Category: Medicines - plant based



Introduction and description


Cymbopogon martinii is a species of grass in the lemon grass genus native to India and Indochina but widely cultivated in many places for its aromatic oil.

It is best known by the common name palmarosa.  Other common names include Indian geranium, gingergrass and rosha or rosha grass. 

Synonymous botanical names include:

  • Cymbopogon martini (Roxb.) Wats., spelling preferred under ICN
  • Andropogon martini Roxb.
  • Cymbopogon martinianus Schult.
  • Gymnanthelia martini (Roxb.) Andersson
  • Andropogon schoenanthus var. martini (Roxb.) Hook.f.
  • Andropogon pachnodes Trin.
  • Andropogon calamus-aromaticus Royle
  • Cymbopogon pachnodes (Trin.) W.Watson
  • Cymbopogon martini var. sofia B.K.Gupta
  • Cymbopogon motia B.K.Gupta

Palmarosa oil, which has a scent similar to roses, is added to soaps and cosmetics.

Medicinal uses

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. 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.


References and further reading

    Kumar, R.; Srivastava, M.; Dubey, N. K. (2007). "Evaluation of Cymbopogon martinii oil extract for control of postharvest insect deterioration in cereals and legumes". Journal of Food Protection 70 (1): 172–78
  • Kumaran, A. M.; D'souza, P; Agarwal, A; Bokkolla, RM; Balasubramaniam, M; et al. (2003). "Geraniol, the putative anthelmintic principle of Cymbopogon martinii". Phytotherapy Research 17 (8): 957. doi:10.1002/ptr.1267. PMID 13680833
  • Duke, J. A. and J. duCellier. (1993). CRC Handbook of Alternative Cash Crops. Boca Raton: CRC Press.



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