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patchouli or patchouly (both: păchˈo͝olē, pəcho͞oˈlē), fragrant shrubby East Indian plant (Pogostemon cablin or P. patchouli) of the family Labiatae (mint family). It is the source of a perfume oil, also called patchouli, distilled from the leaves. In its native Indomalesian region it has been used also as an insecticide and leech repellent and to soothe menstrual cramps. Patchouli is classified in the division Magnoliophyta, class Magnoliopsida, order Lamiales, family Labiatae.
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In the mint family, with recognizable pink-white mint flowers on erect stems. Strong smell used in perfumes, keeping insects away, including moths and some termites. Good for linen closets. Native to tropical areas, needs warmth, can grow indoors. Used to treat dysentery, diarrhea, vomiting, and nausea. Aromatherapy calms nerves, aphrodisiac.
Edible Plant Guide © 2012 Markus Rothkranz
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



(Pogostemon patehouli, or Mentha cablin), a tropical plant of the family Labiatae. Patchouli is a subshrub with a height and diameter of 70–100 cm. The roots are fibrous. The opposite leaves are broadly ovate, dentate, and fragrant. The white or pale lilac flowers are gathered into racemes, each having ten to 15 whorls. The corolla measures 8.5–10 mm across. The fruits are nutlets. For good growth, the temperature should be higher than 20°C (at temperatures below 0°C the plant freezes), and the soil should have a high moisture content.

Patchouli is native to the Philippines. It is cultivated on the tropical islands of Java, Sumatra, Réunion, Singapore, the Seychelles, and the Philippines. In the Abkhazian ASSR the plant is raised as an annual by rooting cuttings in greenhouses and planting seedlings in the ground. It is cultivated for the essential oil contained in the green or dried mass; the oil is used in perfume. The green mass contains 0.25 percent oil, the principal components of which are patchouli alcohol and sesquiterpene. In India, patchouli oil is used for therapeutic purposes.

The plant is harvested in mid-October. The average yield of green mass is 4 tons per hectare (up to 10 kg of essential oil). A similar species is P. hegneanus.


Volkhovskaia, U. V., and E. S. Milianovskii. Agrotekhnika pachuli. Sukhumi, 1957.
Efiromaslichnye kul’tury. Moscow, 1963.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.