Often used as a substitute for rose essential oil, palmarosa’s floral, faintly citrusy smell was once incredibly popular among European perfumers.
Today, it's adopted by numerous people - from wellness experts to A-list celebrities - for its powerful, all-in-one benefits. Among other uses, palmarosa oil is now a popular skin tonic, home cleaning agent, and stress reliever.
If you're curious about how to include palmarosa oil in your routine, here are some key facts to keep in mind about how it's used and its rich history.
What is Palmarosa Essential Oil?
A member of the lemongrass family – not the rose family – palmarosa (Cymbopogon Martinii) is native to India but can now be found in many parts of the world.
Extracted via steam distillation from the dried grass of the palmarosa plant, palmarosa essential oil has a sweet, herbal scent with unmistakable notes of rose. These rosy notes are what make the oil so popular as a substitute for the more expensive rose essential oil - extracted from rose petals.
Palmarosa oil is generally pale yellow to pale green in colour, and can be used in perfumery as a top note as well as in traditional aromatherapy practices.
What are the health benefits of Palmarosa Essential Oil?
One of palmarosa oil's strongest natural components is geraniol. According to research from 2010, geraniol is frequently found in cosmetic products for its antibacterial, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory properties.
All these benefits (alongside its sweet scent) may be part of the reason why palmarosa oil has shot up in popularity amongst wellness circles. Other benefits of palmarosa oil include:
- Nourishing the skin
- Providing antimicrobial and antiseptic properties
- Improving mental health
- Aiding digestion
Does palmarosa essential oil benefit & nourish the skin?
Rich in nutrients, palmarosa essential oil is able to replenish skin cells and give skin a hydrated appearance.
Considered a gentle, non-irritating oil, it is often used as a tonic to balance sebum production in the skin and to reduce oiliness. It can even be an effective treatment for acne.
A study in 2017 found that the high geraniol content of the oil made it a great skin cleanser and supported the use of palmarosa oil as a natural acne remedy.
Even though palmarosa is a gentle oil, it should still always be diluted before use on the skin. Add a few drops of palmarosa to a carrier oil and create your very own all-natural face wash.
Is palmarosa oil antimicrobial and antiseptic?
The high geraniol content of palmarosa oil also gives it strong antibacterial properties. It is particularly useful as an antiseptic, combatting staph infections and keeping the body healthy.
A study in 2020 found that the oil showed higher activity against the bacteria responsible for staph infections than the known persister drug, tosufloxican. This shows just how powerful palmarosa’s protective abilities are.
The antimicrobial effects of palmarosa oil are also just as effective on the skin, helping to clear any trapped bacteria in the pores.
Adding a few drops of palmarosa essential oil to a spray bottle of water can make for a fantastic homemade cleaning spray that not only kills unwanted microbes but keeps your home smelling rosy and fresh.
Can palmarosa essential oil improve mental health?
Palmarosa oil has also been found by many to improve symptoms of poor mental health such as stress and low mood.
The oil is said to have a positive impact on the nervous system, giving it a balancing effect on our emotions. This helps us to process and rationalise negative thoughts and lessen feelings of stress and anxiety.
Does palmarosa oil help aid digestion?
Many people have claimed that palmarosa essential oil can improve digestion.
The oil is said to stimulate the secretion of digestive juices into the stomach, encouraging healthy and efficient digestion. It's also able to promote the absorption of nutrients into the body.
Please note that we cannot recommend taking non-food-grade palmarosa essential oil internally unless you have consulted a professional. Learn more about the dangers of internal essential oil consumption.
How to use Palmarosa Essential Oil
If you're wondering how to incorporate the many benefits of palmarosa essential oil into your wellness routine, here are just a few options you can try to make your days a little rosier.
The sweet, rosy aromas of palmarosa oil are ideal for giving your home an air of relaxation and rejuvenation. Some sources even claim that the oil's effect on the nervous system can help dispel feelings of grief or reduced focus.
Add a few drops of oil to your electric diffuser or oil burner for a stress-relieving remedy that will calm the spirit and balance out negative energies.
If you're looking to improve your digestion without worrying about the risks of initial consumption, a restorative massage could help stimulate the absorption of rich, stomach-balancing nutrients.
Combine a few drops of palmarosa essential oil with your favourite carrier oil and massage gently into the stomach and abdomen area.
If you don't have a diffuser to hand, or if you prefer the relaxing vibes that a nice warm bath can create, try sprinkling some palmarosa oil into your bathtub before settling in. The gentle floral notes will help relieve your stress levels.
Many celebrities now swear by the use of palmarosa oil in their skincare routines.
Thanks to its antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, and antiseptic properties, adding a few drops of palmarosa to a carrier oil can create a highly effective facial cleanser - perfect for fighting off acne breakouts.
You can also try adding some palmarosa oil to your existing moisturisers or serums for an added boost.
Soap & Candles
Palmarosa oil provides a beautiful top note for soaps, candles, wax melts, and more. Always remember to follow a trusted recipe if you've never made crafts using essential oils before.
History of Palmarosa Essential Oil
Known in traditional Ayurvedic practices as 'Roshia', palmarosa oil was used extensively in ancient medicine to help treat a number of health conditions - from bronchitis to fevers and jaundice.
According to Ayurvedic texts from the 14th century, palmarosa oil was also recommended for diseases of the throat and obstinate skin diseases. It was even used as an insect repellent.
Ancient Chinese medicine would use palmarosa in a similar way, believing that the oil promoted the body's cooling and moistening functions.
From East Asia, palmarosa essential oil was then shipped to Constantinople, where it was mistakenly identified by European traders as geranium. Once it reached Europe on a mainstream level, it was used in a wide range of soaps, cosmetics, and tobacco products.
Palmarosa appears to be two things at once, simultaneously a delicate floral scent and a health-promoting herb. Whether you enjoy palmarosa for its notes of rose or for its nourishing, protective effects, it’s worth adding to your collection either way.