Palmarosa Essential Oil

Type of plant: Tall grass-like plant growing in dense tufts of long, thin, fragrant leaves and small yellow flowers

Part used: Leaves

Method of extraction: Steam distillation

Data: The long-leafed grass is harvested before its flowers bloom and left for a week to optimize the yield of essential oil before distillation. Previously called Turkish geranium oil or East Indian geranium oil, although the aroma is naturally more a lemony-rose than a geranium. If palmarosa oil is shaken with gum arabic solution and left in the sun, it becomes lighter in color and has a more rose-like aroma and is used to adulterate rose essential oil. Palmarosa is indigenous to India and Nepal, where it’s still collected from wild-grown plants. It’s called Rosha oil in Ayurvedic medicine.

Principal places of production: Nepal, India, Brazil, Central America

When buying look for: A pale-yellow to greentinged yellow liquid and a lemony floral aroma with a faint woody note. The subspecies var. sofia is the source of gingergrass oil, which should not be confused with palmarosa oil.

Therapeutic properties: Antibacterial, antifungal, anti-infectious, antiseptic, antiviral, cicatrizing, cytophylactic, digestive, immunostimulant, insect deterrent, vulnerary

Therapeutic uses: Sinusitis, excess mucus, cystitis, urinary tract infection, gastrointestinal disorders, scarring, wounds, acne, pimples, boils, fungal infection, general fatigue, muscular aches, overexercised muscles, stress, irritability, restlessness, insect bites and stings

Blends well with: Bergamot, cajuput, cedarwood, chamomile german, chamomile roman, cinnamon leaf, citronella, clary sage, coriander seed, cypress, eucalyptus radiata, frankincense, geranium, ginger, grapefruit, ho wood, immortelle, lavender, lavender (spike), lemon, lemongrass, manuka, may chang, patchouli, plai, rose absolute, rosemary, tangerine, tarragon, tea tree, sandalwood, ylang ylang

Precautionary advice: Best avoided during pregnancy. GRAS status.