PALMAROSA ESSENTIAL OIL (CYMBOPOGON MARTINII):
Botanical Name: Cymbopogon martinii
Common Method of Extraction: Steam Distilled
Part Typically Used: Dried grass
Color: Pale yellow
Perfumery Note: Middle
Strength of Initial Aroma: Sweet floral, with a hint of rose smell, rosy-floral odour with subtle fruity, spicy and woody nuances.
It is also known as Indian geranium, rosha, rosha grass and motia grass.
Cymbopogon martinii is a species of grass in the lemon grass genus best known by the common name palmarosa. Palmarosa oil is extracted from Cymbopogon martinii of the Gramineae family and is also known as East Indian and Turkish geranium, as well as Indian rosha and motia.
Palmarosa essential oil is obtained from a sweet-scented grass found growing wild throughout India, especially to the northeast of Bombay and toward the Himalaya Mountains, Nepal and Pakistan.
It is a wild growing, herbaceous green and straw-colored grass, with long slender stems, terminal flowering tops and fragrant grassy leaves. It is harvested before the flowers appear and the highest yield is obtained when the grass is fully dried – about one week after it has been cut.
The essential oil content of the bright-green leaves varies along their length, with the very highest concentration of essential oil being found in the tops of the leaves which release a fresh, grassy rose-like aroma when crushed between the fingers. In India, the grass begins to bud during the latter part of August and flowers appear during October. Wild specimens may survive for 10 or 15 years, whereas plants cultivated for the extraction of essential oil remain productive around 6 to 10 years.
Palmarosa oil has been obtained through steam distillation since the 18th century. This particular essential oil is fast becoming a firm favorite in essential oil therapy and aromatherapy. Because palmarosa oil has a rose-like smell, it is often used by unscrupulous essential oil wholesalers and retailers to adulterate rose essential oil.
A good quality palmarosa oil is almost a perfume in itself, but the fragrance may be quite variable from origin to origin.