Essential Oil Profile: Palmarosa

by Amelia E. Stone, RN


Common Name: Palmarosa

Latin Binomial: Cymbopogon martinii

Family: Poaceae (Gramineae)

Other Common Names: Motia, Rosha grass, Indian geranium

Production Method: Steam Distilled

Countries of Origin: India, Nepal

Typical Constituents: Geraniol (74.5-81.0%), Geranyl acetate (0.5-10.7%), [E,Z]-Farnesol 0.5-6.1%), Linalool (2.6-4.5%), [E]- b-Ocimene (1.3-3.1%), b-Caryophyllene (0.9-2.6%), Geranial (0.5-1.9%), Caryophyllene oxide (0.1-1.8%), b-Myrcene (0.6-1.3%), Elemol (0.2-1.0%), [Z,Z]-Farnesol (0.1-1.0%)

Description of Oil: pale yellow or pale olive in color, unique sweet, floral scent with a hint of rose

Description of Plant: a tufted perennial grass with numerous stiff stems, similar to lemongrass in appearance, grows wild in India particularly north-east of Bombay towards the Himalayan Mountains

History, Folklore and Myth: Palmarosa has often been used to adulterate more expensive rose oils.

Properties and Uses: Antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral, vulnerary

Precautions and Contraindications: Maximum dermal use level 6.5%

Other Interesting Information: An inexpensive oil with an impressive variety of desirable qualities.  Effective against viruses, yet mild and nontoxic with an attractive scent.  Perfect as a central component for antiseptic skin care compositions.

References: Battaglia, Salvatore. The Complete Guide to Aromatherapy. Virginia, Queensland, Australia: The Perfect Potion. 1995.

Schnaubelt, Kurt, Ph.D.. Advanced Aromatherapy, The Science of Essential Oil Therapy. Healing Arts Press. 1998

Tisserand, Robert, and Tony Balacs. Essential Oil Safety: A Guide for Health Care Professionals. Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone. 1995.

Sellar, Wanda. The Directory of Essential Oils. London: Random House. 2005

Shutes, Jade. Advanced Aromatherapy Certification Program. East-West School for Herbal and Aromatic Studies. 2014


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