Geranium Oil comes from pelargonium plants which are actually not geraniums, although they are both from the Geraniaceae family. Pelargoniums were all originally called geraniums by mistake when they were first brought to Europe due to their similarity to the geranium plants, and thus they have been referred to as geraniums ever since, although they were officially separated into two different genus in 1789. The name is derived from the Greek word geranos, which translates to crane, as the flowers reminded the Ancient Greeks of a Crane’s beak. Geranium oil is sweet and floral, reminiscent of the rose, although with a more citrusy and green aroma, and is often used as a replacement for the more expensive rose oil. The plant is said to symbolise friendship, ingenuity, gentility, meetings, love, and also melancholy and sadness. It has a long tradition as being a funeral flower, in addition to a wedding flower. Incidentally in Victorian times it was also the symbol of stupidity and foolishness. Nowadays the plant is very popular as a summer plant in hanging baskets, containers and window boxes and is regarded as a flower of happiness, good luck and positivity. The geranium is also nicknamed “The flower of consistency”.
Geranium/Pelargonium Origin & Characteristics
Originating from Africa, the pelargonium is now found all over the world and has over 700 cultivated species, although not all are scented, and just a few of them produce enough oil to be viable for oil extraction. The basis of our oil is Pelargonium graveolens or Pelargonium asperum, perennial bushes, growing up to 1 meter tall. The scented geranium releases its fragrance when the leaves are touched, and it is mostly the green part of the plant, especially the leaves, which are used for the oil, which must be cut before the flowers open. Oil is extracted by way of the steam distillation method. It takes approximately 300-500 kg to obtain just 1 kg of oil. The oil has been used by the Egyptians since ancient times to promote a beautiful and radiant skin. The Hottentots and Zulus of South Africa had many medicinal usages for the plant, and in 1897 a traditional healer successfully treated an English man of tuberculosis with it. The remedy was taken to England, known as “Stevens’ Consumption Cure”, and was used to cure a further 800 patients. Many centuries ago, and even remaining within some cultures today, the plant was predominately used to ward off negatively and was placed around the house to protect against evil spirits. It has a long history of being used to balance the hormones and improve the mood as well as to alleviate anxiety and fatigue, and was also commonly used as an insecticide. The main chemical constituents of geranium oil include eugenol, geranic, citronellol, geraniol, linalool, citronellyl formate, citral, myrtenol, terpineol, methone and sabinene. There is scientific evidence to suggest that the oil is beneficial for a number of conditions and ailments.
Geranium Oil & Benefits
Geranium oil has a multitude of uses and benefits, being an analgesic, sedative, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antibacterial, antifungal, anti-microbial, antiseptic, expectorant, decongestant, cicatrizant, antispasmodic, insect repellent, deodorant, astringent, anti-anxiety, anti-depressant, relaxant and balancing. Although known to be anti-allergenic, non-toxic and non-sensitising, as an essential oil it should not be applied directly to the skin, but diluted in a carrier oil, such as jojoba, coconut, almond or olive.
Geranium Oil for the Skin
Regardless of skin type, geranium oil can assist to balance hormones and the pH level of the skin, and can help treat ailments such as eczema, dermatitis, psoriasis, excessive oil and acne. Research in 2013, indicated that geranium oil to be effective in preventing and treating inflammatory skin conditions. Geranium oil can effectively regulate sebum production, and therefore the oil and moisture levels of the epidermis, rebalancing the skin, adding moisture where needed and eliminating oil where required, and leaving it feeling rejuvenated. Its anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and antiseptic properties make it a superb ally to fight acne, purifying and soothing the skin, and renewing the scarred tissue. Geranium oil is an all round winner with ageing skin, it’s a powerful astringent which will tighten the epidermis to diminish the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, and tauten sagging skin. It’s also an antioxidant to reduce skin ageing. Additionally it has potent cell regeneration properties, increases collagen production, enhances elasticity, reviving the skin tone, and maintaining softness and smoothness, to ensure a more youthful appearance.
Everyday use – add a few drops to your usual moisturiser.
With dermatitis or acne – add 3 drops of Geranium oil to 1 teaspoon of coconut or jojoba carrier oil, and massage into the affected area twice a day.
For ageing skin – apply a serum of 5 drops of Geranium oil mixed with 1 tablespoon of coconut or jojoba carrier oil twice a week.
For a facial – to brighten the skin, open the pores and extract impurities – add a couple of drops to a bowl of hot water and gently steam the face.
Geranium Oil for Dark Spots and Under Eye Circles
Geranium oil helps to distribute melanin evenly, thereby helping to balance out dark spots and pigmentation. It is also effective to reduce dark circles under the eyes. A facial steam can further help to boost circulation and remove dark circles.
Mix three drops of geranium oil with a tablespoon of a carrier oil and gently pat on the dark circle under the eye taking care not to get any oil into the actual eye, or massage into the pigmented area. For a facial steam, add a couple of drops of oil to a bowl of hot water and gently steam the face.
Geranium Oil for Massage/Pain Relief
When mixed with a carrier oil and applied as a massage, geranium oil is known to ease puffiness and excess fluid, and tighten the skin. It can improve muscle tone by encouraging the muscles to contract. Geranium oil can also help to alleviate soreness, muscle aches and cramps, and nerve pain, and can significantly reduce the nerve pain following a bout of shingles. Furthermore it can reduce inflammation and associated pain with conditions such as arthritis, or following injury. Research has shown that “geranium oil relieves pain in minutes and is well tolerated.” Another study in 2013 supported that geranium oil can reduce inflammation. It has also been shown that adding the oil to a bath can help with leg and foot swelling due to an oedema. Whether through massage or a bath the wonderful aroma will allow both the body and mind to relax simultaneously.
Add three drops of the oil to a bath of hot water, sit back and relax. Mix three drops of geranium oil with a tablespoon of a carrier oil and gently massage into the skin, concentrating on the painful areas.
Geranium Oil for Scars, Stretch Marks, Varicose Veins & Cellulite
The cicatrizant property of geranium oil is known to accelerate the healing and fading of scars, blemishes and stretch marks. It has regenerative properties to help boost collagen and elastin and cell renewal, and astringent properties to tone the skin, thereby helping to strengthen the skin and reduce the appearance of scars and blemishes. Traditionally used in Libya to strengthen ageing veins, it is also a traditional cure for varicose veins in many cultures, with its anti-inflammatory and toning properties. Additionally it can help with the pain of any swelling. With its ability to remove excess fluid, puffiness and dead skin cells, whilst improving the skin tone and firmness, plus promoting cell regeneration, geranium oil is effective at reducing the appearance of cellulite by firming the skin and ensuring that the fat cells beneath it are not so visible.
Mix five drops of geranium oil with a tablespoon of carrier oil and gently massage into the affected area.
Geranium Oil for Hair
Healthy hair requires a healthy scalp, and for generations geranium oil has been used to promote hair growth by restoring the pH balance of the scalp, regulating sebum production, and thus eliminating either dryness or excess oil. Nourishing the scalp with this oil will result in softer, stronger and healthier hair.
Mix three drops of geranium oil with a tablespoon of carrier oil and gently massage onto the scalp before rinsing with a suitable shampoo. Alternatively add a couple of drops to your regular shampoo and conditioner.
Geranium Oil for Respiratory Tract
Extracts within geranium oil have antiviral, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, decongestant and expectorant properties and can help to relieve and treat the symptoms of respiratory diseases, including the common cold, flu, sinusitis and bronchitis. It was confirmed as an effective treatment for both adults and children by a scientific review in 2013.
Add a couple of drops to a diffuser for inhalation, once or twice a day. For full effect, add a drop to a teaspoon of carrier oil and use it as a topical application on the throat and under the nostrils.
Geranium Oil for Feet
With its antiviral, antibacterial, antiseptic and deodorising properties, geranium oil is excellent for use on the feet. Dry, hard and damaged skin is moisturised. Athlete’s Foot, fungal infections of the nails, plus cuts and abrasions are soothed and treated, and odour is neutralised.
Add a few drops to a bowl of warm water and soak your feet. A couple of drops can also be added to a carrier oil and massaged into the soles, nails and other affected areas. For fungal infections it is advised to treat twice a day for best results.
Geranium Oil & Aromatherapy
With its soft flowery aroma, geranium oil uplifts the heart and soul, inspires and energises, offering a sense of positivity, restoring confidence and helping with mental focus. It eases depression, anxiety, anger, confusion, mood swings, irritability, sadness and helps to overcome overwhelming emotions. It is often recommended for those suffering from grief, emotional trauma, mental fatigue and a feeling of hopelessness, in addition to those experiencing general fatigue and convalescing. Overall it promotes a general sense of relaxation and well-being and offers relief to those suffering from sleeping disorders.
Geranium Oil for Women
Sometimes known as “women’s oil”, geranium oil is very beneficial for women suffering from symptoms of the menopause and PMS. A study regarding women experiencing the menopause found that inhaling the aroma may help to stimulate the secretion of salivary estrogen, therefore helping to balance the hormones and eliminating symptoms associated with reduced estrogen, such as mood swings, depression, sleeping disorders, hot flashes and pain. A further study on the impact of a weekly massage with the oil to the abdomen, arms and back of menopausal women, over a period of eight weeks, confirmed they reported improvement in the symptoms. With its ability to regulate hormone levels, geranium oil is also very useful to alleviate the symptoms of PMS, improving depression and anger and restoring mental and metabolic balance, promoting blood circulation, relieving cramps and reducing bloating. Studies regarding geranium oil for the symptoms of PMS by inhalation and massage have been very encouraging.
Add one drop to a napkin for inhalation for immediate relief. Add a couple of drops to a diffuser for inhalation. Add a couple of drops to a carrier oil and gently massage into the abdomen, arms and back, or add to pulse points. Add a couple of drops to a warm bath to relax both body and mind.
Geranium Oil for Anxiety and Depression
The pleasant aroma of geranium oil immediately enhances the mood and balances the mind and emotions, improving depression and anxiety, clarifying mental focus, and promoting confidence. It is a proven anxiolytic and antidepressant and is known to affect serotonin and influence brain chemistry. Geranium oil offers a sense of positivity, is extremely uplifting, diminishes feelings of sadness and anger, and helps to manage overwhelming emotions, which is why it is recommended for recovery from trauma and grief. Research has shown that the aroma of geranium oil can reduce anxiety in pregnant women during labour, and that an aromatherapy massage can reduce depression during the menopause. It can also help to prevent and relieve postnatal depression.
Add one drop to a napkin for inhalation for immediate stress relief. Add a couple of drops to a diffuser for inhalation. Add a couple of drops to a carrier oil and apply to the wrists, inside of elbows and throat to take advantage of its therapeutic properties throughout the day. Add a couple of drops to a warm bath to relax both body and mind.
If you are feeling particularly exhausted, perhaps you need to rush off straight after finishing work, or need a pick-me-up before work, or are simply feeling mentally fatigued, but still have more study or work to complete, then geranium oil can help. Mentally uplifting and increasing circulation, it can give your energy levels a much needed boost, and is also known to improve cognitive function.
Simply add 5 drops of oil to a carrier and gently massage into the sinus area, temples, back of the neck, back of the hands, and in a clockwise motion into the celiac/solar plexus (located in the area of the abdomen, above the belly button where the diaphragm rests), then rest quietly for five minutes to feel totally refreshed with a renewed sense of energy. Add a few drops to a diffuser in the room where you need to continue to work or study.
Geranium Oil for Sleep
Depression, stress and anxiety usually go hand in hand with sleeping disorders. But are you aware that the part of the brain which manages our sleep also controls our sense of smell? The sweet floral fragrance of geranium oil is well known for its calming, anxiolytic and antidepressant properties, and the aroma can help to enhance a good night’s sleep by allowing you to relax and fall asleep easier and sleep more soundly.
Add a few drops to your pillow or sheets.
Geranium Oil as an Insect Repellent and for Bite Relief
Geranium oil is known to naturally repel mosquitoes and other insects, and can be easily made into a protective, chemical-free spray. Furthermore, it can help to reduce inflammation, itchiness and pain from insect bites, and prevent them from becoming infected.
To make an insect repellent spray, simply add a few drops to a spray bottle of water. Add a couple of drops of oil to a carrier oil and massage all over the body.
At night add a few drops to a piece of cotton wool or a tissue and place next to your bed to deter unwanted visitors. For bites add 3 drops to a teaspoon of a carrier oil and apply to the affected area as often as required.