Palmarosa Essential Oil Profile
Palmarosa (Cymbopogon martinii) Oil
Botanical Family: Poaceae Chemical Families:
Monoterpenols, Esters, Sesquiterpenols
Source: India, Nepal
Method: Distilled from grass
Shelf life: 5 years
Aromatic Notes – gentle, slightly tannic and citrusy, crisp, refreshing, bright
Energetic Properties – balancing and stabilizing, clarifying, settling, uplifting
Chemical Families Profile:
Monoterpenols - geraniol, linalool
Esters - geranyl acetate, linalyl acetate
Sesquiterpenes - B-caryophyllene
Therapeutic Properties -
strong actions: acaricidal, airborne antimicrobial, analgesic, antibacterial, antibiotic resistance modification, antifungal, antifungal (candida), anti-inflammatory, antinociceptive, antioxidant, antispasmodic, antitumoral, antiviral, cooling, kills dust mites, neuroprotective, neuroprotective
supportive actions: anti-anxiety, anxiolytic, anticonvulsant, choleretic, cognition enhancement, hypotensive, immunomodulatory, immunostimulant, local anesthetic, sedative.
Palmarosa is as lovely as its name – palm rhyming with calm followed by rose which fosters images of peace and love. Its lovely aroma remind me of a warm cup of tea with notes of rose and bergamot with a hint of orange and geranium. It has been a longstanding favorite of mine – as you can tell. It holds aromatic qualities, similar to its cousins Lemongrass and Citronella, that are uplifting and refreshing. Overall, it is perfect on its own and a wonderful team player in a blend.
Perhaps the most popular quality of Palmarosa is that it is very skin friendly as it offers a host of beneficial properties for various skin issues. In Asian and Ayurvedic medicine, Palmarosa has been used for skin care for ages. One of the first properties that caught my attention years ago was how it supports the elasticity and regeneration of skin cells. Its antioxidant activity has been shown to reduce free radicals and cell damage and is believed to help regulate sebum production. These attributes have made it a favorite fixative in the cosmetics industry. Consider this antioxidant action compounded with the benefits of antigenotoxic action as in this 2011 study showing its role in protecting DNA. Palmarosa oil possesses antifungal and antimicrobial properties which further broaden its benefits for skin and hair.
Then there are antibacterial and antibiofilm actions. Studies featuring Palmarosa have found it is effective against various strains of bacteria such as Staphylococcus aureus, Staphylococcus epidermidis, and E. coli. Another study focused on its effectiveness as a gargle for throat infections stating “essential oils have the capacity to penetrate into the tissue easily and much faster” than other remedies. This is due to the fact that our cell walls are constructed of a phospholipid bi-layer (lipid are fats/oils), so oils can penetrate the cell wall easier than water. Since Palmarosa is skin friendly, this is a good time to point out that the lining of the mouth, sinus, and upper respiratory system is sometimes referred to as “inner skin” and we know the phospholipid bi-layer is oil friendly.
Let’s talk about the respiratory system for a moment. Palmarosa is reputed for airborne anti-microbial, antibacterial, antifungal, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-spasmodic, and antiviral properties. All these properties work very well to support the respiratory system and bolster the immune system making it an excellent choice for inhalation and diffusing blends for treating colds, flu, and sickrooms. Here is an interesting note to tuck away - the COVID virus is an “enveloped” virus with lipids in its cell well (kinda like us) which relates to the throat-infection-gargle mentioned in the above study and why an essential oil could be effective in penetrating a cell wall/envelope containing lipids. Check out this short video about enveloped and non-enveloped viruses (or this one specifically about the COVID-19 cell structure).It is easy to see why EOs can be so helpful to fight viruses and infections!
Constituents in Palmarosa such as Geraniol, Linalool, and B-Caryophyllene offer hepatoprotective, neuroprotective, and anxiolytic actions. Studies on Palmarosa show it protects the liver and protects the brain. One study  states Palmarosa “is traditionally prescribed for central nervous system (CNS) disorders such as neuralgia, epileptic fits, and anorexia. Although the plant possesses diverse pharmacological actions, the neuroprotective action has got little attention.” The conclusion cited Palmarosa EO to be a potential neuroprotector suggesting its therapeutic potential in cerebrovascular diseases (CVD) including stroke. A review on studies on Linalool’s effectiveness on depression and anxiety stated “Evidence of the linalool activity on the central nervous system, mainly acting as an antidepressant agent, is increasingly abundant.”  Whew! Seriously!
Characteristic of oils in Poaceae (grass) family, its antifungal and airborne/antimicrobial properties attend a wide variety of applications. A 2003 study on its antimicrobial actions found “Palmarosa oil led to changes in the composition of the yeast cell membrane” featuring antifungal action against candida, and showing promise as a natural alternative to synthetic fungicides for use in food preservation . The use of Palmarosa in food preservation is ironic considering Brittanica.com says “The Poaceae are the world’s single most important source of food. They rank among the top five families of flowering plants in terms of the number of species, but they are clearly the most abundant and important family of the Earth’s flora.” Hmmm, good as food (maybe not for us humans, per se) and good to preserve food.
And, yes, just like Citronella and Lemongrass, Palmarosa has traditionally been used for its insect repellent actions. However, it stands out as an actual insecticide with acaricidal properties against fleas, ticks, spiders, various mites and parasites. It has been used to kill head lice and it kills scabies .
Palmarosa is such an uplifting oil. Energetically speaking, it is balancing and harmonizing while offering optimism, clarity, and peacefulness to a exhausted, stressed or frazzled mind. If you’d like to
try Palmarosa for yourself, it is a rather inexpensive oil so you would be getting a great value. See some common uses below and dive in today!
SAFETY DATA –
Recommended uses include inhalation, diffusion, cleaning, and topical use with proper dilution and guidelines. Non-toxic and non-irritating. European legislation regards Geraniol as an allergen; however, the risk is very low if used in topical applications less than 6.5% according to Tisserand and Young (2014).
Add one or two drops to a cotton ball or bottom of a shot glass and inhale slowly and deeply for several minutes (or inhale straight from the bottle) for respiratory, emotional, and cognition support.
Add 5-6 drops per ounce of carrier oil and apply to skin for bug repellent. It works even better in a blend with any of the following: eucalyptus, geranium, lemongrass, patchouli.
Add a drop to unscented conditioner to reduce dandruff and add luster to hair.
Add a 4 -5 drops to a diffuser to help reduce pathogens and freshen air.
Add a drop or two to a diffuser necklace or patch for immune support.
Add a 4-6 drops per ounce of alcohol based hand sanitizer and spritz on clothes to repel insects.
Place a couple drops on cotton ball or sachet and place in drawers, closets, or under bed to help repel insects.
For moisturizing and skin rejuvenation add 2 drops per ounce of carrier oil or skin healing blends for topical application (especially anti-itching blends).