Patchouli (Pogostemon cablin (Blanco) Benth; also patchouly or pachouli) is a species of plant from the genus Pogostemon. It is a bushy herb of the mint family, with erect stems, reaching two or three feet (about 0.75 metre) in height and bearing small, pale pink-white flowers. The plant is native to tropical regions of Asia, and is now extensively cultivated in China, Indonesia, Cambodia,Myanmar, India, Maldives, Malaysia, Mauritius, Seychelles, Madagascar, Taiwan, Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, South America and theCaribbean.
Extraction of patchouli's essential oil is by steam distillation of the leaves, requiring rupture of its cell walls by steam scalding, light fermentation, or drying.
Leaves may be harvested several times a year and, when dried, may be exported for distillation. Some sources claim a highest quality oil is usually produced from fresh leaves distilled close to where they are harvested; others that baling the dried leaves and fermenting them for a period of time is best.
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