Patchouli has long been used in skin care for its ability to help with issues such as chapped or cracked skin. It is often found in anti-aging skin creams due to its ability to lessen the look of some scars. It is also popularly used to relieve tension and anxiety. Some cultures use the leaves to make an herbal tea, and others eat the plant as a vegetable.
Before the use spread to Europe, Indian shawls and Indian Ink were identified by the unique patchouli odor. Women used patchouli to ward off insects from their clothes. Chinese silk traders would pack their cloth with patchouli leaves to prevent moths from laying their eggs on the cloth.