Palmarosa Oil Benefits, Side Effects, and How to Use – Body Health World


Palmarosa oil seems to be all the rage right now.

You’ll find this essential oil in products by the likes of Liberty, Neal’s Yard, and Austin Austin, while several celebrities like Shailene Woodley are also using palmarosa in their daily routines.

According to some, this oil can do just about everything.

Let’s see what the aestheticians and aromatherapists have to say about the benefits of palmarosa essential oil. Is it really the all-in-one ingredient we’ve been looking for?

Palmarosa oil is an essential oil that derives from the Cymbopogon martini plant, a type of evergreen tall grass commonly found in East Asia. When distilled into an essential oil, the main components are:

Throughout history, palmarosa oil has been used medicinally and cosmetically. According to a 2014 study, palmarosa is used in Ayurvedic medicine to help alleviate skin concerns and nerve pain.

According to research from 2010, geraniol is frequently found in cosmetic products to this day thanks to its pleasant smell. It’s also been found to be:

  • antimicrobial
  • an antioxidant
  • anti-inflammatory
  • beneficial for the nervous system
  • an insect repellent

Palmarosa essential oil has a long history, but what are the scientifically proven benefits of using it on the body?

Antimicrobial, antioxidant, and antifungal properties

A 2020 study found palmarosa’s antimicrobial and antioxidant properties may be due, in part, to the rich source of geraniol monoterpene in the palmarosa essential oil.

Still, other essentials oils may be more effective as an antimicrobial, according to a 2020 study.

The antioxidant properties of palmarosa oil were examined in a 2021 study. It was found that not only did palmarosa have antioxidant properties, but that a large variety of bioactive molecules found in the essential oil have potential for activity against insects, cancer, and protozoa infections.

A 2019 study found that palmarosa essential oil seems to work as an antifungal by disrupting the membranes of the cells of the fungus, causing damage to the fungus.

Health and medicinal benefits

Thivi Maruthappu, consultant dermatologist and nutrition expert at Cadogan Clinic, says, “There are no ‘proven’ benefits of palmarosa oil.”

Nevertheless, studies suggest that there may be some medical benefits of palmarosa oil. For example, it:

A 2014 study examined the effects of inhaling palmarosa oil on rats. It resulted in reduced total cholesterol and prevented toxicity in the liver.

Other studies have shown that palmarosa may provide some benefits for the nervous system.

According to a 2017 study, palmarosa oil might prevent the development of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, and the calming effects of the oil might help with anxiety and depression.

Still, more high quality human studies are needed to confirm or discount these potential benefits.

Beauty benefits

Because of its potential antioxidant, antimicrobial, and antibacterial properties, palmarosa oil has a long history in the beauty industry.

“Essential oils are plant hormones, which means they are phytoestrogens,” says skin and wellness expert Marie Reynolds. “They interact with our body and are absorbed by transcutaneous absorption (through the bloodstream). Ultimately, they get to work faster!”

For one thing, it can make a great hair treatment.

“Palmarosa is thought to promote healthy hair, eliminating dead skin cells when applied to the scalp and strengthening hair follicles from the root,” says Maruthappu.

However, palmarosa oil should be used with caution on the skin. While its properties might theoretically help eliminate blemishes, prevent aging, and soothe irritation, it can simultaneously create even more congestion on the face in certain skin types. Always do a patch test before trying a product with palmarosa oil, and mix palmarosa oil with a carrier oil before putting it on your skin.

“I would be careful when using oils in acne-prone skin, as they can increase congestion and blackhead formation. I generally advise avoiding oils in this context with the exception of squalane, which is noncomedogenic [oil-free],” says Maruthappu.

Insect repellent

According research from 2020 on natural insect repellents, palmarosa was found to provide 100 percent protection against mosquitoes for 12 hours.

Spiritual and emotional benefits of palmarosa oil

Palmarosa is a popular oil in aromatherapy because of its purported benefits for mood.

“Emotionally, it’s a mood booster,” says certified aromatherapist Julie Leonard. “It relaxes muscles and reduces fatigue.”

Leonard suggests that palmarosa aromatherapy may help support:

Some people believe this scent can be used to:

  • calm the spirit
  • increase focus
  • balance negative emotions such as jealousy
  • increase a sense of security

Still, none of these benefits are confirmed by research.

Want to give palmarosa oil a try?

In beauty products

If you don’t have acne-prone skin, palmarosa oil can fight off free radicals, leaving you with a glowing, clear, youthful complexion.

However, as Maruthappu says, “It’s important to do your research!”

Look for products that are safe for sensitive skin and have positive reviews from users with a variety of skin types.

Palmarosa is available to purchase in an undiluted form, but you should never put it directly onto the skin. It should also be avoided if pregnant or breastfeeding.

“Many skin care products incorporate palmarosa oil, and this might be the best place to start,” she suggests. “Never use undiluted essential oils on the skin.”

In a diffuser

If you want to experience the therapeutic aroma of palmarosa, a diffuser is a great way to reap the benefits.

Simply put your palmarosa essential oil in a bottle with reed diffuser sticks, and the scent will diffuse into the room. You can also try an electric diffuser.

Spritz it onto your pillow

Add a few drops of palmarosa oil to a carrier oil, then mix in a spray bottle of water. Spritz the mixture straight onto your pillow before bed to help you relax and nod off in the evening.

In recipes

If premixed oils and face products are a little dull for your taste, you can always get creative and make your own palmarosa mixtures at home.

These blends can be used for aromatherapy, baths, massages, skin care, and more.

However, always remember to use a carrier oil with palmarosa essential oil, and never put palmarosa or other essential oils directly on the skin.

Try these simple essential oil blends at home:

Natural bug repellent

A few studies have suggested that palmarosa acts as a natural bug repellent.

Try this blend from Suzannerbanks the next time you want to fend off insects. You can also add this to a diffuser to keep pests away.



  1. Mix essential oils with your chosen carrier oil.
  2. Fill a spray bottle three-fourths of the way with water.
  3. Add oil blend.
  4. Spritz liberally on the skin.

Invigorating room mist

This room mist blend from Suzannerbanks will help increase your energy and focus throughout the day. You don’t need to use a carrier oil, as long as you don’t apply the spray directly to your skin.


  • 9 drops palmarosa essential oil
  • 9 drops lemon myrtle essential oil
  • 9 drops bergamot essential oil


  1. Fill a spray bottle three-fourths of the way with water.
  2. Add oils.
  3. Spritz liberally around your space.

Soothing bath oil blend

To help you unwind, this oil blend from AromaSense can go straight into your tub after you mix it with a carrier oil.


  • 5 drops palmarosa essential oil
  • 5 drops spearmint essential oil
  • 5 drops geranium essential oil
  • 2 tbsp. carrier oil of choice


  1. Mix oils together
  2. Add to running bathwater.
  3. Soak.

Calming massage oil blend

Use this oil blend from AromaSense for at-home massages to ease muscle tension and promote relaxation.


  • 4 drops palmarosa essential oil
  • 5 drops cedarwood essential oil
  • 4 drops clary sage essential oil
  • 2 drops lemon essential oil
  • 2 tbsp. carrier oil of choice


  1. Mix essential oils and carrier oil.
  2. Store in a glass bottle or jar.
  3. Massage into skin as desired.

Peaceful diffuser blend

This simple blend from Home Essential Oils is great for putting in a reed diffuser. You’ll need to use a carrier oil so that the scent distributes evenly.


  • 3 drops palmarosa essential oil
  • 4 drops of lavender essential oil
  • 3 drops of grapefruit essential oil
  • 2 tbsp. carrier oil of choice


  1. Mix oils together.
  2. Add to reed diffuser.
  3. Flip the reeds once oil is absorbed.
  4. Repeat.

While research suggests there are health benefits, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) doesn’t monitor or regulate the purity or quality of essential oils. It’s important to talk with a healthcare professional before you begin using essential oils, and be sure to research the quality of a brand’s products. Always do a patch test before trying a new essential oil, and dilute any essential oil with a carrier oil so it doesn’t burn your skin.

While palmarosa oil has plenty of potential benefits, it can cause irritation if you have sensitive skin.

“Just because the product is natural doesn’t mean it’s better for your skin,” says Maruthappu. “The quality of essential oils drastically varies and they’re not regulated, so it’s important to do your research and buy from reputable or well-known companies,” she adds.

She also emphasized that oils should come in dark-colored or glass containers. Avoid fragrance oils, which are usually combined with chemicals.

Essential oils of any type are not meant to be swallowed. Use essential oils in aromatherapy or diluted in a carrier oil for massage or bath.

Also, consider who else in the environment might be inhaling aromatherapy. Some essential oils are toxic to pets and children.

Before using any new products on the skin, do a patch test. If you have any health concerns, always check with a healthcare professional to see if palmarosa is right for you. Avoid palmarosa if pregnant or breastfeeding.

Palmarosa has a floral scent that’s great for promoting relaxation. If you want to find a similar essential oil, try the following:

Palmarosa essential oil is a natural ingredient that may offer some benefits as part of your skin and hair care routine.

Plus, it smells lovely and blends well with a range of other scents, making it great for aromatherapy, massage blends, and home diffusers.

Still, research doesn’t confirm the benefits of palmarosa, and it may irritate the skin. Always do a patch test and check with a healthcare professional if you have any health concerns.

Meg is a freelance journalist and features writer who covers culture, entertainment, lifestyle and health. Her writing has appeared in Cosmopolitan, Shondaland, Healthline, HelloGiggles, Reader’s Digest, Apartment Therapy, and more.


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