Best Lemongrass Oil for Making Perfume

by | Mar 1, 2015 | natural aromatics, raw materials of perfumery | 2 comments

I grow both of the most common types of lemongrass in my garden: the bulbous stalk type we’re most familiar with, Cymbopogon citratus, known as West Indian lemongrass. This is the one used in stirfrys, Asian marinade pastes, and many savory dishes. I also grow Cymbopogon flexuosus, known as East Indian lemongrass, which grows much taller than the citratus, and has a skinny stalk, no swelling at the base. Earlier research showed me that the flexuosus is used in sweet recipes in the Far East, such as sodas, syrups, candies, and such.

Cymbopogon flexuosus aka East Indian lemongrass. Notice the base of the stalks is not swollen, it's a slender stem.

Cymbopogon flexuosus aka East Indian lemongrass. Notice the base of the stalks is not swollen, it’s a slender stem. Love this old photo, it’s from 2003 when I first got my C. flexuosus plant.

Here’s a shot of the planted flexuosus in my garden today, it’s a bit beaten down by rain, but notice the tall, rangy growth habit and brown seed stalks/head. Dead palm frond in neighbor’s yard doesn’t add to the ambiance 🙂

C. flexuosus with seed stalks and seed head.

C. flexuosus with seed stalks and seed head.

Below find a photo of some newly-planted West Indian lemongrass C. citratus, about four months old. You can’t see the swollen bases in this photo, but notice the wider leaves, and more rounded head, and the fact that the plants are shorter than the C. flexuosus. Also, in all my years of growing C. citratus, I have never seen them put forth a flower stalk.

West Indian lemongrass, C. citratus, with wider leaves, rounded growth habit.

West Indian lemongrass, C. citratus, with wider leaves, rounded growth habit.

Now — the information I found about the two species that are of importance to perfumers: use the C. flexuosus, it has less of a tendency to go rancid. Well, to develop oxida­tive poly­meri­za­tion, to be exact. I’ve had some bottles of lemongrass go “gooey” over time, with a thick, rubbery paste around the neck of the bottle. I found this information on a site I have visited and loved as a fabulous resource for many, many years. Here’s the link to the specific lemongrass page on Germot Katzer’s Spice Pages, but I know you’ll be burrowing into all the other pages there, it’s addictive! I guess a higher myrcene content is the culprit. Perfumers love to have a longer shelf life for our oils, and every little bit of research helps. Aromatherapists may have a specific reason to choose C. citratus over C. flexuosus, but I encourage them to look into the possibility of using flexuosus too because maybe it will work the same was as citratus.

What do you think, perfumers – will this news cause you to consider using C. flexuosus in your perfumes?

2 Comments

  1. Teresa

    I’d like to follow your blog. Thanks.

    Reply
  2. Stephanie Rubinato

    How cool that you grow your own ingredients for your perfumes! I’ve been working with beeswax and other organic mixes to produce my own products for my oil based perfumes. I’m working on a line of scents for men, and would like to know what scents you think would convey a more masculine feel?

    Reply

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

BECOME A NATURAL PERFUMER

ENROLL TODAY

error: Copyright Content