These notes were originally prepared for two short CPD (Continuing Professional Development) "essential oils refresher" sessions which I led for Professional Aromatherapy Network in South Yorkshire. I would be glad to lead such sessions for other groups, e.g. local/regional IFPA or IFA branches.

For list of other essential oil profiles see USES.
To buy organic palmarosa oil visit the ONLINE SHOP.


Cymbopogon Martinii var. Martinii

Also known as Cymbopogon Martinii var. Motia. In same family (Graminaceae) as citronella and lemongrass. Gingergrass (Cymbopogon Martinii var. Sofia) is a different chemotype (1).

Origin Originally India and Pakistan, now also grown in Comoro Islands, Indonesia, Brazil, Africa (1).

Extraction Steam or water distillation of fresh grass. It is harvested before the flowers appear and the highest yield is from grass which is fully dried - about one week after it has been cut (2). Colour pale yellow or olive.

History Once known Indian or Turkish Geranium oil – it used to be shipped from Bombay to ports of the Red Sea and transported, partly by land, to Constantinople and Bulgaria, where the oil was often used for adulteration of Rose oil (3). Used as a fragrance ingredient in soaps and cosmetics. Used in traditional Indian medicine for fevers and infectious diseases (4).

Contra-indications None.

Chemistry High in geraniol. Also citronellol, farnesol, citral, citronellal, geranyl acetate, dipentene and limonene and others (1).

Blending Suggestions Middle note, strong smell. Benzoin, bergamot, black pepper, camomile Roman, cardamom, cedarwood atlas, citronella, clove bud, elemi, eucalyptus, frankincense, ginger, grapefruit, jasmine, lavender, lemon, lemongrass, melissa, neroli, petitgrain, ylang ylang.

Major Properties Antifungal, antiseptic, antiviral?, bactericidal, cicatrisant, digestive, febrifuge, hydrating, stimulant (circulatory and digestive), tonic.


1) Julia Lawless, The Encyclopedia of Essential Oils, Element, Shaftesbury, 1992, pp.149-150.

2), April 2004

3) Essentially Oils newsletter Feb. 1993.

4) Patricia Davis, Aromatherapy - An A-Z, C. W. Daniel, Saffron Walden, 2000 ( revised ed.), p.228.

5), April 2004.

Other sources for information, present and past; books, articles or other material by Martin Watt (safety); Wanda Sellar, Valerie Ann Worwood.

Quinessence May 2004 Newsletter (looks like they may only keep current month's newsletter on website).

Paul Boizot. Information revised 01.06.04. Page updated 28.10.14.

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My address from 30.04.12 is 14 Holly Bank Grove, York YO24 4EA, U.K.

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