Cymbopogon martinii in field
Botanical Name:Cymbopogon martinii (Roxb.) W. Watson
Synonym:Andropogon martini Roxb.
Palmarosa is a perennial grass is native to south-east Asia, especially India and Pakistan and it is cultivated for its oil. It is an exotic variety to Nepal and found distributed within the altitude of 300m to 1500m. This plant has been widely cultivated its aromatic value.
The plant reaches up to 2m in height. Leaves are linearlanceolate and finely caudate. Leaves arise mostly from the base of the stem and are highly fragrant. Flowers appear in panicles and turns to reddish brown when mature. Propagation is often carried out by root cuttings and slips.
Palmarosa oil is extracted from the steam distillation of fresh or semi-dried grass.
Palmarosa oil has been shown to be an effective insect repellent when applied to stored grain and beans, an antihelmintic against nematodes, and an antifungal and mosquito repellent. Palmarosa oil is widely used in the manufacture of soaps, detergents, in the perfumery and cosmetics. The oil has antiseptic, antiviral, bactericidal, cytophylactic, digestive, febrifuge and stimulant properties. The oil is also used in aromatherapy for nervous system, digestive system and in skin care. Palmarosa oil is mainly used for the isolation of high grade geraniol, and in flavouring tobacco.
Colour:Water white to pale yellow
Aroma:Sweet, floral, rosy, geranium like scent
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 after acetylation:240 to 305
SFree Alcohol:62 to 84% (calculated as geraniol)
Total alcohol :80 to 96%
Solubility :Soluble in 1.2 to 3.5 vol of 70% alcohol
The essential oil of this plant, which contains the active compound geraniol, is valued for its scent and for a number of traditional medicinal and household uses. Other compounds are pinene, myrcene, 1,8-cineol, β-terpinene, β-caryophyllene, farnesol, geranyl acetate, linalol, menthylheptenone, citronellol, citral, dipentene and limonene.