Geranium, Red (Rose) flower & oil (Pelargonium graveolens)
Pelargonium graveolens, Rose Geranium, is an uncommon Pelargonium species native to the Cape Provinces and the Northern Provinces of South Africa, Zimbabwe and Mozambique. It is in the subgenus Pelargonium along with Pelargonium crispum, Pelargonium tomentosum and Pelargonium capitatum.
There are many cultivars of P. graveolens and they have a wide variety of scents, including rose, citrus, mint and cinnamon as well as various fruits. Cultivars and hybrids include:
‘Graveolens’ (or Pelargonium graveolens hort.) – A rose-scented cultivar of P. graveolens. Possibly a hybrid between P. graveolens and P. radens or P. capitatum. This cultivar is often incorrectly labeled as Pelargonium graveolens (the species). The main difference between the species and this cultivar is the dissection of the leaf. The species had about 5 lobes but the cultivar has about 10.
‘Citrosum’ – A lemony, citronella-scented cultivar of P. graveolens, similar to P. ‘Graveolens’. It is meant to repel mosquitos and rumour has it that it was made by genetically bonding genes from the citronella grass but this is highly unlikely.
‘Cinnamon Rose’ – A cinnamon-scented variety of P. graveolens.
‘Dr Westerlund’ – A lemony rose-scented cultivar of P. graveolens, similar to P. ‘Graveolens’.
‘Graveolens Bontrosai’ – A genetically challenged form of P. graveolens. The leaves are smaller and curl back on themselves and the flowers often don’t open fully. Known as P. ‘Colocho’ in the US.
‘Grey Lady Plymouth’ – A lemony rose-scented cultivar of P. graveolens. Similar to P. ‘Lady Plymouth’. The leaves are grey – green in colour and beautifully contrast of scented pelargonium varieties.
‘Lady Plymouth’ – A minty lemony rose-scented cultivar of P. graveolens. A very popular variety with a definite mint scent. Possibly a P. radens hybrid.
‘Lara Starshine’ – A lemony rose-scented cultivar of P. graveolens, similar to P. ‘Graveolens’ but with more lemony scented leaves and reddish pink flowers. Bred by Australian Plantsman Cliff Blackman.
‘Lucaeflora’ – A rose-scented variety of P. graveolens, much more similar to the species that most other cultivars and varieties of P. graveolens.
× melissinum – The lemon balm pelargonium (lemon balm – Melissa officinalis). This is a hybrid between P. crispum and P. graveolens.
‘Mint Rose’ – A minty rose-scented cultivar of P. graveolens. Similar to P. ‘Lady Plymouth’ but without the variegation of the leaves and lemony undertones.
‘Secret Love’ – An unusual eucalyptus-scented variety of P. graveolens with pretty pale pink flowers.
‘Van Leeni’ – A lemony rose-scented cultivar of P. graveolens, similar to P. ‘Graveolens’ and P. ‘Dr Westerland’.
Composition of Geranium Oil
Geranium oil contains about 67 compounds. The main components of geranium oil are citronellol (26.7 percent) and geraniol (13.4 percent). Other major constituents include:
- Nerol (8.7 percent)
- Citronellyl formate (7.1 percent)
- Isomenthone (6.3 percent)
- Linalool (5.2 percent)
The most interesting health benefits of geranium include its ability to lower stress levels, reduce inflammation, relieve menstrual pain, strengthen the immune system, ease digestion and improve kidney, skin and hair health. It has antiseptic, antibacterial, and anti-fungal properties which help heal wounds faster.
Pelargonium graveolens is a geranium extract used in cosmetics and personal care products as a fragrance ingredient. It is cultivated in large numbers in South Africa, and known for its rose-like scent, although it is also used for other smells it imparts, including citrus, mint, coconut and nutmeg, as well as various fruits. It is sometimes known as rose geranium, old fashion rose geranium, and rose-scent geranium, according to Wikipedia. It is considered a less expensive alternative to other rose oils, and is often used in aromatherapy formulas as well.
Pelargonium graveolens has other skin care properties as well and is known to create a balance between oily and dry skin by balancing the production of sebum; this balance assists in boosting and improving the elasticity of the skin. It also stimulates the lymphatic system, releasing excess water that may be retained in the tissue. This may not only prevent cellulite but can also relieve swelling. Pelargonium graveolens also has therapeutic abilities that can calm irritated skin, clear acne, and heal bruises, burns, cuts and eczema, due to its astringent, antiseptic, tonic, antibiotic and anti-infectious properties.
Uses of Geranium Oil
In aromatherapy, geranium oil is used to help treat acne, sore throats, anxiety, depression and insomnia. It is popular among women due to its rosy smell and its beneficial effect on menstruation and menopause.4 The essential oil can also aid in uplifting mood, lessening fatigue and promoting emotional wellness.
Geranium oil also functions to assist in pain reduction and inflammation. Its antiseptic properties can help speed up the healing of wounds and treat a variety of skin problems, such as burns, frostbite, fungal infections, athlete’s foot and eczema. Hemorrhoids can also be potentially treated with the use of geranium oil.
Frequent travelers can use geranium oil as a natural insect repellent. Topical application can also help heal insect bites and stop itching. It may also be used as a massage oil to help relieve aching muscles and stress. Other uses of geranium oil include:
- Food — Geranium oil can be added to baked goods, frozen dairy, non-alcoholic and alcoholic beverages and candies.
- Perfumery — Geranium oil has been used to create an artificial rose scent in fragrances and cosmetics.
Benefits of Geranium Oil (OrganicFacts.net & Mercola.com)
Geranium essential oil provides numerous health benefits due its uses as an astringent, hemostatic, cicatrisant, diuretic and many others. Below are just some of the ways this essential oil serves both your physical and emotional health:
- It causes your gums, muscles, intestines, skin, blood vessels and tissues to contract due to its astringent properties. It assists in preventing skin problems like sagging and wrinkling and helps give your muscles a toned appearance.
- It contains antibacterial, antifungal and antioxidant properties. It can aid in inhibiting the bacterial strains Brevibacterium linens and Yersinia enterolitica, as well as the fungal species Aspergillus niger. It can also help prevent bacterial infections.
- It can help eliminate the appearance of scars and dark spots by helping improve blood circulation just below the surface of the skin and helping promote an equal distribution of melanin.
- It can help speed up the healing of wounds by triggering blood clotting. This also helps in stopping toxins from reaching your bloodstream through open wounds.
- It assists in detoxification by increasing the rate of urination. This process of elimination does not only remove toxins from your body, but also aids in your digestive function and helps inhibit the excess gas in your intestines.
- It can serve as a deodorant due to its fragrant scent. It can also help prevent body odor due to its antibacterial action.
- The impact of geranium on the nervous system is well known and the plant has been used in this way for generations. If you brew the leaves of its plant, you can produce a tasty tea that has soothing properties, derived from its organic compounds that positively impact the endocrine system and help to balance hormones that cause stress and anxiety. A quick cup of tea when you’re stressed can quickly relieve unpleasant moods and a cluttered mind.
- Although quite similar to its anti-inflammatory properties, the analgesic ability of geranium has made it a popular traditional remedy for headaches and other injuries. If you suffer from chronic pain or migraines, research has shown that its tea can release endorphins and relieve pain quite rapidly. This effect is relatively mild, and shouldn’t be relied on for permanent pain relief.
- Geranium relieves symptoms of bronchitis, sinusitis, and nose infections because it is a powerful antiviral.
- Geranium, being a styptic, has the ability to stop hemorrhage as it slows down blood flow by contracting the arteries and veins. It also has hemostatic properties which cause the blood to clot. This helps heal wounds faster.
- If you’re suffering from cramping, bloating, or a generally upset stomach, drinking a cup of geranium tea can be one of the easiest and most painless remedies. The beneficial organic compounds can quickly soothe inflammation and eliminate bacteria that may be causing the discomfort, and get your gastrointestinal system back to normal!
- Geranium is excellent for treating a range of women’s health issues from hot flashes and distress during menopause and menstrual cramps. It works two-fold, as a tonic and an antidepressant. It has been traditionally used to stabilize hormonal levels during menopause through its action on the adrenal cortex.
- If you are looking for a natural skin cleanser and tonic, opt for geranium essential oil. It can be used directly on the skin or added to your bathwater. It helps tighten and tone the skin and keeps it blemish-free.
- Geranium promotes hair growth because it regulates the secretion of sebum on the scalp. The essential oil can be added to either carrier oils or shampoo. This helps give the hair a smooth sheen and a lovely, mild rose aroma.
The 17 Best Uses for Geranium Essential Oil, A-Z (TheTruthAboutCancer.com)
#1. Adrenal Health – Geranium has been used for centuries for its ability to support the adrenal glands. It acts as a tonic for the paired adrenal glands that sit atop the kidneys. In so doing, geranium may help those suffering from chronic exhaustion and fatigue.
#2. Allergies – A June 2016 Japanese study found that geranium essential oil had an inhibitory effect on cultured mast cells. These are immune cells involved with triggering allergic reactions, inflammatory conditions and autoimmune dysfunction. Geranium also inhibited tumor necrosis factor (TNF), a cell signaling protein known as a cytokine, involved in systemic inflammation. TNF is also involved in the regulation of immune cells.
#3. Anxiety, Depression, Nervous Tension – The aroma of geranium is very calming to the nervous system. It helps to relieve nervous tension, melt away anger and aggression, balances emotions, lifts the spirit, and promotes feelings of peace and well-being.
#4. Blood Sugar Problems – Geranium is held in high esteem in Tunisia and is much studied there for its ability to decrease blood glucose levels. Animal studies reported in 2012 revealed that serum glucose levels were significantly decreased in diabetic rats and much more effective than glibenclamide, an antidiabetic drug. Hopefully studies will continue and humans will be included!
#5. Brain Clarity & Concentration – Geranium helps to improve cognitive function and improves concentration. It is even being studied for its ability to prevent neurodegenerative disorders such as dementia and Alzheimer’s.
#6. Cancer – Geranium has long been used by natural healers for its anti-tumoral properties. One 2002 study found that geraniol had anti-proliferative effects (proliferation is the ability of cancer cells to spread) and, when combined with the chemotherapy drug 5-fluorouracil, had twice the cancer-killing action of 5-fluorouracil alone in cultured colon cancer cells. Several of the researchers in that study released a subsequent study in 2004 showing this combination also worked in mice. Researchers observed a 53% reduction in tumor size using the combination of 5-fluorouracil and geraniol.
A Chinese study reported in 2012 stated that the combination of geranium and several traditional Chinese herbs greatly assisted breast cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy and/or radiation. The geranium/herb combination was found to delay or slow the associated reduction of leukocytes (white blood cells involved in immune function) for women receiving chemotherapy and/or radiation.
Research released in May 2016 revealed that citronellol can be used in an interesting way. Researchers combined citronellol with the anti-cancer drug cabazitaxel, a taxane used to fight prostate cancer. The combination (called a conjugate self-assembled nanoparticle, or CSNP) improved the drug’s ability to accumulate at the site of a tumor. Researchers said this method was an effective antitumoral, in vitro (test tube).
#7. Candida – Because of its strong anti-fungal properties, geranium has been investigated for candida sufferers. Research reported in 2008 found that of three essential oils studied, geranium was the most effective in combination with Amphotericin B, an antifungal drug, against 11 strains of candida. Geranium helps the antifungal drugs work better and they appear to have a synergistic effect. Another study reported in 2008 on mice found that geranium oil suppressed candida cell growth in the vagina.
#8. Cold Sores (Herpes Simplex) – Due to its anti-viral qualities, geranium essential oil is excellent for helping to heal cold sores. It will reduce the pain and size of a cold sore quickly.
#9. Golden Staph and Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA) – A research study reported in 2012 demonstrated that geranium has excellent antimicrobial properties against Staphylococcus aureus (“golden staph”) and even methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus. Indeed, the author’s own mother-in-law was diagnosed with MRSA several years ago. Geranium essential oil was one of several essential oils used topically (on the skin), instead of the antibiotic drugs given to her by the doctor. It completely healed the MRSA in what her doctor called “record time.”
#10. Hair and Scalp Health – Geranium has been used traditionally for decades for hair regrowth. It is known to nourish and tone the scalp. Geranium works on the sebaceous (oil) glands of the scalp, regulating the secretion of sebum. This helps to balance both dry and oily scalps, resulting in smooth and silky hair.
#11. Hemorrhoids – The astringent properties of geranium can help to shrink and heal swollen tissue, and ease the pain of hemorrhoids.
#12. Inflammatory Conditions – Geranium, and geraniol in particular, has been widely studied for its anti-inflammatory properties. 2014 research indicated geraniol increased interleukin-10 production, which is an anti-inflammatory cytokine. Because inflammation is involved in many disease processes, from arthritis to hemorrhoids to cancer, geranium essential oil is very useful indeed.
#13. Insect Repellent – Bugs don’t like geranium! It is an excellent insect deterrent. Going hiking? Take your geranium essential oil along. 2013 research found that the phytochemical 10-epi-gamma-eudesmol in geranium was just as effective as DEET against ticks.
Even dust mites don’t like geranium. 2008 research found that geraniol and beta-citronellol out-performed DEET and benzyl benzoate (two common chemically-derived mite and lice deterrents, both with side effects) for controlling dust mites. The beta-citronellol component makes geranium very effective for repelling mosquitoes as well. Several research papers investigating effective botanical insecticides have explored this and other essential oils for their ability to kill mosquito larvae.
#14. Shingles – Research released in 2003 found that application of geranium oil was helpful for relieving nerve pain caused by shingles (herpes zoster). Being a good anti-viral, geranium also helps to speed the healing of shingles.
#15. Skin Health, Scars, and Regeneration – Due to its potent anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, and antioxidant properties, geranium has been used for centuries in skin tonics, lotions, moisturizers, and balms for such conditions as dermatitis, eczema, psoriasis, oily skin, and acne. It is balancing to the skin’s production of oil and superb for fading scars.
#16. Urinary Tract Infections – 2011 research examined the effect of geranium oil combined with ciprofloxacin, a commonly used drug for treatment of urinary tract infections (UTIs). Researchers found that the oil/drug combo worked synergistically to effectively kill the bacteria causing UTIs.
#17. Wound Healing – Geranium is a natural styptic − it helps to stop the flow of blood. Geranium also speeds wound healing by triggering blood clotting. This process, together with its natural antiseptic action, keeps harmful bacteria from reaching the bloodstream via open wounds and cuts.
Safety Measures/Side Effects
Pelargonium graveolens is considered a safe and natural ingredient that is repeatedly listed as non-toxic, non-irritant and generally non-sensitizing. The Cosmetics Database finds it to be 99% safe and lists data gaps as the only concern.
However, it may cause allergies and sensitivities in some people. If you’re looking for essential oils that offer the same therapeutic benefits as geranium oil does, your options include lavender oil, orange oil, lemon oil and jasmine oil. To be on the safe side, consult your physician before using any essential oils for medicinal purposes.
How to Make Geranium Oil Infusion
Geranium essential oil is extracted through steam distillation of the plant’s stems and leaves. When made from young, green leaves, geranium oil appears with a lemon scent. However, if extracted from older leaves that have changed their color, the oil will have a strong rose fragrance. While geranium oil is available in stores, it is possible to create a homemade oil infusion.
What You Need:
- Geranium leaves
- Mortar and pestle
- Carrier oil like jojoba oil
- Large jar with lid
- Small jars or bottles with lids
- Remove the leaves from a geranium plant (more leaves mean more oil produced).
- Remove pests, dirt and other debris from the leaves by washing them in cold water.
- Dry the leaves by gently patting them with a cloth or paper towel.
- Using the mortar and pestle, ground the leaves until they are completely mashed and pulpy. Leave the crushed leaves for a few hours.
- Afterward, transfer the ground leaves to the large jar. Pour some of the carrier oil — just enough to cover the leaves. Then, seal the jar and place it in a cool, dry spot. Set aside for two weeks.
- Once the two weeks are up, check the scent of the oil. You may add more ground leaves to make the scent stronger and set aside for another week. If the fragrance is too strong, just add some oil to dilute the finished product.
- To store, pour the geranium oil into the small sterilized jars or bottles through a strainer lined with a cheesecloth. This will separate the crushed leaves from the oil. Once the oil has been transferred, seal the bottles/jars and store them in a cool, dry place.
This homemade conditioner recipe is awesome, for it helps to restore the hairs natural pH, thus rehydrating the hair. The result is soft, luscious and healthy hair. Add 10 drops of geranium oil and see how it helps to condition your dry hair.
Total Time: 2 minutes Uses: 20–30
- 1 cup water
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 10 drops of essential oils
- BPA-free plastic bottles or glass bottle with dispenser
Customize Your Conditioner:
- Rosemary or sage essential oils for all types of hair
- Lemon, bergamot or tea tree essential oils for oily hair
- Lavender, sandalwood or geranium essential oils for dry hair or dandruff
- Mix ingredients together in eight-ounce spray bottle
- Shake bottle before using and then spray hair
- Leave in hair for five minutes, then rinse
Tips for Using Geranium Essential Oil
A) Massage geranium into the skin and muscles of the back, especially mid-back and just over the bottom of the rib cage (over area of the kidneys). Use an organic carrier oil like jojoba, almond, coconut, hemp, or argan to dilute if desired or if you have sensitive skin.
B) Drip 1-2 drops of oil into your hands and make a tent over your nose and mouth (avoid the eyes), breathe in deeply for a couple of minutes.
C) Using an ultrasonic cool mist diffuser, diffuse several drops of geranium into a room where you intend to sit for an hour or so.
D) Massage oil into the soles of the feet. They have the largest pores in the body and the oil will be in the bloodstream and working in just a few minutes. This method works especially well if digestion is impaired.
E) Gently massage oil into the sides of the neck, overlying the carotid arteries, diluting as described in A above if needed. Also massage into the back of the neck just under the base of the skull.
F) Geranium essential oil is generally regarded as safe for human consumption by the United States Food & Drug Administration (FDA). To take orally, put 1 drop of oil in 3-4 ounces (about 100 ml) of liquid such as almond or rice milk. It can also be combined with 1 teaspoon of honey. Avoid for children under 5 years of age.
G) Massage geranium oil into the abdomen and lower back.
H) Rub a drop of geranium on the affected area, being careful to dilute if you have sensitive skin. If using as an insect repellent, rub geranium into exposed skin.
I) Add a drop or two of geranium oil to one teaspoon of jojoba oil and pat it on topically. Use a small amount of gauze if you wish to hold it in place.
J) Add a drop or two of geranium to your favorite organic personal care products like cleanser, body wash, moisturizer, toner, shampoo, or conditioner.
Important Precautions When Using Essential Oils
If you intend to use geranium essential oil medicinally, please do your homework and work with a qualified healthcare practitioner who is well versed in essential oil usage.
Be aware that quality of essential oils varies widely. Find out whether or not your essential oil supplier uses organic growing methods, and knows how to properly distill the oils. Always buy your oils from a trusted source because if they are not organically grown or properly distilled they may be adulterated with toxic chemicals that will not help to heal you… and may indeed cause harm.
Do not apply essential oils anywhere near eyes, ears, or sensitive regions of the body.
If you have sensitive skin, be sure to dilute essential oils first. If you are unsure, do a patch test on a small area of skin just inside the elbow. You may want to dilute essential oils with an organic carrier oil such as jojoba, almond, coconut, hemp, or argan.
Be cautious when using essential oils with children and in pregnancy. Always dilute essential oils for children. Some oils need to be avoided during pregnancy. When in doubt, work with an experienced expert in essential oils.
It is not recommended to use any essential oil by itself as a sole treatment for cancer, or for any other health issues mentioned above. When used in combination with other treatments, both conventional and alternative, essential oils can be very effective in assisting the healing process.