Geranium essential oil is one of the most popular and versatile oils in aromatherapy. It has a sweet, floral, and herbaceous aroma that can uplift your mood, balance your hormones, and improve your skin and hair health. It also has powerful antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant properties that can help prevent infections, reduce inflammation, and promote healing. In this article, we will explore the benefits, uses, and history of geranium essential oil, as well as some precautions and tips on how to choose, use, and store it.
What is Geranium Essential Oil?
Geranium essential oil is derived from the leaves of Pelargonium graveolens, a plant species native to South Africa. The plant belongs to the geranium family (Geraniaceae), which includes over 200 species of flowering plants. Pelargoniums are often confused with true geraniums (Geranium spp.), which are also members of the same family but have different botanical characteristics. Pelargoniums are also known as scented geraniums, rose geraniums, or storksbills.
Pelargoniums have been cultivated for centuries for their ornamental value, as well as for their medicinal and aromatic uses. They were introduced to Europe in the 17th century by Dutch traders, who brought them from South Africa. They were then exported to other parts of the world, such as France, Algeria, Egypt, China, India, Madagascar, and Réunion. Today, geranium essential oil is mainly produced in Egypt and China, with smaller quantities coming from other African countries.
How is Geranium Essential Oil Made?
Geranium essential oil is obtained by steam distillation of the fresh or dried leaves of Pelargonium graveolens. The leaves are harvested when the plant is in full bloom, usually between May and September. The leaves are then dried or used fresh for distillation. The distillation process takes about 2 to 3 hours, and yields about 0.5% to 1% of essential oil. The oil is greenish-yellow in color and has a strong floral fragrance with herbal undertones.
What are the Main Components of Geranium Essential Oil?
Geranium essential oil is composed of over 100 chemical constituents, but the main ones are:
- Citronellol: A monoterpene alcohol that gives geranium oil its rose-like scent. It has antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, and sedative properties.
- Geraniol: Another monoterpene alcohol that contributes to the floral aroma of geranium oil. It has antibacterial, antifungal, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and analgesic properties.
- Linalool: A monoterpene alcohol that has a sweet floral scent. It has antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, anticonvulsant, antidepressant, and anxiolytic properties.
- Citronellyl formate: An ester that has a fruity-floral scent. It has antifungal, anti-inflammatory, and insect repellent properties.
- Geranyl formate: Another ester that has a fruity-floral scent. It has antifungal, anti-inflammatory, and insect repellent properties.
- 10-epi-gamma-eudesmol: A sesquiterpene alcohol that has a woody scent. It has anti-inflammatory, antiviral, antitumor, and immunomodulatory properties.
The composition of geranium essential oil may vary depending on the origin, variety, and cultivation of the plant, as well as the extraction method and conditions. Different types of geranium oil may have different aromas and therapeutic effects. For example, Bourbon geranium oil from Réunion has a higher content of citronellol and geraniol, and has a more rosy and sweet scent. Egyptian geranium oil has a higher content of linalool and 10-epi-gamma-eudesmol, and has a more herbaceous and green scent.
What are the Benefits of Geranium Essential Oil?
Geranium essential oil has a wide range of benefits for various aspects of health and wellness. Some of the main benefits are:
For Skin and Hair Health
Geranium essential oil is a great natural beauty product that can improve the appearance and condition of your skin and hair. It can help with:
- Acne: Geranium oil has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties that can help prevent and treat acne breakouts. It can also balance the sebum production of the skin, which can reduce excess oiliness or dryness. To use geranium oil for acne, you can add a few drops to your facial cleanser, toner, moisturizer, or mask, or apply it diluted with a carrier oil directly to the affected areas.
- Aging signs: Geranium oil has antioxidant and astringent properties that can help prevent and reduce the signs of aging, such as wrinkles, sagging skin, age spots, and dullness. It can also stimulate the regeneration of new skin cells, which can improve the elasticity and firmness of the skin. To use geranium oil for aging signs, you can add a few drops to your facial serum, cream, or oil, or apply it diluted with a carrier oil to your face and neck.
- Wounds: Geranium oil has antiseptic and hemostatic properties that can help prevent infection and stop bleeding in minor wounds, cuts, scrapes, burns, insect bites, and bruises. It can also promote wound healing by stimulating the formation of new tissue and reducing inflammation and scarring. To use geranium oil for wounds, you can apply it diluted with a carrier oil to the affected areas after cleaning them with water or saline solution.
- Eczema and dermatitis: Geranium oil has anti-inflammatory and soothing properties that can help relieve the symptoms of eczema and dermatitis, such as itching, redness, swelling, dryness, cracking, and flaking. It can also moisturize and nourish the skin, which can prevent further irritation and damage. To use geranium oil for eczema and dermatitis, you can add a few drops to your body lotion, cream, or oil, or apply it diluted with a carrier oil to the affected areas.
- Dandruff: Geranium oil has antifungal and antibacterial properties that can help eliminate dandruff-causing microbes from the scalp. It can also balance the sebum production of the scalp, which can prevent excess dryness or oiliness that can contribute to dandruff. To use geranium oil for dandruff, you can add a few drops to your shampoo, conditioner, or hair mask, or massage it diluted with a carrier oil into your scalp.
For Emotional and Mental Wellbeing
Geranium essential oil is a wonderful natural remedy for stress relief and mood enhancement. It can help with:
- Anxiety: Geranium oil has anxiolytic properties that can help reduce anxiety levels and induce a state of calmness and relaxation. It can also balance the hormones that regulate mood and emotion, such as serotonin and dopamine. To use geranium oil for anxiety, you can inhale it directly from the bottle or a tissue paper, diffuse it in your room or office, or add a few drops to your bath water or massage oil.
- Depression: Geranium oil has antidepressant properties that can help lift your mood and alleviate feelings of sadness, hopelessness, despair, and low self-esteem. It can also stimulate the production of endorphins, which are natural painkillers and mood boosters. To use geranium oil for depression, you can inhale it directly from the bottle or a tissue paper, diffuse it in your room or office, or add a few drops to your bath water or massage oil.
- Fatigue: Geranium oil has stimulant properties that can help increase your energy levels and mental alertness. It can also enhance your cognitive functions, such as memory, concentration, and creativity. To use geranium oil for fatigue, you can inhale it directly from the bottle or a tissue paper, diffuse it in your room or office, or add a few drops to your bath water or massage oil.
For Hormonal Balance and Reproductive Health
Geranium essential oil is a powerful natural hormone regulator that can help balance your endocrine system and improve your reproductive health. It can help with:
- Menstrual cramps: Geranium oil has antispasmodic and analgesic properties that can help relieve menstrual cramps and pain. It can also regulate the menstrual cycle and prevent irregularities, such as amenorrhea (absence of periods) or dysmenorrhea (painful periods). To use geranium oil for menstrual cramps, you can massage it diluted with a carrier oil on your lower abdomen and back, or add a few drops to a hot compress or a warm bath.
- Menopause: Geranium oil has estrogenic properties that can help balance the hormones and ease the symptoms of menopause, such as hot flashes, mood swings, insomnia, vaginal dryness, and osteoporosis. It can also improve the sexual health and libido of menopausal women. To use geranium oil for menopause, you can inhale it directly from the bottle or a tissue paper, diffuse it in your room or bedroom, or add a few drops to your bath water or massage oil.
- PMS: Geranium oil has calming and uplifting properties that can help reduce the emotional and physical discomforts of premenstrual syndrome (PMS), such as irritability, anxiety, depression, bloating, breast tenderness, and headaches. It can also enhance the mood and well-being of women during their menstrual cycle. To use geranium oil for PMS, you can inhale it directly from the bottle or a tissue paper, diffuse it in your room or office, or add a few drops to your bath water or massage oil.
For Immune System Support and Infection Prevention
Geranium essential oil is a potent natural immune booster and infection fighter that can help protect your body from various diseases and illnesses. It can help with:
- Cold and flu: Geranium oil has antiviral and expectorant properties that can help prevent and treat cold and flu symptoms, such as cough, sore throat, nasal congestion, fever, and fatigue. It can also stimulate the immune system and enhance the body’s resistance to infections. To use geranium oil for cold and flu, you can inhale it directly from the bottle or a tissue paper, diffuse it in your room or living area, or add a few drops to a steam inhalation or a warm drink.
- Urinary tract infections (UTIs): Geranium oil has antibacterial and diuretic properties that can help prevent and treat urinary tract infections (UTIs), such as cystitis (bladder infection) or urethritis (urethra infection). It can also reduce the inflammation and pain associated with UTIs. To use geranium oil for UTIs, you can massage it diluted with a carrier oil on your lower abdomen and pelvic area, or add a few drops to your bath water or a warm compress.
- Fungal infections: Geranium oil has antifungal properties that can help prevent and treat fungal infections, such as candidiasis (yeast infection), athlete’s foot, ringworm, nail fungus, and jock itch. It can also soothe the itching, burning, and irritation caused by fungal infections. To use geranium oil for fungal infections, you can apply it diluted with a carrier oil directly to the affected areas after washing them with water or vinegar solution.
How to Use Geranium Essential Oil?
Geranium essential oil can be used in various ways depending on your needs and preferences. Some of the common methods are:
Topical application is one of the most effective ways to use geranium essential oil for skin and hair health, hormonal balance, and reproductive health. You can apply geranium essential oil diluted with a carrier oil, such as coconut, olive, jojoba, or almond oil, to your skin or hair as needed. You can also add geranium essential oil to your skincare or haircare products, such as creams, lotions, serums, oils, shampoos, conditioners, or masks. The recommended dilution ratio is 2%, which means 12 drops of geranium essential oil per 1 ounce of carrier oil or product.
Aromatherapy inhalation is one of the best ways to use geranium essential oil for emotional and mental wellbeing, immune system support, and infection prevention. You can inhale geranium essential oil directly from the bottle or a tissue paper as needed. You can also diffuse geranium essential oil in your room or office using an aromatherapy diffuser or a humidifier. You can also add geranium essential oil to a steam inhalation or a warm drink for respiratory relief. The recommended amount is 3 to 5 drops of geranium essential oil per 100 ml of water.
Internal consumption is another way to use geranium essential oil for hormonal balance and reproductive health. You can ingest geranium essential oil by adding 1 to 2 drops to a glass of water or a teaspoon of honey or by taking it in capsule form. However, this method should be done with caution and under the guidance of a qualified health practitioner, as geranium essential oil may have some side effects or interactions with certain medications or conditions.
What are the Precautions and Side Effects of Geranium Essential Oil?
Geranium essential oil is generally safe and well-tolerated when used properly and in moderation. However, some precautions and side effects should be considered before using it. Some of them are:
Skin Sensitivity and Allergic Reactions
Geranium essential oil may cause skin sensitivity or allergic reactions in some people, especially those with sensitive skin or allergies to plants in the geranium family. Symptoms may include rash, itching, redness, swelling, or blisters. To avoid this, you should always do a patch test before using geranium essential oil on your skin. To do a patch test, apply a small amount of diluted geranium essential oil to a small area of your skin, such as your inner elbow or wrist, and wait for 24 hours. If no adverse reaction occurs, you can proceed to use geranium essential oil as desired. If any adverse reaction occurs, you should discontinue using geranium essential oil and seek medical attention if needed.
Drug Interactions and Contraindications
Geranium essential oil may interact with certain drugs or conditions that affect the blood pressure, blood sugar, or blood clotting. For example, geranium essential oil may lower the blood pressure and blood sugar levels, which may interfere with the effects of antihypertensive or antidiabetic drugs. Geranium essential oil may also inhibit the blood clotting process, which may increase the risk of bleeding or bruising when used with anticoagulant or antiplatelet drugs. To avoid this, you should consult your doctor before using geranium essential oil if you are taking any medication or have any medical condition that affects the blood.
Pregnancy and Breastfeeding
Geranium essential oil is not recommended for pregnant or breastfeeding women, as it may have hormonal effects that could affect the development of the fetus or the quality of the breast milk. Geranium essential oil may also stimulate uterine contractions, which could induce premature labor or miscarriage. To avoid this, you should avoid using geranium essential oil if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, unless advised otherwise by your doctor.
Where to Buy Geranium Essential Oil?
Geranium essential oil is widely available in health food stores, online shops, and aromatherapy suppliers. However, not all geranium essential oils are created equal. Some may be adulterated, diluted, or synthetic, which could compromise their quality and effectiveness. To ensure that you get a high-quality geranium essential oil that is pure, natural, and authentic, you should consider the following factors:
How to Choose a High-Quality Geranium Essential Oil?
- Origin: The origin of the plant from which the geranium essential oil is extracted can affect its aroma and therapeutic properties. Different types of geranium oils have different characteristics and benefits. For example, Bourbon geranium oil from Réunion has a more rosy and sweet scent than Egyptian geranium oil, which has a more herbaceous and green scent. You should choose a geranium essential oil that suits your preference and needs.
- Extraction method: The extraction method used to obtain the geranium essential oil can affect its quality and purity. Steam distillation is the preferred method for extracting geranium essential oil, as it preserves the natural constituents and aroma of the plant without using any solvents or chemicals. You should avoid geranium essential oils that are extracted by solvent extraction, chemical processing, or fragrance enhancement, as they may contain harmful residues or additives that could reduce their effectiveness or cause adverse reactions.
- Packaging: The packaging of the geranium essential oil can affect its shelf life and potency. Geranium essential oil should be stored in dark glass bottles that protect it from light exposure, which could degrade its quality and aroma over time. You should avoid geranium essential oils that are stored in plastic bottles or clear glass bottles that expose them to light.
- Labeling: The labeling of the geranium essential oil can provide important information about its quality and authenticity. Geranium essential oil should have a clear label that indicates its botanical name (Pelargonium graveolens), origin (country of origin), extraction method (steam distillation), part used (leaves), purity (100% pure), and expiration date (shelf life). You should avoid geranium essential oils that have vague labels that do not provide these details or that claim to be “therapeutic grade” or “aromatherapy grade”, as these terms are not regulated or standardized.
How to Store and Preserve Geranium Essential Oil?
Geranium essential oil should be stored in a cool, dry, and dark place away from heat, light, and moisture, which could deteriorate its quality and aroma over time.You can also extend the shelf life of geranium essential oil by adding a few drops of vitamin E oil or jojoba oil to it, which can act as natural preservatives and antioxidants. Geranium essential oil has a shelf life of about 2 to 3 years, but you should always check the expiration date on the label and discard it if it smells off or changes color or consistency.
Geranium essential oil is a natural treasure that can enhance your physical and emotional well-being. From skincare to stress relief and hormonal balance, its versatility makes it a valuable addition to your holistic health toolkit. Embrace the power of geranium essential oil and experience the wonders it can bring to your life.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Can I ingest geranium essential oil?
It’s not recommended to ingest geranium oil without the guidance of a qualified aromatherapist or healthcare professional.
2. Is geranium essential oil safe for pets?
Geranium oil can be toxic to pets, so it’s best to keep it out of their reach and avoid diffusing it in areas where pets are present.
3. How does geranium oil help with stress relief?
Geranium oil’s pleasant aroma can help calm the mind and reduce stress by promoting relaxation and a sense of well-being.
4. Can geranium essential oil be used during pregnancy?
Pregnant women should consult with their healthcare provider before using geranium essential oil, especially during the first trimester.
5. Where can I purchase high-quality geranium essential oil?
You can find geranium essential oil from reputable brands at health food stores, online retailers, and specialty aromatherapy shops. Ensure that you purchase 100% pure and therapeutic-grade oil for the best results.