What is Palmarosa? Palmarosa Essential Oil Info, Uses and Benefits

Plant name (Latin): Cymbopogon martinii

Plant family: Poaceae (also called Gramineae) - commonly called the grass family and consists of all grass from exotic types to the kind found in lawns.

Native Region: India and Indochina Growing habit: grows slowly, can reach heights of 3 meters tall, prefers being grown in wetlands.

Parts used: leaves

Essential oil extraction method: Steam

About Palmarosa Oil

Palmarosa is a soft, pleasant oil with a strong affinity for the skin. It is also incredibly beneficial for emotions where it can support positive moods and healthy stress responses.

Description of Aroma

Palmarosa’s aroma is soft, sweet, floral, and fresh, with hints of a rosy undertone. Some people also describe it as sweet or lemony. It’s pale yellow, has a strong aroma, and is considered a middle note in perfumery.

Why Use Palmarosa?

Palmarosa is often used in cosmetics and perfumery because of its soft, rosy, and lemony aroma. It’s a type of lemongrass and is sometimes referred to as Motia, Gingergrass, Rosha, or Indian Geranium. Aromatically it’s a great oil to use as a substitution for Geranium oil. Therapeutically there is overlap between Palmarosa and Lemongrass, however, it’s important to remember that they are two completely different oils.

How and Where Palmarosa Grows

Palmarosa is native to southeastern Asia, specifically India, including Nepal, Kashmir, Almora, Garhwal, Punjab, Rajasthan, and Mumbai areas. It grows best in hot, humid climates and mostly prefers to be grown in wetlands. It requires abundant sunshine and 100-150 centimeters of rain throughout the year.

Palmarosa is a grass that generally grows anywhere from 1-5 meters tall with flowers that are 30-40 cm in diameter. It grows slowly and takes approximately three or more months to flower. It needs to be fully flowered before it can be harvested. The flowers of the Palmarosa grass are dark pink in color and arranged in plumes, and they are highly reminiscent of geranium.

Palmarosa is distilled today from the dried leaves of the grass. After two to three hours of steam distillation, the essential oil is separated from the water content, and the rest of the plant material is either composted or turned into manure. Outside of aromatherapy, Palmarosa is also popularly used in the medical and pharmaceutical industries.

Palmarosa Uses

Palmarosa’s strong affinity for the skin makes it an incredible oil to use to promote the healing of wounds, acne, boils, and insect bites. It can help diminish the appearance of scars and is also useful in cases of psoriasis or eczema. Palmarosa is used throughout the beauty industry because it is thought to help with the signs of aging, such as fine lines and wrinkles. It is also known to be able to help the skin maintain moisture and elasticity of the skin.

It’s also helpful for inflammatory conditions and infections such as cystitis, sinusitis, and fungal infections. It’s soothing to the GI system, soothes sore, achy muscles, and can help combat fatigue.

Palmarosa also has many emotional uses as well. It helps relieve feelings of stress and anxiety while promoting a sense of relaxation and is useful in boosting moods. It works well for nervous exhaustion and can boost energy levels.

Subtly, Palmarosa is used to provide support through times of emotional vulnerability. It helps the heart deal with grief and helps calm feelings of irritability and restlessness. Palmarosa is also known to help boost creativity.

Palmarosa in Ayurveda

In Ayurveda, Palmarosa has traditionally been used to treat skin ailments, nervousness, and as an aphrodisiac. It’s also said to be incredible when dealing with “hot” conditions. Palmarosa was also widely used in Traditional Chinese Medicine, especially in skin conditions. Both Ayurveda and Traditional Chinese medicine also have a history of using Palmarosa for digestive concerns.

History of Palmarosa

Palmarosa was used in ancient times for Ayurvedic medicine, especially for conditions concerning the respiratory system, GI tract, and skin. At some point in history, it became a very popular plant in Europe, where it was widely used in perfumery, cosmetics, and tobacco flavoring. It also became quite popular in China, where it is used extensively in skin conditions.

Some accounts say that Palmarosa has been long used by the Turkish people to be mixed in with Rose oils to increase its volume without increasing the cost. Palmarosa continues to be in high demand today for the perfume and cosmetic industries due to its rosy scent.

The Science of Palmarosa

Palmarosa is high in monoterpenols and mainly consists of geraniol, geranyl acetate, linalool, B-caryophyllene, geranial, and farnesol.


Palmarosa has a low risk of causing skin sensitivities and should be kept to a dermal maximum of 6.5%. It’s also possible that Palmarosa can interact with drugs metabolized by CYP2B6.

Blend Suggestions

Use Palmarosa with neroli and geranium to create a strongly floral aroma that would be perfect as a natural perfume.

Blending Palmarosa with ginger, lemon, and lemongrass for a lemony, rosy, and fresh aroma.

Combining Palmarosa with peppermint and bergamot will give you a bright, uplifting blend that would be great for boosting your energy.