The Patchouli hails from the mint family of herbs. It is bushy with erect stems and reaches to around 2.5 ft in height. Cultivated extensively in the tropical Asian regions, it has a heavy scent and has been abundantly used in the production of perfumes. The plant does not require direct sunlight and thrives well in hot climates. Rain and watering make it recover quickly. In TCM or Traditional Chinese Medicine, it is one of the classical herbal formulas.
The oldest branch of the shrub is stout and round while the younger ones are a little square and dense with pubescence. When rubbed the plant emits a unique aroma. The flowers are purple in colour. This multiple-branched herbaceous shrub has several medicinal applications and is the source of a popular essential oil.
The oil is usually steam-distilled and extracted from the young leaves and fermented prior to the distillation process. The oil tends to improve with age.