Geranium Essential Oil
The rose-scented geranium (Pelargonium graveolens) is a fragrant plant that is valued for use in cosmetics and perfumes and is harvested to produce geranium essential oil.2,6
To create the geranium oil, the flower, stalk, and leaves of the plant are gathered when in bloom, dried, and ground into powder. Then, the green-tinted essential oil is extracted through hydro distillation or steam distillation.2,6
Historically, geranium has been used to treat many ailments such as skin problems, ulcers, and colic. Today, its oil is used widely in aromatherapy and for a variety of therapeutic purposes such as helping reduce menopause symptoms and anxiety during labor.6
Geranium Essential Oil Uses
Geranium essential oil has been noted for its harmonizing aroma and described as having invigorating qualities. It is commonly used in aromatherapy, perfume, as a household cleaner, and for skincare.
Geranium essential oil has been reported to have a pleasing, light scent and may promote relaxation when used in aromatherapy.1 Put 3 drops of the oil into a diffuser filled with water and let the aroma fill the room.
The floral, yet spicy fragrance of geranium essential oil is excellent for use in perfume. Add 3 drops geranium essential oil to 1 Tsp. of carrier oil, such as jojoba, and apply directly to the skin. Geranium oil may also be mixed with other essential oils such as basil, bergamot, or cedarwood to form more complex scents.
With proven anti-bacterial properties, geranium essential oil may be useful as a household cleaner. Mix 10 drops of geranium essential oil with 1 cup of water in a spray bottle. Shake the bottle to mix the contents prior to use. Spray the blend onto household surfaces and wipe clean.
Geranium oil is also useful as a natural skin care product, and may help battle problems such as acne, oily skin, eczema, and dermatitis.3
For an all-over moisturizer, add 3-4 drops of geranium essential oil to 1 Tbsp. of carrier oil. Gently massage onto your face and body.
Rose Geranium Essential Oil Benefits
Geranium essential oil has several therapeutic qualities, particularly for women. It has been reported to have antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and calming properties that may help reduce labor-related anxiety, menstrual pain or menopause symptoms.
In a 2013 study, researchers studied the effect of geranium oil on inflammation in an animal model.3
The essential oil was given orally to the subjects in three different doses: 100 mg/kg, 200 mg/kg, and 400 mg/kg. Paw edema (inflammation) was induced in the subjects, which is a standard method for measuring the efficacy of anti-inflammatory agents.3
In subjects tested, paw edema was reduced by 30%, 38%, and 73% in relation to the increasing doses of essential oil. Additionally, the effects of the 100 mg/kg dose were compared to a common anti-inflammatory drug, diclofenac, and found to have similar benefits for inflammation.3
Note: This study was conducted on animal subjects and further studies are required before these findings can be applied to humans. Essential oils may be harmful when ingested and should not be taken internally unless you are under the supervision of a healthcare professional.
A study published in the Iranian Journal of Microbiology tested geranium essential oil’s effect on a variety of bacteria. The bacteria tested were Listeria monocytogenes, Salmonella enteritidis, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Escherichia coli, Staphylococcus aureus, and Bacillus subtilis.2
The essential oil was applied directly to each bacterium, incubated, and then dried for 24 hours. When used at 100%, geranium oil effectively inhibited the growth of all bacteria except L. monocytogenes.2
Helps Reduce Menstrual Pain
A study published in the journal of Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine investigated the effects of an aromatherapy massage on menstrual pain. As a common symptom, menstrual pain effects an estimated 25-97% of women. Researchers used a blend of essential oils including geranium, clary sage, marjoram, cinnamon, and ginger.7
The control group was given acetaminophen (the active ingredient in Tylenol) for menstrual pain, and the experimental group was given an abdominal massage using the essential oil blend diluted in almond carrier oil.7
Pain was measured for both groups at baseline and 24 hours after treatment. The results of the study showed that pain reduction was far greater in the group using essential oil massage compared to the patients who received acetaminophen.7
Relieve Labor Anxiety
A recent study investigated the effects of geranium essential oil on women’s anxiety during labor. All 100 participants in this study had full term pregnancies, were 18-35 years of age, and had not previously given birth.1
During labor, 2 drops of rose geranium oil were applied to a piece of fabric, which was then fastened to the patient’s collar. Pulse, blood pressure, and breathing rate were measured before the treatment and 20 minutes after the treatment.1
Analysis showed that the total anxiety of the test group decreased by 4.02 points after treatment, while the control group’s anxiety only decreased by 1.14 points. Additionally, mothers experienced a significant drop in blood pressure during labor.1 These results point to geranium essential oil’s calming properties.
Reduce Menopause Symptoms
Geranium essential oil may also aid in the reduction of menopause symptoms. A 2007 study examined the effects of aromatherapy massage with geranium essential oil and a mixture of other essential oils on menopause symptoms.4
For 8 weeks, women between the ages of 45 and 54 received a weekly 30-minute massage with lavender, geranium, rose, and jasmine essential oils. These oils were mixed with almond and evening primrose carrier oils. They were massaged into the abdominals, back, and arms by a registered massage therapist.4
In women who received weekly massages, scores for depression, pain, and hot flushes decreased. In contrast, most menopause symptoms increased in the control group.4
Side Effects of Geranium Essential Oil
Geranium essential oil is considered generally safe for topical use and aromatherapy purposes.5 Ingesting geranium essential oil can be harmful, and it should not be consumed unless under the direct supervision of a healthcare practitioner. Prior to the use on children, pregnant or breastfeeding women, consult a health care professional.
Where to Buy Geranium Essential Oil
Previously, high quality essential oils could only be bought at specialty health stores, or through expensive multi-level marketing companies. Now, due to advancements in technology, extremely high grade essential oils can be purchased over the internet at very reasonable prices.
Scientific Research Referenced in this Article
- Fakari, F. R., Tabatabaeichehr, M., Kamali, H., Fakari, F. R., & Naseri, M. (2015). Effect of Inhalation of Aroma of Geranium Essence on Anxiety and Physiological Parameters during First Stage of Labor in Nulliparous Women: a Randomized Clinical Trial. Journal of Caring Sciences,4(2), 135-141. doi:10.15171/jcs.2015.014
- Ghannadi, A., Bagherinejad, M., Abedi, D., Jalali, M., Absalan, B., & Sadeghi, N. (2012). Antibacterial activity and composition of essential oils from Pelargonium graveolens L’Her and Vitex agnus-castus L. Iranian Journal of Microbiology,4(4), 171-176. Retrieved March 14, 2017, from http://pubmedcentralcanada.ca/pmcc/articles/PMC3507305/
- Boukhatem, M. N., Kameli, A., Ferhat, M. A., Saidi, F., & Mekarnia, M. (2013). Rose geranium essential oil as a source of new and safe anti-inflammatory drugs. Libyan Journal of Medicine,8(1), 22520. doi:10.3402/ljm.v8i0.22520
- Hur, M., Yang, Y. S., & Lee, M. S. (2008). Aromatherapy Massage Affects Menopausal Symptoms in Korean Climacteric Women: A Pilot-Controlled Clinical Trial. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine,5(3), 325-328. doi:10.1093/ecam/nem027
- U.S Food and Drug Administration. (2016, April 16). CFR – Code of Federal Regulations Title 21. Retrieved March 14, 2017, from https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/cdrh/cfdocs/cfcfr/CFRSearch.cfm?fr=182.20
- Shawl, A., Kumar, T., Chishti, N., & Shabir, S. (2006). Cultivation of Rose Scented Geranium (Pelargonium sp.) as a Cash Crop in Kashmir Valley. Asian Journal of Plant Sciences, 5(4), 673-675. doi:10.3923/ajps.2006.673.675
- Hur, M., Lee, M. S., Seong, K., & Lee, M. (2012). Aromatherapy Massage on the Abdomen for Alleviating Menstrual Pain in High School Girls: A Preliminary Controlled Clinical Study. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine,1-3. doi:10.1155/2012/187163
- The Editors of Encyclopædia Britannica (2009, March 07). Geranium. Retrieved March 14, 2017, from https://www.britannica.com/plant/geranium-plant-genus-Geranium – View reference