Patchouli Rescue Stirs Memories

May 29, 2013

Skip rescues a parking lot plant and then reminisces about past experiences centered around the scent of patchouli.  The aromatic herb has a rich history, beginning with ancient civilizations who used it for medicinal purposes, or as a practical packing for the transport of treasured fabrics from the Orient.  Its moth-repellent properties gave a heavy, spicy odor to the silks and brocades that signaled the wearer was from the wealthier classes.  It soon became an important ingredient in perfumes, oils and lotions for the upper classes.  A look at a modern use of patchouli leads us through the 1960s and early 1970s, when it was worn by both men and women identified as 'flower children' in those peace-and-love decades.  Today, patchouli is used as a fixative odor in the perfume industry, and as an essential part of the practice of aromatherapy.