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Pogostemon patchouli Patchouli  Labiatae
Patchouli is an erect, branched, pubescent aromatic herb.
Varieties:  Improved varieties commonly cultivated are 'Johore', 'Singapore' and 'Indonesia'
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 plantations.
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 rain.

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.
Chemical constituents
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.
 

 

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