Essential Oil Profile: Geranium

by Amelia E. Stone, RN


Common Name: Geranium

Latin Binomial: Pelargonium odorantissimum/graveolens

Family: Geraniaceae

Other Common Names: Rose geranium, Sweet scented geranium

Production Method: Steam Distillation

Countries of Origin: Algeria, Morocco, China, Egypt, and Reunion

Typical Constituents: Citronellol (36.5-39.1%), Citronellyl formate (9.2-10.1%), Geraniol (8.7-8.9%), Guaia-6,9-diene (6.5-6.8%), Isomenthone (5.4-5.7%), Linalool (3.6-3.9%), Menthone (1.4-2.4%), Geranyl formate (1.9-2.1%), [Z]- + [E]-Rose oxide (1.8-2.0%), Germacrene D (0.4-1.5%), Geranyl tiglate (1.2-1.3%), Citronellyl propionate (0.9-1.2%), b-Caryophyllene (0.7-1.2%), Citronellyl tiglate (0.9-1.0%), Geranyl butyrate (0.6-1.0%), b-Bourbonene (0-1.0%)

Description of Oil: Olive green liquid with a green, herby, rosey-sweet, minty scent.

Description of Plant: A perennial hairy shrub up to 1 meter high with pointed leaves serrated at the edges with small pink flowers. The whole plant is aromatic.

History, Folklore and Myth: Geraniums originate from South Africa. They were introduced to Europe in the 17th century. Its main medicinal use in the past was in the treatment of diarrhea and dysentery, possibly due to the antispasmodic action on smooth muscle tissue.  Once regarded as a great healing plant and often used as a remedy for wounds, tumors, cholera and fractures.  Indeed, belief in its powers throughout the centuries disposed people to plant it around their cottages to keep evil spirits at bay!

Properties and Uses: Acaricidal, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antispasmodic, anxiolytic, remarkably effective against candida albicans, especially valuable in skin care and holistic hygiene.  In addition, geranium stops bleeding, stimulates the functions of the liver and pancreas, and applied topically, soothes pain in the breasts before and during menstration.  Geranium is also commonly used aromatically for depression, anxiety, mood swings and encouraging feelings of sensuality.

Precautions and Contraindications: Tested non-toxic at low levels. Avoid in early pregnancy. The oil is possibly sensitizing. Avoid prolonged daily applications.


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Lawless, Julia. The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Essential Oils. Shaftesbury, Dorset. Element Books. 1995.

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Tisserand, Robert, and Tony Balacs. Essential Oil Safety: A Guide for Health Care Professionals. Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone. 1995.

Sellar, Wanda. The Directory of Essential Oils. London: Random House. 2005

Shutes, Jade. Advanced Aromatherapy Certification Program. East-West School for Herbal and Aromatic Studies. 2014

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