Yes, you read the post title correctly. You can actually eat patchouli! Patchouli is an edible herb from the mint family. Originally from Southeast Asia this plant is now widely cultivated in tropical regions around the world including here in South Florida. This herb grows easily from seeds or cuttings and will survive periods of neglect and drought. While patchouli thrives in hot weather it prefers partial shade.
Patchouli bears small, pale pink-white flowers. Both the leaves and the flowers have a strong scent and have been used widely for centuries in perfumes, incense and as an insect repellant. The leaves can be eaten in salads and also used to make an herbal tea. The leaves can also be used in a steam distillation process to extract a highly functional essential oil traditionally used as an:
- Anti Inflammatory
Fresh patchouli herb can be a fun way to season a dish as it will impart a unique and unexpected flavor. The aroma of the fresh leaves differs greatly from its concentrated oil counterpart.