, and notched.  Flowers of P. cablin are white,
  while those of P. heyneanus are tinged with purplish pink. They have
  little fragrance.
  
                               - Uses -
  
  "Patchouli is known principally for the fragrance of its essential
  oil. As one writer has rhapsodized, 'Fine patchouli has a winelike,
  ethereal quality, deep and woody, spicy, almost dry and earthy.' Even
  those who don't care for the fragrance of the oil may find the scent
  of the fresh leaves quite pleasant.
  
  "Patchouli oil is used extensively in the perfume industry. Major
  producers include China, Indonesia, India, Malaysia, Brazil, and the
  Seychelles. The oil is steam-distilled from the leaves and stems,
  which are harvested two to three times a year, and the quality of the
  oil is better if the dried leaves are aged before distillation."
  
  "Other herbal fragrances that are sometimes blended with patchouli
  include basil, bergamot, geranium, juniper, lavender, myrrh, neroli,
  pine, sandalwood, and rose. Commercial perfumes that contain
  patchouli include Tabu, Bill Blass, and Polo.
  
  "Patchouli is frequently used in soaps and cosmetics that are said to
  rejuvenate dry and 'mature' skin.  It works as a deodorant by masking
  body odor.  Both the oil and the dried leaves are used in potpourri,
  the leaves adding a distinctive texture as well as fragrance to the
  mixture. The oil is thought to have fixative properties and is
  believed to improve with age.
  
  "Patchouli is not widely used as a medicinal herb; its use may cause
  loss of appetite or sleep and 'nervous attacks.' Still, some Eastern
  cultures esteem it as a prophylactic. Aromatherapists consider
  patchouli an aphrodisiac based on the widely held belief that the
  odor stimulates the pituitary gland to release endorphins, chemicals
  that kill pain and promote euphoria as well as sexual feelings.  They
  recommend patchouli for external use to treat anxiety, at least in
  small doses; too much can be sedative."
  
  "Patchouli has culinary and industrial uses, too.  The fresh leaves
  of P. cablin are used as a seasoning, and the dried leaves of P.
  heyneanus (the less fragrant of the two species) flavor an alcoholic
  beverage. The oil of P. cablin flavors chewing gum, baked goods, and
  candy, and that of P. heyneanus has been used in India ink.
  
  "Cashmere shawls imported into France during Napoleon's reign were
  packed in boxes filled with dried patchouli herb to repel insects.
  European copies of the shawls failed to sell until manufacturers
  realized that the exotic scent was part of the shawls' attraction.
  
  "Cotton balls saturated with patchouli oil and placed among stored
  clothing can substitute for the dried leaves as a moth repellent.
  Mixing equal parts of dried patchouli leaves and finely ground dried
  pyrethrum flowers (which have no aroma) may increase the repellent's
  effectiveness. Patchouli oil has also been used to repel silverfish
  and bookworms from books."
  
  




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Recipe ID 10002 (Apr 03, 2005)

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