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Palmarosa essential oil was first known as a sort of fake rose oil, but has since cleared its name and distinguished itself as a real medicinal powerhouse in the world of essential oils . Some like to call it the friendly oil, since it blends so well with other oils, lending its beautiful aroma and powerful medicinal properties to every oil that it encounters. As one can imagine, Palmarosa has become very helpful to farmers in India and many third world countries, since the essential oil revolution has turned native wild herbs in these countries into figurative gold mines. Get ready for some valuable information on exactly what palmarosa oil does, and how it works!
What Is Palmarosa Essential Oil?
Palmarosa essential oil is extracted from the species cymbopogon martinii. The palmarosa plant is actually pale green grass that grows from about 1 meter to 3 meters in height. At the end of the plant’s maturation, little red flowers grow at the top of the stalks. Right before this flowering occurs is when the stalks will produce the highest quality oil, and this is exactly when they are harvested and dried. Once the stalks have fully dried they go through a process called steam distillation, which extracts the purest form of the oil.
Palmarosa is native to India, where most of the palmarosa oil production takes place. However, it grows well in moist environments in many parts of the world, and in fact was widely traded by the Turks. Turkish folks often used it to adulterate pure rose oil, since the scents are very similar and palmarosa is much cheaper. That’s also how palmarosa got its name, due to it’s rosy aroma, although in truth it is more closely related to lemongrass essential oil and citronella essential oil. Still to this day, many manufacturers will use palmarosa oil in rose-scented perfumes and other products, although they are more scrupulous about properly labeling it due to modern market regulations. That’s why it’s strongly advised to check the label and look at the scientific genus species before you buy any essential oil.
Although palmarosa oil got an unwarranted rap back in the day as fake rose oil, modern research shows that palmarosa oil actually has it’s own unique properties that make it very valuable in its own right, and it no longer needs to live in the shadow of the prestigious rose oil. In fact, more and more alternative medicine practitioners and aromatherapist are using palmarosa oil to treat conditions such as eczema and other skin inflammations, as well as taking advantage of its unique aroma to promote feelings of relaxation and acceptance. There are even studies that show palmarosa oil to be effective in healing cancerous cells and preventing tumor growth.
Benefits Of Palmarosa Essential Oil For Hair
Just like you need healthy soil to grow nice flowers, you need a healthy scalp to grow nice hair. Palmarosa oil is an excellent moisturizer that helps balance sebum production in the scalp, which is your ticket to healthy hair and scalp alike. Having balanced sebum production means that your scalp is producing the perfect amount of nourishing oil, which is absolutely essential for healthy hair. In addition, palmarosa oil stimulates cell reproduction, which helps the scalp efficiently replace old damaged cells with fresh new cells, leading to a much healthier environment for hair growth.
In addition to a healthy scalp, directly moisturizing the hair that has already grown is key. Nobody likes dealing with dry, brittle hair, and palmarosa oil can really help get your hair’s moisture back and make it more elastic and manageable. While you can always simply add a few drops to your regular shampoo for a little extra moisturization, what your dry hair is really thirsting for is a warm palmarosa hair mask. Combine 3 drops of palmarosa oil, 3 drops of lavender essential oil, and 2 drops of Peru Balsam oil, and then mix in 3 teaspoons of warm olive oil or jojoba oil.
You can also just use 7-8 drops of palmarosa oil (still mixed with the olive oil), or substitute other essential oils that you have found work well with your hair. Once your mixture is mildly warm and ready, massage it thoroughly into your hair, starting at the roots and making your way all the way to the ends. When you are done, cover your hair with a towel and leave it in for a minimum of 1 hour, although letting it sit overnight will give the best results. Whenever you’re ready, thoroughly wash it out with a natural shampoo and then continue with your shower and hair routine as normal.
Benefits Of Palmarosa Essential Oil For Skin
While it’s definitely great for your hair, palmarosa oil is more commonly known for it’s skin benefits – and for good reason. To start, palmarosa essential oil provides skin with a healthy foundation of balanced moisture and sebum. While many commercial products simply slap on a layer of artificial moisture that makes your skin feel nice for an hour or two, palmarosa oil encourages your skin to produce it’s own balanced levels of moisture so that it doesn’t need to rely on external sources of moisture in the future. It also helps skin replace old, dead cells with new ones so that your skin looks youthful and vibrant.
While palmarosa oil contains many powerful components, the most predominant one is the geraniol, which accounts for 80% of the oils makeup and gives it much of its therapeutic value. Geraniol acts as an antioxidant to reduce and reverse oxidative stress caused by free radicals and damaged cells. Basically, that means that it repairs the effects of ageing – such as dulling of the skin, small wrinkles, and skin that has become papery and dry. It does this by encouraging the cells to regenerate faster and more effectively. In fact, there have been studies done recently showing that oils which contain geraniol, such as palmarosa oil, can help suppress cancerous tumor growth by up to 90%. Adding some palmarosa oil to your regular moisturizer, or making your own by combining it with coconut oil or jojoba oil may be just what your parched skin needs.
In addition to being an excellent moisturizer, palmarosa oil can also be used to naturally and effectively treat conditions such as eczema and athlete’s foot. In eczema, it keeps the skin moist to prevent itching. Since scratching creates an open wound that is prone to bacteria, infection, and inflammation, just the effects of controlling the itching on its own can have significant benefits. However, palmarosa oil doesn’t stop there. Even once eczema has became infected or inflamed, the antiseptic, antibacterial, and anti inflammatory properties of the oil help to disinfect the skin, and encourage the skin to repair itself by stimulating new healthy cell growth. While eczema can also be healed by lifestyle and diet changes, palmarosa oil can help keep the rashes at bay while you experiment with different diets and plans.
How To Blend Palmarosa Essential Oil With Other Oils
One of the greatest benefits of blending essential oils is that you’re able to experiment and make a customized product that is perfect for your specific needs. Just start with a carrier oil such as jojoba, coconut, or even olive oil, and go from there.
If you’re dealing with oily hair, a few drops each of palmarosa, lemon essential oil, and cedarwood oil is a great way to start. If you’re concocting an uplifting diffuser blend, palmarosa and bergamot essential oil are an excellent combination that compliment each other very nicely. Palmarosa, citronella, lemongrass, eucalyptus essential oil, and lavender, among others, all create a great natural mosquito and lice repellent, although the palmarosa may attract bees so be careful where you use it. A few drops each of palmarosa and ylang ylang essential oil combine to make a sweet natural perfume, and adding a little rosewood to that mix makes for a wonderful sensual massage rub.
When making any sort of essential oil blend, it is actually best to add the essential oil first, and then mix in the carrier, since that allows the oils to blend better and work together with a more potent synergy. When using multiple essential oils together, they help each other and work together to create a deeper and more intense effect than they would have on their own. They often help each other penetrate deeper, while creating the skin conditions that the other oil needs in order to maximize its strength while covering for its weaknesses. Its one of those 1+1=3 kind of things, and the possibilities are endless!
Are There Potential Side Effects When Using Palmarosa Essential Oil?
Palmarosa oil is generally considered completely safe. It is a non-toxic, non-irritant plant oil. However, it is still extremely concentrated, and should always be used in diluted form. Over time, you can decrease the dilution ratio as you monitor how your skin reacts to higher concentrations. In any case, before your first time using any essential oil, you should perform a patch test by diluting a few drops an applying it to a small patch of skin on the inside of your wrist, and waiting 24 hours to make sure you don’t have an allergic reaction.
Only ingest high quality therapeutic grade essential oils, and only do so under the supervision of an experienced aromatherapist. People with medical conditions or who are taking medication should check with a doctor before use. If you do have a skin condition that you suspect is eczema, see a dermatologist instead of relying on a self diagnoses to make sure you aren’t overlooking a more complex condition.
Although it is generally considered completely safe, due to the lack of research done on pregnant women and the sensitivity of children’s skin, women who are pregnant and children under age 6 should only use palmarosa oil under the guidance of an aromatherapist or doctor.
— Abbey Essentials (@AbbeyEssentials) March 1, 2016
How To Make Palmarosa Essential Oil
While it’s tricky to produce the pure concentrated essential oils that you buy commercially, you can still make a great palmarosa oil infusion which will have the same effect as the essential oil, albeit a slightly weaker version. The process is fairly simple, although getting your hands on some fresh palmarosa may be a bit of a challenge. Try checking online as there are many services available nowadays that will actually deliver fresh herbs straight to your doorstep. Once you have your palmarosa stalks, here’s what to do:
- Using a mortar and pestle, crush enough palmarosa stalks to loosely fill a medium or large glass jar.
- Place the palmarosa in the jar, and fill the rest of the jar with olive oil (or any oil you choose, such as sweet almond oil or apricot kernel oil).
- Tightly cap the jar, and gently shake it to make sure the palmarosa is completely covered in the oil.
- Leave the jar out in the sun for 2 or 3 days.
- Strain the oil through a cheesecloth into a different dark glass jar for storage, and throw the old palmarosa grass into your garden for compost.
- Depending on how strong you want your finished product, you may want to put a new batch of fresh palmarosa into the same oil, and let the oil sit for another few days in the sun to get even stronger. You can repeat this process with the same oil as many times as you would like, until your have achieved the desired results and smell.
- Store the oil in a dark glass jar in a cool place.
An alternative method is to combine the crushed palmarosa stalks with the oil in a crock pot or slow cooker, and let it simmer on low heat for 4-8 hours. Same as before, you can strain out the old palmarosa stalks and add new ones until you have achieved the desired results.
It is important to note that homemade essential oils are not the same quality as those produced in commercial distilleries. Therefore, homemade essential oils should never be ingested, since they are more prone to bacteria growth, which is safe for topical application but not for ingestion. Homemade oils should be kept for up to one year before being replaced, and should be discarded if they start to smell funny or become discolored or rancid.
By now you see that keeping a bottle of palmarosa oil around is like keeping a good friend around. She helps you do your hair, compliments you on your skin, takes care of you when you’re sick, puts you in a good mood, and gets along with all your other friends. There’s nothing like knowing that the solution to whatever you are dealing with is achievable naturally, with just a little experimentation, patience, and a healthy dose of palmarosa’s love.