Palmarosa oil is extracted from Cymbopogon martini of the Gramineae family and can also be known as East Indian and Turkish geranium.
The main growing areas in India are said to be the wetlands in the provinces of India, as well as Nepal. It is a slow growing grass which flowers over a 3 month period. Only the flower can it be harvested.
Palmarosa is high in geraniol which is not only used for its rose-like smell but for a number of medicinal and household uses. Palmarosa oil has been shown to be an effective antifungal and mosquito repellent. As for its popular rose-like odour it can be found in many cosmetics and soaps.
In 2014 Indian exports were around 30MT of palmarosa significantly down from 45MT in 2013. This could be largely due to a poor season leading to price increases. The USA is the largest importers of Indian palmarosa, contributing to around 35-40% of annual sales. Europe collectively is larger with 50% of the global sales with France taking around half of the total amount.
Excessive rains yielded a poor crop in 2017. Naturally 2018 brought in a testing time since supply was short and there was no carryover stock. This is another oil that is tough to obtain since existing supplies are completely sold out. There has been no rain in south India so no new oil is available or is anticipated in the foreseeable future.
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