Not just a pretty floral scent, geranium essential oil benefits the mind and body in a myriad of ways from wound healing to skin soothing. Floral essential oils are most familiar to us when we think of essential oils and aromatherapy. It’s not surprising, since the aromatherapy and perfumery industries – arts, really – are so closely intertwined. But the medicinal uses of geranium shouldn’t be overlooked.
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Essential Oil Profile for Geranium
While the scent of geranium essential oil is floral, the oil itself is distilled from the leaves of the Pelargonium graveolens plant. It is native to South Africa and has since been cultivated further north into Middle Eastern and Asian countries.
While the Latin name usually gives us clarity as to what kind of oil we have, geranium is a bit trickier. The strains of Pelargonium graveolens aren’t necessarily indicated by those two names; the strain and location of growth can make a huge impact on the chemical composition of the oil in spite of sharing the name P. graveolens. (1)
For the most part, with trusted suppliers, we can tell based on the common name – this is not the norm for other oils. Geranium Bourbon is grown in a specific region and is mostly used for fragrances rather than therapeutic purposes. Rose Geranium is ever-so-slightly ‘rosy’ smelling.
If your supplier provides the GC/MS evaluation for their oils, look for something with at least the compounds geraniol, linalool, and citronella – again, remembering that a trusted supplier is important. Any of these compounds can be synthesized for affordability in spite of lessened quality!
5 Geranium Essential Oil Uses
Geranium essential oil is a powerful therapeutic oil that is also relatively gentle and safe, used primarily in inhaled and topical application methods. Add it to your diffuser or topical blend to enjoy the following healing benefits.
1. Anti-Anxiety & Calming
There is something incredible about the way the brain responds to scents. Think about scent-memory and the way a familiar smell can transport you back to another time and place. Similar reactions work together to make aromatherapy well-suited to relaxation, and some oils are specifically beneficial in relieving anxiety which is one of the great geranium essential oil benefits.
Geranium is one such oil, and its anxiolytic (anti-anxiety) actions are demonstrated well in the 2015 study published in Journal of Caring Sciences, analyzing geranium essential oil used in labor.
The researchers used a rose geranium variety diluted and dropped onto some of the participants’ collar as a personal inhalation method. During the heavy work and high anxiety of active labor, those with geranium had improved in not only reported anxiety levels but in blood pressure, too. (2)
Indications: Diffuse for a calming effect in the whole room; use personal inhalation methods for relief of acute anxiety. Blend with other calming oils like lavender and sweet orange.
2. Antibacterial & Wound Healing
The discovery of antibiotics saved lives, but the modern overuse of antibiotics risks them. As bacteria become more and more resistant to traditional treatments, the varied abilities of antibacterial essential oils become vital.
Geranium is an excellent choice for antibacterial use in wound healing, thanks to its gentle nature that’s not likely to cause sensitization. A 2014 in vitro study demonstrated this benefit, declaring geranium essential oil to be “an effective component of therapy” especially when infections were recurrent and resistant. (3)
Of course, you’ll want to beat your wounds to the punch and treat them before becoming infected or in need of a physician’s attention. Including geranium in your wound-healing salves and sprays can help!
Indications: Scratch/Bite healing sprays, topical balms, creams, and salves.
Environmental toxins, stress, and other disrupting factors leave their mark on the body by way of oxidative damage or oxidative stress. This is a cellular problem that can manifest in anything from visible signs of aging to the development of cancer. Antioxidant substances work against that damage by seeking it out, eliminating the source, and repairing the cell structure.
Geranium’s antioxidant capacity contributes to its traditional uses, demonstrated in a 2013 study. The oxidative damage targeted in this study was infertility, and mice were used as an observational platform.
After administration of geranium essential oil, the oxidative damage was healed enough that sperm motility improved. (4) While this tells us little in terms of how to use the oil for infertility, it gives us a picture of how far-reaching antioxidant benefits extend and, yet again, how traditional uses are so frequently validated by science.
Indications: Topical applications for massage blends.
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4. Powerful Antifungal
Fungal infestations can manifest in both topical and systemic ways, as well as in our homes. Geranium is named among antifungal essential oils that can be active as both a vapor or a direct contact application.
Among ten essential oils chosen for evaluation as potential antifungal properties, geranium was listed in the group that inhibited all of the strains of fungi the researchers checked. (5) It is clearly a versatile oil that can inhibit microbes in all areas of our lives.
Indications: Cleaners, diffusion, and topical preparations to inhibit the growth of fungi in its various forms.
To add to the wound healing benefits geranium exhibits, it is also an anti-inflammatory agent. Inflammation itself is a normal and even beneficial process of the immune system, but in excess it can be painful and problematic.
The researchers used a mouse model to test their application, using geranium essential oil topically for swelling. As suspected, parts that were in contact with the oil preparation saw significant reduction of swelling. (6) Geranium’s combination of actions gives you a multifaceted approach to wound care.
Indications: Anti-inflammatory sprays and salves, massage oils.
Great Essential Oils to Blend w/Geranium
One of the geranium essential oil uses include that it blends well with oils that share its properties, so keep that in mind when playing with combinations and scents.
- Antianxiety: lavender, bergamot, rose, chamomile
- Antimicrobial: citrus, thyme, clove
- Healing: lavender, lemongrass, tea tree
Geranium has a heavy scent, so lightening it up with citrus and herbaceous oils can make an enjoyable and effective combination.