|Patchouli is an
erect, branched, pubescent aromatic herb.
Improved varieties commonly cultivated are 'Johore', 'Singapore' and
A well drained deep loamy soil rich in humus
and nutrients, with a loose friable structure and with no impervious
hard layer at the bottom is ideal. A pH range of 5.5‑6.2 is suitable.
Patchouli prefers warm humid climate with a fairly heavy and evenly
distributed rainfall of 2500‑3000 mm per annum, a temperature of 24‑280C
and an average atmospheric humidity of 75%. It grows successfully up to
an altitude of 1000 m above MSL. The crop grows well under
irrigation in less rainfall areas. Patchouli is a shade loving plant
and can be grown as an intercrop in orchards, coconut or areca nut
Seeds and sowing: The plant is
propagated vegetatively by stem cuttings having 4‑5 nodes and 15‑20 cm
length.. Cuttings are prepared from the apical region of healthy
stocks. The basal 2‑3 pairs of leaves are carefully removed and the
cut ends are treated with IBA, IAA or NAA at 500, 1000 or 1500 ppm
respectively for better rooting. Cuttings are planted 3-5 cm apart in
nursery beds, seed pans or polythene bags. It is important to provide
aeration, partial shade and regular watering in order to get early
and good rooting. Rooting occurs in 4‑5 weeks and they are ready for
transplanting in 8‑10 weeks. Before transplanting, the field is
prepared well and laid into beds of convenient size. Rooted cuttings
are transplanted at 40‑60 cm spacing and irrigated if there is no
|Country of Origin: Malaysia
Extraction Method: Steam distilled
|Harvesting and processing The crop is harvested when the foliage becomes
pale green to light brown and the stand emits a characteristic patchouli odor.
The first harvest of the leaves is taken after about 5 months of planting.
Subsequent harvests can be taken after every 3 4 months depending on the local
conditions and management practices. Harvesting is done in the cool hours of
the morning to avoid loss of essential oil. Young shoots of 25 50 cm length
which contain at least 3 pairs of mature leaves are cut. In practice, a few
shoots are always left un plucked to ensure better growth for next harvest.
The crop stands for 3 4 years.
The harvested herb is dried in shade allowing free air circulation for about 3
days. Proper drying is very important for the quality of oil. During drying,
the material should be frequently turned over for promoting uniform drying and
for preventing fermentation. Completely dried material can be pressed into
bales and stored in a cool dry place for sometime. The dried herbage is steam
distilled for its oil. Interchange of high and low pressures (1.4 to 3.5
kg/cm2) produces better yield as more cell walls rupture in this process.
Duration of distillation is 6 8 hours. Prolonged distillation gives higher
yield and better quality of oil. But if it is distilled for too long, the oil
will have a disagreeable odor. The oil yield varies from 2.5 to 3.5% on shade
dry basis. On an average, from one hectare we get 8000 kg fresh leaves
annually which on shade drying yield 1600 kg and on distillation give 25-40 kg
of oil. Patchouli resinoid is also prepared occasionally by extracting the
leaves with volatile solvents such as benzene. Such extraction gives 4.5 5.8%
of resinoid which contains 70 80% of alcohol soluble absolute.
Caryophyllene, guaiene , bulnesene, patchouli alcohol and pogostol are some of
the important constituents.
Uses: The essential oil of
Patchouli is one of the best fixatives which is highly valued in perfumes,
soaps, cosmetics and flavour industries. Tenacity of odour is one of the great
virtues of patchouli oil and is one of the reasons for its versatile use. The
oil possesses antibacterial and insect repellent activity.
Patchouli oil is used in natural skin care for tired, dry and ageing
skin. It is warming and bracing but does not cause irritation and can be
applied neat to inflamed and cracked skin.