Geranium essential oil has many benefits and a very few drawbacks. Due to its many uses, we recommend all of our divas keep this oil on hand. We’re going to discuss what geranium essential oil is used for and how to use it, but first a little botany and history lesson to get you started.
Though geranium essential oil comes from the plant family Geraniacae and was originally classed with the genus Geranium, that all changed in 1789 when geranium became one genus and Pelargonium a second. Geranium essential oil comes from the genus Pelargonium and mostly from P. graveolens. Because of this, P. graveolens will be the focus of this article.
P. graveolens originated in South Africa, but is also grown in Reunion, Madagascar, Morocco and Egypt. It grows two to three feet high and, as you have probably already guessed, likes it warm (zones 10a – 11a). In colder climates, P. graveolens may be grown as a houseplant. It produces aromatic pink blossoms which have a rose-like scent thus the name rose geranium.
History of geranium essential oil
The use of geranium oils dates back to early Egypt. During the 17th century it was introduced to Europe. Today it is used throughout the world with about 10 species used in essential oils and of those P. graveolens is the primary source. The most prized geranium essential oil comes from Reunion (Bourbon-type).
Active Ingredients in geranium essential oil
Chemically speaking Bourbon-type geranium essential oil is composed primarily of citronellol, Geraniol, and their esters. If you’re a science freak like me, you might want to read extensive details by going to www.crcnetbase.com/doi/pdf/10.1201/9780203216538.ch17 .
Suffice it to say here that the actual percentages of the various chemicals, color, and aroma found in geranium oil depends on a number of factors including, but not limited to, when it was harvested (time of day and month), where it was harvested, how it was harvested and the extraction method. Keep in mind there are a variety of adulterated forms of geranium essential oil out there, so be sure and buy from a reputable dealer.
How geranium essential oil is made
The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) defines Geranium oil as an oil steam distilled from the fresh or slightly withered leaves of the P. graveolens, P. roseum and other hybrids. The color is amber-yellow to greenish-yellow and the odor is rose-like with mint overtones.
About the geranium essential oil
You might also be interested in knowing that P. cultivars also are produced as concretes (a mixture of oil soluble plant material, resins and waxes) and absolutes (oily mixture created after alcohol has been removed from the concrete) mostly in Egypt. These are primarily used by the perfume industry. The concrete is dark green to a brownish-green and has the odor of “foliage.” The absolute is greenish color with a leafy earthy odor.
The terpenes (chemical in the oil) can be removed from Geranium oil and absolutes by vacuum distillation. When this is done, the Geranium oil and absolute is used in foods and cosmetics.
Uses of geranium essential oil
Studies have shown that Geranium essential oil has an affect on the adrenal cortex and that’s most likely the reason why it’s useful in treating:
- Menopausal symptoms
- Hormone imbalances
- Energy booster
- Soothes breast pain
- Wounds including burns
- Works as an insect repellant
- Antifungal including Candida albicans
- Balances skin whether oily or dry
- Treats ringworm
- Treats head lice
- Shingles pain
How to use Geranium essential oil
The oil can be used in a diffuser, blended in a massage oil, cream or lotion. It can also be added to bathwater (particularly good at relieving PMS). Watch for great recipes coming very soon.
How not to use Geranium essential oil
- Do not ingest this oil unless you are under the supervision of a trained professional. There are some elements in the oil such as terpenes which may be toxic if ingested.
- Do not use Geranium essential oil without first doing a patch test. Most people do not have a reaction to this absolutely awesome oil, but a few do. We just want to be sure none of the divas that come to SpaFromScratch are among them.
- Because Geranium essential oil affects your adrenal cortex, which has an effect on the way your body functions, check with your medical practitioner if you are pregnant or nursing.
This is such amazing oil that it should inhabit the shelf of all goddesses. It’s a little expensive to purchase good quality Geranium essential oil, but you’re worth it. Besides it has a shelf life of at least a year. That gives you plenty of time to reap its benefits.
Now go have fun and relax.