Thursday, September 19, 2013

GLOBAL VIEW: Palmarosa Cultivation in Nepal

Palmarosa seeds ready to be sowed
The essential oil from the leaves and flower tops of palmarosa (Cymbopogon martinii var. motia) has a sweet, slightly citrus scent that calls to mind both geranium and rose. A native grass, palmarosa grows wild from the southern subtropical slopes of Nepal to the serene Himalaya Mountains. Nepal is where we find the farmer’s cooperative that produces our Palmarosa Essential Oil [Prima Fleur No. 208]. After the seeds are sowed, the fields are flooded. The resulting grasses are ready to harvest between October and December, after the plants begin to bud. To obtain the highest yield of oil with the best quality, they distill from the leaves and the upper third of the stems. Below, a slideshow of the cultivation process for our palmarosa in Nepal.

Inspecting the oil after distillation
Produced by steam distillation of the fresh or dried grass, palmarosa may be a lesser known essential oil, but it is superlative for skin care, offering cell regenerative and antiseptic properties beneficial to dry, mature, and problem skin types. While palmarosa soothes the skin, it is also uplifting to the spirit, reducing nervous tension and stress, clearing the mind, and calming the senses. Excellent for use in diffusers, palmarosa is high in geraniol, a terpene alcohol that is anti-bacterial, toning, and stimulating to the immune system. Palmarosa’s pleasing odor and its properties against bacteria make it ideal for disinfecting stale rooms. 

The Nepalese name the plant Motiya, and have capitalized on its benefits to create economic opportunities. By providing a guaranteed market for cultivated and wild-collected plants, cooperative programs help small-scale local farmers continue to work the fields, as well as promote the protection of open space for business purposes by leasing privately owned and community lands. Cultivation and harvest are organic and sustainable: What remains from the distillation process is composted and returned to the lands to encourage fertile soil. Micro-financing is available to help local people begin to farm and to provide them with the knowledge to properly cultivate and harvest the plants. Not only can plants like bountiful palmarosa provide therapeutic benefits to people worldwide, they also offer rural residents consistent employment and cash earnings, thereby raising quality of life.

For information on our Essential Oils and pricing, please visit our website. For questions and to place an order, please contact ~ or call (415) 455-0957.

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