Botanical Name Cymbopogon martinii (Roxb.) W. Watson
Synonyms Andropogon martini Roxb.
Family Gramineae
Local Name Palmarosa
English Name Palmarosa

Plant Description

Palmarosa is a perennial grass native to Southeast Asia. It is cultivated for its essential oil. It is an exotic variety to Nepal and is found distributed within the altitude of 300m to 1500m. This plant has been widely cultivated due to its aromatic value.

The plant reaches up to 2m in height. Leaves are linear lanceolate and finely caudate. Leaves arise mostly from the base of the stem and are highly fragrant. Flowers appear in panicles and turn reddish brown when mature.


Palmarosa oil is extracted from the steam distillation of fresh or semi-dried grass.


Cymbopogon martinii is cultivated for its essential oil which has wide applications in aromatherapy. The therapeutic properties include antiseptic, antiviral, and antibacterial. It benefits the digestive system and respiratory systems. It is also a useful moisturizer and is ideal for use as a massage oil and bath oil. Palmarosa essential oil is also reputed to be of benefit in assisting with stress relief, exhaustion, mind calming, and muscle soreness, and as a skin conditioner with value for rejuvenating and regenerating the skin.

Organoleptic Properties

Appearance: A fluid liquid
Colour: Water white to pale yellow
Aroma: Sweet, floral, rosy,geranium like scent

Active Constituents

The essential oil of this plant, which contains the active compounds geraniol and geranyl acetate, is valued for its scent and many traditional medicinal and household uses. Other compounds are gerinal, myrcene, β-caryophyllene, β-caryophyllene oxide, 1,8-cineol, γ -terpinene, linalool, menthyl heptenone, citronellol, citral, dipentene, limonene, and E-farnesol.

Physico-Chemical Properties

Specific gravity 0.8805 to 0.9007 at 25°C?>
Optical rotation [-] 0.5°to [-] 0.75° at 25°C?>
Refractive index 1.4750 to 1.4798 at 25°C?>
Acid number 0.85 to 10.5
Ester number 15 to 48.5
Ester number 40 to 305 (after acetylation) (after acetylation)
Solubility Soluble in 1.2 to 3.5 vol of 70%alcohol