Geranium Oil: Benefits, Uses, Properties, and Side Effects
From treating acne, reducing skin inflammation to balancing your hormones and uplifting your mood, the geranium oil benefits are numerous. Thanks to its wide range of medicinal properties. It is a well known astringent, cicatrizant, hemostatic, diuretic, cytophylactic, styptic, deodorant, vermifuge, and tonic.
Let’s understand how therapeutic is geranium essential oil and how it can benefit your body.
What Is Geranium Oil?
Geranium oil is obtained from the leaves, flowers, and stems of the geranium plant. It is a nonirritant, non-sensitizing, and nontoxic essential oil whose use dates back to the ancient Egyptians times.
The geranium essential oil is widely used in aromatherapy and has considerable health benefits. The oil is highly-valued for its properties and used is often for holistic treatments – patients that are suffering from depression and stress to improve mental health and wellness. (1, 2)
The oil helps to soothe their minds and keep them relaxed. It is also used in the preparation of incense sticks that are to be burnt in temples, churches, and other holistic places.
About the plant:
Geranium is a member of the family Germinaceae. It is a biannual and perennial plant, but in general terms, it is known as cranesbills.
It is often found in the temperate region, tropical mountains, and the eastern parts of the Mediterranean regions. (3)
The plant grows to a height of 3 – 3.5 feet. The leaves are long, broadly circular, palmately with the cleft. The flowers bloom in white, pink, purple, blue, and red with five petals.
The plant can propagate in summers by cutting, through seeds and by dividing them into autumn and spring seasons.
The larvae of Lepidoptera feed on to the leaves of the geranium plant. Few species of geranium have a very different and distinctive method of dispersion of seeds. The plant has a beak-like column, which ripens and opens during spring whereas the seeds are dispersed to some distance. The capsules of fruits have five cells, each with one seed in it.
The common names of geranium are:
- Old fashion rose geranium
- Rose geranium
- Rose scent geranium
- Sweet-scented geranium
Scientific Name Of Geranium Oil
The botanical name of geranium is Pelargonium graveolens.
History Of Geranium Oil
Geranium is native to South Africa. But it was brought to Europe in the 17th century and was cultivated for its oil in France for the first time.
This was also the first time when cultivation of geranium was commercialized. Gradually, the plant’s popularity reached to the colony garden of France and Africa.
Now, it is commercially grown in Spain, Italy, Algeria, Egypt, Morocco, Russia, Madagascar, China, and India. Even in Kenya, geranium is cultivated commercially by preparing its hybrid. (4)
The commercial production of geranium started in China and Egypt after 1970.
Color, Consistency, and Smell Of Geranium Oil
- The color of geranium oil is colorless or pale yellow (the color variations depend on the age and species of the plant).
- The consistency of geranium oil is thin and light.
- The smell of geranium oil is strong, much similar to rose.
Properties Of Geranium Essential Oil
- Anti-wrinkle – Gets rid of wrinkles and tightens the skin
- Antispasmodic – Relaxes muscular spasms
- Anti-inflammatory – Reduces swelling
- Antifungal – Fights against fungal infections
- Cardioprotective – Protects cardiac arrest
- Diuretic – Increases urination
- Antidepressant – Removes depression
- Deodorant – Removes bad odor
- Insect repellent – Kills insects
- Neuro-protective – Protects neural damage
- Antiseptic – Heals sepsis
- Antibiotic – Boosts immunity
- Analgesic – Reduces the sensation of pain
- Antipyretic – Reduces fever
- Candid – Removes the infection of Candida albicans
- Anti-hemorrhagic – Prevents the veins from bursting
- Antiallergic – Prevents allergies
- Anticancerous – Effective against cancerous cells
- Antioxidant – Reduces free radical generation
- Emmenagogue – Prevents menopausal problems
Chemical Compounds In Geranium Oil
The essential compounds in geranium oil include geraniol, citronellol, menthone, linalool, caryophelyn oxidase, geranyl formate, iso-methanone, geranyl tiglate, sabinene, cis-rose oxidase, and 2 phenyl ethyl tiglate.
Some other components from different species or from the same species of different origin include guaia-6,9 diene, isomenthone and citronellyl formate in oil from reunion island.
From the Chinese geranium type, the compounds citronellyl formate and citronellol are present in high amounts whereas geraniol is present in low amounts.
The oil of geranium from Africa has been found with citronellol and geraniol abundantly with a few traces of isomenthone, citronellyl formate, and 10-epi gamma-eudesmol.
A specific type of geranium oil is known as Bourbon but it differs from African type and has sesquiterpene guaia 6,9 diene in abundance.
The geranium oil from South Africa has a good amount of isomenthone, myrcene, spathulenol and δ-cadinene in it.
Health Benefits Of Geranium Oil
Though geranium oil benefits are abundant, the most prominent ones include:
1. Treats candida infections
Geranium essential oil works as an effective candid. It prevents the infections of Candida albicans, which is the most common infection in the areas of mucous linings such as vagina, intestine, and mouth. It can also affect the skin.
A study performed on the mice demonstrated that geranium essential oil was highly effective on them against candida infections. When the mice received geranium oil intra-vaginally, the candida infection was found decreasing constitutively. The candid property of geranium oil is due to its compound – geraniol. (9)
2. Reduces aging signs
One of the best health benefits of geranium oil is that it is a potent anti-aging drug, which works on wrinkles and other aging signs, decreasing their appearance naturally when used regularly.
When a few drops of geranium essential oil is massaged twice a day for a few weeks, it helps in decreasing the wrinkles and further, tones the skin. (10)
3. A potent antibacterial agent
Did you know that geranium essential oil is a well-known antibacterial agent and can protect you from 24 types of infections?
Yes, that’s true.
It fights different external infections without interfering with your immune system. When mixed and applied with a carrier oil like coconut oil on the affected area, it can heal the wounds and psoriasis easily.
It is also great for treating athlete’s foot (a fungal disease). To cure it, wash your foot twice daily with warm water mixture containing sea salt and a few drops of geranium oil. (11)
4. Cures dementia & Alzheimer’s
Geranium oil also treats problems like Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. It is a well-known anti neuroinflammatory agent. Alzheimer’s is a progressive disease, which destroys one’s memory and other vital mental functions. It occurs when microglia in the brain are activated and start releasing pro-inflammatory factors subsequently including NO (nitric oxide).
However, geranium prevents symptoms and disease progression by reducing neuro-inflammation. It also has the capacity to control neural pain. (12)
5. Prevents respiratory tract infections
Geranium oil helps in treating respiratory diseases such as asthma, sinus, and acute rhinosinusitis. Several studies have reported the use of geranium essential oil and its extracts (in the form of tablets) effective against the common cold and sinus (prolonged cold can cause sinus or could be due to increase in the size of nose bone).
It can also remove the symptoms of acute bronchitis. This is mainly due to the presence of the compound geraniol in it. It increases the production of interleukin-10, an anti-inflammatory that is found helpful in reducing the inflammation. (13)
6. Works as an insect & bug repellent
Geranium oil is found to be a potent insecticide and bug repellent. Its phytochemical – 10 epi-gamma-eudesmol – a key compound in the geranium essential oil is found effective against ticks and is as effective as DEET. (14)
The compounds geraniol & beta citronellal is also found effective against mites. Beta-citronella also works against mosquitoes and is an effective bio-pesticide.
7. Prevents hemorrhage
Geranium oil is an anti-hemorrhagic agent, which is found helpful in the treatment of hemorrhage (a condition where the blood is released from broken blood vessels, either internally or externally) when mixed with sesame and rose geranium. (15, 16)
8. Sublimates allergies
Geranium essential oil is an anti-allergic and can neutralize several kinds of allergies. It triggers allergic reactions, inflammation, and even autoimmune conditions.
The compound geraniol in geranium essential oil inhibits TNF (tumor necrosis factor) and cytokine. (17)
It also regulates the immune cells. The oil can be easily absorbed by the skin when massaged on back and sole. The cytokine is a cell signaling protein that keeps the disease from progressing. (18)
9. A great anti-cancerous drug
Geranium oil is a potent antioxidant as well as an anti-cancerous drug. It helps in suppressing tumorigenesis. The compound geraniol is found useful as an anti-proliferative agent.
When geraniol is combined with the chemotherapy drug – 5-fluorouracil, the rate of the drug activation is doubled.
A 2004 study reported a 53% reduction in the tumor size when geraniol and 5-fluorouracil were combined for the treatment. (19)
It is also found useful in patients with breast cancer, especially while undergoing chemotherapy or there is delayed or slowed release of leukocytes.
The compound citronellol prevents the formation of a tumor. When citronellol is combined with cabazitaxel, it can fight against prostate cancer. This combination improves drug to be accumulated on the site of tumorigenesis and reduces the formation of tumor cells.
10. Treats Herpes simplex
Geranium essential oil is found useful in the treatment of Herpes. It is a viral disease that causes intense pain and weakens in the nervous system. Boils appear on the back, chest, and other sensitive parts.
What Blends With Geranium Oil?
The geranium essential oil blends the best with: (22)
- Angelica oil
- Lavandin oil
- Basil oil
- Bergamot oil
- Carrot seed oil
- Cedarwood oil
- Clary sage oil
- Citronella oil
- Neroli oil
- Grapefruit oil
- Lime oil
- Lemon oil
- Orange (sweet) oil
- Jasmine oil
- Lavender oil
- Jojoba oil
- Almond oil
- Coconut oil
- Argan oil
- Rosemary oil
How To Use Geranium Oil?
- The geranium essential oil is a well-known medicinal herb and can be used in a defined manner for best results. It can be used on the skin and is most often recommended for massage, especially at your back muscles, spinal cord, and the bottom of the rib cage.
- Individuals with soft and sensitive skin can blend geranium oil with jojoba oil, argan oil, coconut oil, and almond oil.
- You can inhale its aroma for a few minutes but not too long.
- Applying the oil on the eyes or anywhere around the eyes must be avoided. The oil can also be used as a room freshener. You can diffuse a few drops of it in the room and keep your environment smelling fresh and aromatic.
- Individuals with digestion issues can use the oil by massaging it on the soles of feet. When applied, the oil is absorbed through the skin pores and works on your digestive glands.
- The oil can be gently massaged on the neck or in the base of the skull.
- The oil of geranium can also be taken orally. Just one or two drops of geranium oil when taken orally or along with almond or rice milk is considered to be safe.
- It can be even gently massaged on the lower back and abdomen to get rid of backache.
- To use the geranium as an insect repellent, it must be applied to the exposed area. But neonatal and toddlers must be avoided. It can also be added with other carrier oil and used as cosmetics.
Side Effects Of Geranium Oil
- Geranium essential can cause skin irritation, rashes, and burning sensation in a few people with sensitive skin.
- It can also cause eye irritation.
- The oil must be taken in small amounts orally. Prolonged intake should be avoided.
- The oil also influences hormonal secretion. It should be avoided during pregnancy or while lactating.
- Avoid using it on infants and toddlers, as it causes skin irritation in babies. The oil should be diluted before use.
- People on medication must avoid the use of geranium oil or should consult a physician before using it in order to prevent drug interaction.