Geranium Monograph

Message from Sal:
‘I just love geranium. It has always been considered a very important essential oil in aromatherapy. However, many of the things that we have been told about geranium may not be true. Please read my geranium monograph to learn why it is important as I have always taught in aromatherapy classes to know your botany!

In my geranium monograph you will also learn why geranium oil is one of the most deeply nurturing and calming essential oils in aromatherapy.

Please enjoy learning about geranium, and don’t forget to enter the essential oil blend of the month competition.’ 

Geranium essential oil monograph

Emotionally deeply nurturing, stabilizing and calming with its deep rosy fragrance, geranium helps us achieve a more objective and less reactive or impulsive relationship to our feelings and emotions. In so doing, it has the ability to expose us to greater intimacy and vulnerability. Geranium’s ultimate gift to our feeling life lies in the potential for laying us open to a highly intimate and authentic dialogue with both ourselves and others.

Peter Holmes beautifully describes the psychological and emotional healing qualities of geranium.

Introduction

In complementary therapies it is common to accept the traditional uses of herbal remedies as evidence for their therapeutic activity. Unfortunately while this approach has been accepted by government legislators it has come under criticism from the media and the pharmaceutical industry.

I believe that this is a very effective way to understand the therapeutic activity of traditional remedies, especially where there has been a long history of documented safe and successful use of the remedies. It is therefore of utmost importance that we are confident of the botanical sources of all traditional remedies.

In preparing this monograph for geranium oil I discovered that much of what we believed about geranium oil is incorrect because we have confused two different botanical species.

History of nomenclature of Geranium and pelargonium

It appears that we have confused the geranium and pelargonium species. Lis-Balchin, a world authority on geranium oil explains;

The genera Geranium and Pelargonium are invariably confused by the general public and also plant sales personnel, health food shop workers and alternative medicine practitioners, especially aromatherapists.1

Lis-Balchin goes on to explain:

Geranium oil is extracted from the leaves of some Pelargonium species and cultivars, but its paramedical effects are often equated with those of the genus Geranium e.g. G.robertianum and G.maculatum. The latter are native to Europe and were used as herbal medicines for hundreds of years; they were written up by Gerard (1633), Culpeper (1652) and even Grieve (1937).1

Lis-Balchin explains that this confusion existed before Linnaeus (1753) and his binomial system of classification. Both genera were then placed under the genus Geranium and although they were correctly re-classified in 1820 under two separate genera, acceptance by the general public as well as nursery retailers was and still is minimal.1

The Pelargonium species are native to South Africa and were introduced to European Botanical gardens as early as 1600 where they were used as ornamental plants. They have medicinal properties that were only known to the Hottentots, Zulus and the local Boers in South Africa.1

Lis-Balchin states that the medicinal properties of geranium oil (from Pelargonium) are therefore not only largely unsubstantiated but based solely on the properties attributed to the mainly water-soluble extracts of the geranium species known as Herb Robert.1

For example Lawless states;

The British plant herb Robert (Geranium robertianum) and the American cranesbill (G.maculatum) are the most widely used types in herbal medicine today. Having been used since antiquity. They have many properties in common with the rose geranium, being used for conditions such as dysentery, haemorrhoids, inflammations, metrorrhagia and menorrhagia. The root and herb cranesbill is specifically indicated in the British Herbal Pharmacopoeia for diarrhea and peptic ulcer.2

This is not true – Geranium robertianum does not have many properties in common with geranium oil from the Pelagonium species.

Tisserand also describes geranium as:

A mild diuretic, and used internally for stones of the urinary passages. It is also of value in jaundice, and its bitter taste indicates an effect on the small intestine. We can see this in its pronounced action on diarrhea/enteritis; it may be effective against gall stones.3

Once again, these are all properties of Herb Robert which has nothing at all to do with the essential oil that we refer to as geranium which is extracted from the Pelargonium species.

It is interesting that many aromatherapy authors seem to be aware of this difference between geranium and pelargonium species. However, they still insist on attributing medicinal properties of Herb Robert to geranium essential oil. For example Lavabre states:

Old herbals mention geranium of Herb Robert (Geranium robertianum), which grows wild in the temperate zones of the globe. This plant is totally different from the pelargonium used for the extraction of essential oils.4

However Lavabre then goes on to attribute properties of Herb Robert such as hemostatic, cicatrant, antidiabetic, diuretic and stimulant of the adrenal cortex to geranium oil.4

As late as 2016, Rhind quotes Lawless who states that geranium can be used for the treatment of oedema, poor circulation, cellulitis, sore throats, premenstrual syndrome, menopause and to stimulate the adrenocortical glands.5

By continually repeating what previous aromatherapists have said about geranium only perpetuates the myths and misinformation.

Lis-Balchin states that it simply shows a lack of understanding of the origins of geranium oil:

The worst misnomer shows the total misconception of the genus as in many aromatherapy books and journals, Geranium maculatum, Geranium robertianum and other geranium species are implicated either directly or indirectly. This arose due to the unfortunate original mistake made by aromatherapy book authors, who read up the medicinal properties of true ‘geranium’ from the many Herbals and thought that those were attributable to the Pelargonium species.1

She also states that another common misnomer is the use of Pelargonium odoratissimum or P. odorantissimum. This species is not used for essential oil production. It is a species with very small, white, apply-scented leaves.1

Lis-Balchin also explains that P.graveolens is another misnomer. While she states this is true for some geranium oil originating out of Africa, it is doubtful as this species has a more distinctive peppermint aroma. She states the main source of geranium oil is from a cultivar known as P.cv.”Rose”, which gives rise to the commercial “geranium oil – Bourbon” and what we often refer to as Rose geranium originated from hybridization in England, probably in the eighteenth century. This cultivar was then exported to the South of France and Reunion and more recently to China. The ‘rose’ cultivar is likely to be a hybrid between P.capitatum x P.radens.1

In summary Lis-Balchin states that the Geranium species are used in herbal medicine while the Pelargonium-derived oils that we now refer to as “geranium oil” are primarily used in perfumery, cosmetics and aromatherapy.

Family

Geraniaceae

Botany and Origins

It is not surprising that there is a great deal of confusion over the origins of geranium.

Miller states that the genus Pelargonium includes about 270 distinct species and the majority of these are found in southern Africa. She states that the genus is almost unequal in the plant kingdom for the enormous diversity created to adapt to these different habitats.6

James states that the name geranium itself is incorrect. Since it is involved in the production of geranium oil are all Pelargoniums, not geranium.7

The genera Geranium and Pelargonium are classified in the family Geraniaceae and like the three other genera included in Geraniaceae they also have a similar elongated fruit with five mericarps, each containing a single seed.6

The cultivars grown to produce geranium oil have been developed from species such as P.capitatum, P.graveolens and P.radens.6.8

However Demarne states that these are not natural species. We now know that the true P.radens and P.graveolens are mint-scented species while P.capitum species is very poor in essential oil and has a very faint rose scent. All these natural species are said to have originated from southern Africa.8

The oil composition in particular depends on the P.capitum parent which transmits the ability to synthesize geraniol and citronellol rather than isomenthone.8

Demarne states that the cultivars of geranium should be named ‘Pelargonium hybrids of P.capitum x P.radens’ or ‘Pelargonium hybrids of P.capitatum x P.graveolens’. He also states that most of the world’s geranium oil is now produced mainly in China, Egypt, Reunion Island and India. China is now the biggest producer of geranium oil and Egypt is the second biggest producer.8

Demarne states that the interest in growing scented-leaf geranium dates from the mid nineteenth century. At this time real rose from Rosa damascena was becoming very rare and expensive. This situation forced French perfumers to look for new essential oils with a rose scent such as geranium. He also explains that geranium plant requires lots of sunshine and well-drained soils rich in organic matter. It does not like frosts and temperatures below 2°C as they are harmful to the growth and even the survival of the plant. It is was also a labour intensive crop, hence for these reasons production of rose geranium by 1850 the cultivation of geranium moved from southern France to the French colonies of Northern Africa and Indian ocean.8

The first geranium plants grown for the French perfume industry were planted in Algeria in 1847 and in the 1880s extensive plantations were established on Reunion. Geranium oil is also produced in other parts of the world such as Kenya, Tanzania, India, China and Egypt.9

Other Pelargonium ssp. grown in gardens for their fragrant leaves include P.citriodorum (Citron-scented), P. Fragrans (nutmeg-scented) and P.tomentosum (peppermint-scented).9

A number of geranium oils are available and they are usually distinguished by a country of origin prefix: Reunion, Chinese, Egyptian or Moroccan.9

Bourbon geranium which is produced on the Reunion Islands is considered the most important and considered the most desirable of all the geranium oils.9

Tisserand states that the name ‘rose geranium’ was reserved for geranium from Reunion which was from the cultivar commonly referred to as Bourbon geranium. However this geranium from Reunion is now only produced in very small quantities and is no longer sold on the open market.10

It is interesting that Lis-Bachin states that the term ‘rose geranium’ implies either a particular cultivar or sometimes the fact that rose petals were distributed on top of geranium leaves during the distillation.11

However, Lis-Bachin then contradicts herself when she states that a further misconception is the name ‘rose geranium’ has been interpreted by some aromatherapists as meaning that geranium was distilled over rose. She explains that this would be rather difficult as geranium leaves would smother the rose petals.12

An oil from Bulgaria known as zdravetz oil is distilled from Geranium macrorrhium. Zdravetz oil is a pale olive green or pale yellowish-green somewhat viscous liquid which at room temperature is normally 30% liquid and 70% crystals. The crystals begin to dissolve at 32°C. The main constituents of zdravetz oil are sesquiterpenes (to 90%) of which about half is germacrone.9

Method of extraction

Geranium oil is steam distilled from the leaves and branches of various Pelargonium species.

Characteristics

The aroma of geranium will vary according to the geographic origin. Bourbon geranium is a greenish-olive oil with a pronounced green, leafy-rosy scent. The odour of freshly distilled bourbon geranium has a peculiar, rather obnoxious top note which is partly due to dimethyl sulphide. It is produced during the rapid decaying of the plant material immediately prior to the distillation. The unpleasant top note will disappear after proper aeration or aging of the oil.13

Moroccan geranium is usually a darker to medium yellow colour and the Egyptian geranium is a yellow to yellow-greenish colour. Both have a sweet, rosy, herbaceous odour somewhat similar to Reunion geranium.9

The Chinese geranium is dark green, often with a brownish or brownish-yellow tinge and the odour is harsher than Bourbon geranium and is often more lemony and rosy, with a sweet-herbaceous note.9

Pelargonium plants grown at higher elevation in sub-tropical climates frequently produce an essential oil that is lighter than oil from the same cultivar at lower altitudes. Weiss also noted that harvesting the plants when they are in full bloom tended to produce an oil with a lower geraniol content and citronellol content than cutting it prior to blooming.9

Weiss states that oils from all origins are frequently adulterated. The finer the original quality the more common the occurrence.9

Lis-Balchin states that geranium oil can easily be adulterated. This is because it mainly contains citronellol and geraniol and their esters and can be easily concocted from cheaper essential oils and synthetic aromatic ingredients and adjusted to the recommended ISO standards. The odours of such oils tend to be more appreciated by perfumers than the real essential oil.1

History and traditional uses

The confusion existing over the therapeutic activity of geranium oil originates from transcribing Culpeper’s and other herbal texts which only refer to Geranium robertianium, which has a completely different chemical composition to the geranium oil of today.1

The first reference to the true geranium is in Dioscorides’ Materia Medica, as geranion from the Greek geranos, a crane, because of the shape of the long beaked fruit. The plant and its fragrant leaves were used by Romans.9

Valnet recommends using geranium internally for various forms of debility (deficiency of adrenal cortex), diarrhea, sterility, diabetes, urinary stones, gastric ulcers and jaundice.14

These are properties that have usually been attributed to the oral use of ‘Herb Robert’.

Lis-Balchin states that Tisserand, Worwood, Westwood and Lawless have also perpetuated the myth of geranium oil.12 Lis-Balchin also states that some aromatherapy books make such incredulous claims such as those made by Worwood in the Fragrant Pharmacy:

… it is reputed to help in cases of uterine and breast cancer – and if nothing else, would certainly help the patient to relax and cope with the pain.15

It must be noted that Valnet also makes this claim.

According to James, Pelargoniums first reached Europe some 350 years ago:

In Europe, it became fashionable for rich people to build glass houses to accommodate plants from warmer climates that would not have survived frosts. The lifting of tax on glass in 1851 had an impact on this activity. Pelargoniums became popular subjects for hybridizing, because cross-pollination was not difficult, and they have the advantage of growing all the year around, so there is no dormancy to interrupt the work. The length of the flowering period was also a bonus and inspired gardeners to use the results of the breeding work as long lasting summer bedding.

By the time Queen Victoria was on the throne, pelargoniums or ‘geraniums’ as they were popularly known, were very fashionable plants. The misnomer of ‘geranium’ came about because the seed of the pelargonium is very similar to the seed of the geranium, and the first botanists decided that the pelargoniums were, in fact, closely related to the Europe Geraniums, and named them accordingly. As science progressed, this was found not to be true, and it was later on that the term ‘pelargonium’ was applied to these plants. But by then it was too late – the word ‘geranium” was well and truly part of the English language for what we now know as a ‘zonal pelargonium’.7

Properties

The properties that I believe can be correctly attributed to geranium essential oil from the pelargonium species are: analgesic, antidepressant, anxiolytic, antimicrobial, astringent, deodorant.

Pharmacology

Lis-Balchin states that the numerous aromatherapeutic uses for geranium oil, both in massage or inhalation have not been correctly validated. However she does say that there is every reason to accept the scientific evidence that massage in itself can relax and that inhalation of a pleasant aroma and its action through the limbic system can also have a relaxing effect.16

Therefore it is likely that many stress-related conditions such as dermatitis, asthma, intestinal problems and headaches may be indirectly alleviated by the use of geranium oil.

Lis-Balchin cites Grieves who states that true Geranium species, G.maculatum or American cranesbill root was used as a styptic, astringent, tonic, for piles and internal bleeding; excellent as an injection for flooding and leucorrhoea; taken internally for diarrhoea, childhood cholera, chronic dysentery and for gargling. It contains tannins which are also effective against stomach ulcers and inflammation of the uterus.16

It is evident that pelargonium oils have not been subject of well controlled clinical trials for either the inhalation of the vapour or application through massage.16

Antimicrobial
Geranium oil has been reported to exhibit antifungal and antibacterial activities in vitro.17,18

However Lis-Bachin suggests that the antimicrobial activity of geranium is variable according to the chemical composition of the oil. She cites an antifungal study which tested 16 samples of geranium oil. Apergillus niger was inhibited by 0 to 94 % inhibition of, A.ochraceus was inhibited by 12-95 % and Fusarium culmorum was inhibited by 40-86 %.11

Geranium oil was found to be a very effective antifungal when tested against Candida albicans. Unfortunately the botanical origins of the oil was not stated.19

Analgesic
A clinical trial found that geranium oil was associated with a significant reduction in pain. While this was a double-blind cross over study involving 5 groups I am concerned as geranium oil was used at 100%, 50% solution and 10% solution. The authors noted that the pain reduction was dose dependent. It is not surprising that the study also reported 20 minor adverse reactions among 7 patients for five treatments. All the adverse reactions were considered not serious and were all resolved in an hour.20

Female reproductive system
Often studies involve geranium oil blended with other essential oils and used in massage. Typically such studies are difficult to ascertain if the effects were from geranium oil or from the massage. One such study involved investigating the effects of aromatherapy massage on alleviating menopausal symptoms. While the study found that aromatherapy massage may be an effective treatment of menopausal symptoms such as hot flushes, depression and pain in climacteric women it was unfortunate that it could not be identified if the benefits were from the essential oils or from the massage. Also a blend of essential oils was used using lavender, rose geranium, rose and jasmine in an evening primrose base so it was not possible to identify if geranium was of any benefit or not.21

Another study involving massage with a blend of essential oils containing geranium found that aromatherapy massage was very effective in reducing menstrual pain. The study concluded that the reduction in menstrual pain was significantly higher in the aromatherapy group compared to the acetaminophen group. However it could not be verified whether the positive effects were from the essential oils, the massage or both.22

Lymphedema
A study using a blend of essential oils containing geranium oil found that while the massage was effective in reducing symptom associated with lymphedema. The group using the essential oil blend did not appear to influence any improvement of the group just using massage.23

Spasmolytic
Lis-Bachin has extensively researched the spasmolytic activity of geranium essential oil. She tested 32 different pelargonium species, hybrids and cultivars grown in the UK. All the oils were found to be spasmolytic. The mechanism of action was also discussed. It was suggested that their effect might involve an action on calcium flux into the smooth muscles. The authors also say that apart from citronellol and geraniol, it was not known which other components were responsible for the spasmolytic activity.24

In another study, 16 commercial geranium essential oil samples from Reunion, China, Egypt and Morocco were examined for their antimicrobial activity and for their spasmolytic and antioxidant properties. While the antimicrobial activity varied all samples were spasmolytic. The components geraniol, citronellol, linalool, isomenthone, guaia-6-diene and citronellyl formate were all identified as spasmolytic.25

Anxiolytic
Clinical studies have confirmed that inhalation of geranium essential oil is very effective in reducing anxiety.26

Anti-neuroinflammatory
Another study found that geranium oil has an anti-neuroinflammatory effect on microglial cells. Microglial cells are important immune cells in the brain and their activation is involved in neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease. The study demonstrated that geranium oil inhibited Nitric Oxide (NO) production, as well as the expression of the pro-inflammatory enzymes cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) and induced nitric oxide synthase in primary cultures of activated microglial cells. When the major constituents of the oil at their natural concentration in geranium oil were tested, none of them could inhibit NO production. The result also suggests a possible synergistic interaction between the major constituents.27

Psychophysiological effect
Electroencephalograms can be used to measure brain wave responses to aromas. This technique is referred to as contingent negative variation (CNV). This can be used to determine whether an odour is stimulating, sedating or neutral. A study was able to differentiate brain wave patterns stimulated by odours from those caused by sight and sound. They were found to be independent of the level of consciousness, psychological state or degree of arousal of the subjects being tested. The study also found that factors such as age, sex, or culture did not influence the results. One study found that geranium had a stimulating effect.28

However other studies using CNV found that geranium had a sedative effect.29

Uses

Detoxification
I believe that this property often attributed to geranium oil is incorrect as this is associated with Herb Robert. Many aromatherapists may be tempted to argue with me and suggest that they have used geranium oil many times with success in detoxification treatments. I have also used it in detoxification blends. I usually have blended geranium with juniper berry, rosemary, fennel seed, lemon or grapefruit. All these essential oils have excellent hepatic and diuretic properties. It is therefore most likely that the benefits have come from these other essential oils.

Therefore I would say that the following comment that I made in The Complete Guide to Aromatherapy is not correct:

Geranium oil is a diuretic and has a stimulating effect on the lymphatic system. It is beneficial for treating cellulite, fluid retention and oedema of the ankles.30

I disagree with Holmes description of the therapeutic actions of geranium oil. He describes geranium as a liver decongestant and detoxicant. He recommends it for liver congestion, metabolic toxicosis and high blood cholesterol.31 Holmes also suggests that it can also be used as a lymphatic and venous decongestant for lymphatic stasis with swollen glands, varicose veins, haemorrhoids with pruritus and phlebitis.31 All these properties relate to Herb Robert and not geranium essential oil.

Integumentary system
I do agree that geranium oil is useful in treating a number of different skin conditions.

Holmes states that it has excellent skin regenerating and anti-inflammatory actions. As such it can be used for both acute and chronic skin conditions.31

Geranium oil is reputed to have excellent astringent properties which makes it useful for treating wounds and bruises.2,4,32

It is recommended for its anti-inflammatory properties for conditions such as eczema, psoriasis and used for treating acne.2,4 Mojay also suggests that it is an anti-inflammatory essential oil to be compared with lavender and German chamomile. As such he states that geranium oil is indicated for gastritis, colitis, psoriasis and eczema. He follows on by saying that it can also be used for skin infections such as acne, impetigo and athlete’s foot.33

However I could not find any clinical evidence or pharmacological studies to confirm the anti-inflammatory properties of geranium oil.

Psychological
The most effective use of geranium oil in aromatherapy is the influence that it has on our psyche. Mojay states that geranium conveys a feeling of calm strength and security. He suggests that geranium is beneficial for both chronic and acute anxiety, particularly where it is associated with nervous exhaustion due to stress and overwork.33

Holmes best sums up geranium’s influence on our psychological wellbeing with three words – emotional balance, stability and calm. He states that geranium is a key oil for bracing emotional instability and that it can be helpful for moodiness and mood swings. He recommends it for emotional despondency associated with low self-esteem, insecurity, mood swings, chronic anxiety, irritability and feeling emotionally withdrawn.31

Reproductive system
I believe that this property often attributed to geranium oil is incorrect as this is often associated with Herb Robert.

It has often been said that geranium oil may be a stimulant of the adrenal cortex, whose hormones are essentially regulating and balancing. This is why geranium oil is recommended for conditions where fluctuating hormones are a problem. In particular, geranium oil may be used to relieve premenstrual tension and menopause.30

I believe that the aroma of geranium may help to alleviate emotional stress that may accompany fluctuating hormones and menstrual problems. Therefore it would still be beneficial in a blend for menstrual problems. Once again geranium is often blended with essential oils such as sweet fennel, rose or clary sage which may have a more direct influence on the hormones.

Skin care
It is popular in skincare, not only for its delightful aroma, but for its action in balancing the production of sebum. This makes it valuable for skin that is either dry, oily or combination skin.2,3,4

Rhind states that geranium is effective for the skin for inflammation, pain, soft tissue damage, and bruising. She states that it should be blended with essential oils such as lavender, everlasting, Virginian cedarwood, juniper berry, rose or patchouli.34

Personality profile

Worwood refers to geranium as a mothering personality. A person who is always ready to take care of someone or something. Geranium personalities are able to create a sense of security and stability wherever they go. They are friendly and comforting, warm and generous although not in any way extroverted or over-talkative. They are often very popular personalities simply because they have this amazing ability to make people feel worthy and wanted.35

However she warns that geranium personalities are often taken advantage of because of their generosity. They never consciously look for thanks or appreciation but get it naturally. They have the ability to wash away your tension and stress just by being there for you. They also tend to take on too much, not leaving enough space for themselves.35

Worwood states that their generosity and kind nature is often exploited:

Geranium is the ultimate personality for being taken for granted, never really getting their due but they astound friends and family in middle age by suddenly packing a bag and going in search of personal happiness. If not appreciated, Geraniums can get very anxious and depressed and may find their heart being broken many times over, by thoughtless friends and family.35

Mojay states that geranium is the ideal remedy for the workaholic perfectionist and for the person who has forgotten imagination, intuition and sensory experience.33

According to the principles of Myers Briggs I would describe geranium personality as ENFJ the teacher. ENFJs are caring and concerned. They have charming and enthusiastic personalities and get on well with everyone. They are excellent communicators, natural leaders and are good at motivating others.

Other typical characteristics of ENFJ include:

• Conscientious, orderly, goal-oriented and decisive
• Respect a variety of opinions and are good at creating team spirit
• Like having control and being responsible for their own projects
• Friendly, warm and genuinely like to please people
• Try hard to promote harmonious and cooperative relationships
• Loyal and devoted friends
• They like to be reassured of their value by receiving praise, respect and affirmations
• Dislike giving negative feedback
• Have many ‘shoulds’ and ‘should nots’
• Often feel responsible for other people’s feelings and find it difficult to detach or set boundaries

Subtle aromatherapy

Worwood beautifully describes the subtle healing qualities of geranium:

When the spirit is hidden, like a frightened child, within, geranium offers its warm hand of comfort, opening our hearts and memories and healing the pain.36

Worwood also states that Geranium resonates with Mother Earth. It signifies the archetypal energy of goddess culture and encompasses the energy of the feminine, reproduction, birth and rebirth.36

Zeck states that the refreshing scent of geranium minimizes extreme feelings and emotions, helping us to feel more balance and harmony. She recommends using geranium when we are feeling out of sync with the rhythm of natures. She states that geranium will help us connect with the rhythm of life, especially when we are disconnected with our own rhythms.37

Energetics

Mojay states that according to the principles of traditional Chinese medicine, geranium oil is unique. It is considered cool and moist. It clears heat – therefore it is able to calm the mind, relax the nerves and reduces feelings of anxiety. It also has the ability to strengthen Qi-energy.33

He states that it can help to convey a feeling of calm strength and security and recommends using it for both chronic and acute anxiety, especially when one is feeling nervous exhaustion due to stress and overwork.33

While it perfectly complements lavender in any blend for stress, Mojay describes the difference between lavender and geranium as follows:

While lavender oil is suited to the individual in whom emotions overwhelm the mind, geranium oil is for those whose rationality and personal drive deny the place of feeling and impression. The oil therefore helps to reconnect us to our feeling-life – to our emotional sensitivity, relaxed spontaneity, and healthy thirst for pleasure and enjoyment. With this comes a greater capacity for intimate communication – one in which being able to receive and experience is as important as the power to give and express.33

According to the principles of the Five Elements, geranium oil has a strong affinity with the Wood Element. According to Ayurveda geranium would help to balance the Vata dosha and cool the Pitta dosha.

How to use

Bath: Typically for a full body bath in a tub, use up to 5 drops of essential oils in the tub of warm water. Foot or hand baths may be prepared by adding 2-3 drops of essential oil to a bowl of warm water.

Massage: Use a 2.5% dilution of the appropriate blend of essential oils to the chosen carrier oil. A 2.5% dilution this equates to 5 drops of essential oil to 10mL of carrier oil.

Inhalation: The best way to use essential oils for inhalation is by diffusing them. When you are using essential oils in an ultrasonic diffuser please follow the instructions of the diffuser that you are using.

Blending tips

I have long referred geranium as a great balancing essential oil with in a blend. Lavabre refers to geranium as a blend equaliser. It helps to fill the gap and helps your blend flow harmoniously.

Geranium’s distinctive complex aroma is both rosy floral and green and herbaceous. This rich complex aroma is what makes geranium such a perfect essential oils for balancing our psychological wellbeing. Holmes beautifully explains this when he states that geranium provides us with emotional balance, stability and calm.

When geranium is blended with floral oils or woody oils such as German chamomile, Roman chamomile, lavender, neroli, rose, ylang ylang or sandalwood it becomes soothing, relaxing and calming. On the other hand if it is blended with basil, ginger, black pepper, rosemary or peppermint it becomes more invigorating and awakening. It also helps to create an uplifting blend to alleviate anxiety and depression when it is blended with citrus oil such as bergamot, sweet orange, mandarin, lemon, grapefruit or yuzu.

Perfect Potion classics with geranium

The rosy floral and leafy aroma of geranium makes it so exciting to blend with. We have used it in so many Perfect Potion products.

Geranium together with lavender are the heart and soul of our Relax blend which has such a delicate floral and soothing scent. On the other hand geranium blended with basil and rosemary creates such an intense invigorating aroma of Wood Five Element essential oil blend or blended with peppermint and lemon it becomes the revitalising Jetsetter Aromatic Mist.

As we noted earlier, geranium resonates with Mother Earth. It embodies the energy of the feminine. Therefore it is not surprising to know that it is a very important oil in the Green Goddess Blend.

It acts as a beautiful blend equalizer in Umi and Desert Dreaming. Geranium also helps to cool the Pitta dosha in our Pitta Ayurveda Blend.

It is common to associate Geranium oil with the sacral, solar plexus and heart chakra. At the same time I believe it helps to connect our lower chakras with our higher chakras – especially our throat chakra. As such it provides the perfect balance to our Chakra balancing blend range.

As Worwood explained earlier geranium signifies the archetypal energy of the Goddess – as such it is a very important essential oil in the Emgoddess blendsDemeter and Hecate. In these blends geranium also boosts our inner strength and restore peace and harmony.

We have used geranium in so many of our hair care products such as Hair Balm, Hair & Scalp Elixir, Marigold Conditioner, Rosemary Shampoo and Rosemary Conditioner. It creates such a revitalizing aroma and helps to balance the intense aroma of rosemary which is extensively used in these haircare preparations.

Geranium has excellent deodorising properties and is gentle on the skin. As such we have used it in two of our deodorants. Its refreshing aroma helps to balance the strong medicinal aroma of tea tree in Active Deodorant and it perfectly complements the floral oils such as lavender and ylang ylang in Fresh flowers Deodorant.

In skincare I have preferred to use geranium for oily and combination skin types. It blends so well with lavender, juniper berry and cypress in skincare preparations such Balance Moisture Gel, Geranium Moisturising Emulsion, Purify Cleansing Gel, Purify Fine Tuning Solution and Green Tea Purifying Mask to help reduce oiliness and hydrate your skin.

Geranium’s rich herbaceous and floral aroma blended with bergamot, lavender and cedarwood give Man Made range its wonderful revitalising vibrant aroma.

Safety

Geranium oil has been reported to be non-toxic, non-irritant and non-sensitising. However, cases of dermatitis in hypersensitive individuals caused by geranium oil have been documented.30

Shop Perfect Potion products containing geranium

 

References

  1. Lis-Balchin M, Chapter 2: History of nomenclature, usage and cultivation of Geranium and Pelargonium species. From Geranium and Pelargonium. edited by Maria Lis-Balchin, Medical and Aromatic Plants – Industrial Profiles, Taylor & Francis Group, London, 2002.
  2. Lawless J. The encyclopaedia of essential oils. Element Books Limited, Great Britain, 1992.
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