It was introduced into Europe in the late 17th century and today has become the most popular garden plant, not to be confused with the species that are grown for geranium distillation. It was the French chemist Recluz who in 1819 was the first to distill the leaves of geranium. It has since become an important perfume ingredient and is often used as a substitute for oil of rose. The smell of geranium can be described as having a middle position between the sweetness of rose and the sharpness of bergamot and because of its relative neutrality it blends well with many other oils. Geranium from China or Egypt has this sharper smell where true Bourbon geranium has a softer rounder smell.
Geranium is one of the most important oils in aromatherapy, almost a first aid kit in itself. It is good to use on children. It is a good antiseptic, a vulunary, a tonic; it slows bleeding and is generally good for fatigue, and convalescence.
When using geranium in a blend, only a drop or two is required. It has a powerful aroma and can take over a blend, making the other oils hard to distinguish. Like lavender it has to be blended well as it not everybody’s choice of aroma.
Properties of Geranium:
It is: anti-depressant, antiseptic, astringent, cicatrisant, cytophylactic, diuretic, haemostatic, and styptic.
Geranium is one of the few essential oils, in terms of Oriental medicine, that may be considered as cool and moist in energy. The oil clears heat and inflammation, relaxes the nerves and calms feelings of anxiety. Like virtually all the flower oils, it is an anti-depressant. The Italian doctor Rovesti employed geranium oil in the treatment of anxiety states.
Like lavender, geranium clears heat and calms the energy; therefore it can relax the mind, calm agitation and ease frustration and irritability. It has an all complete centering effect. It conveys a feeling of calm strength and security. Geranium oil is therefore beneficial for both chronic and acute anxiety, particularly where there is nervous exhaustion due to stress and overwork. Therefore, it is ideal for the workaholic perfectionist that cannot relax, enjoy life and be in the moment.
Lavender is more suited to the individual, in whom emotions overwhelm the mind, but geranium is better suited for those whose rationality and personal drive deny that place of emotion and impression, thereby helping us reconnect to our feelings, enhancing our capacity to communicate.
In many texts, geranium is described as a sedative oil. Gabrielle Mojay, an aromatherapist based out of the UK, describes the oil as calming anxiety. Whereas, Aromatherapist Patricia Davis quotes cases where some clients have become restless and unable to sleep for quite a few hours after using geranium, even in small amounts. Therefore, she does not recommend using it later in the day.
As an anti-inflammatory, geranium compares well against lavender and German chamomile. In addition, it is also indicated for gastritis, colitis, psoriasis and eczema. It can be used for skin infections such as acne, impetigo and athlete’s foot.
Geranium is both analgesic and antispasmodic being particular useful for nerve, eye and joint pain and is applicable in cases of neuralgia, ophthalmia, and rheumatism. As an astringent and phlebotonic, the oil can relieve hemorrhoids, varicose veins and excessive menstrual bleeding.
It is used in skin care creams and lotions in many cases for its aroma. However, it is an astringent and antiseptic and balances sebaceous flow. It makes it valuable for skins that are excessively dry or oily.
Use geranium for cuts and bruises, burns, frost bite and eczema. In each case, prepare a compress by preparing 200 milliliters of warm or cool water and add 10 drops of the essential oil. Using a clean gauze, gently soak the gauze in the mixture and then apply to the area of the skin where it is required. Once the skin has healed over and the wound is no longer open, a few drops of the oil can be placed in a healing cream or ointment (such as calendula cream) and applied to the wound. Daniele Ryman, renowned aromatherapist, suggests using geranium for the treatment of shingles. She combines the oil with lavender, myrtle and rosemary (two drops each) in 15 milliliters of soya or grapeseed oil and two drops of wheatgerm oil.
When travelling or simply enjoying the outdoors in the summer, geranium oil can be a wonderful insect repellant. Make a simple body oil of 20mls of Soya oil or equivalent and add 16 drops of geranium and massage it into your body. If you are bitten it can be applied neat with a little tea tree and lavender to take out the itch and inflammation
Women’s Health – A Hormone Regulator
Avoid the Use of This Oil in Early Pregnancy
The true balancing action of geranium arises from the fact that it is an adrenal cortex stimulant. The hormones secreted by the adrenal cortex are primarily regulators, governing the balance of hormones secreted by other organs, including male and female sex hormones. This oil is then of assistance in menopausal problems and all conditions where there are fluctuating hormones. Geranium is an excellent diuretic and can help remove excess fluid retention associated with premenstrual syndrome (PMS). It also has a powerful effect on the lymphatic system and combined with its diuretic action, it can be used in massage products for the treatment of cellulite, fluid retention and edema of the ankles. The two properties reinforce each other by helping to eliminate fluids more efficiently, having a tonic effect on the liver and the kidneys.
Geranium Blends Well With:
Bay, basil, bergamot, carrot seed, cedarwood, citronella, clary sage, frankincense, grapefruit, jasmine, lavender, lemon, lime, neroli, orange, palmarosa, patchouli, petigrain, rose, rosemary, rosewood, sandalwood, and ylang ylang.
Geranium clears heat and calms the energy; therefore it can relax the mind, calm agitation and ease frustration and irritability
Trish Green is a homeopath, certified clinical and medically trained aromatherapist. She recently completed her education in aromatherapy for use in Oncology practice. She is the director of sales and marketing for Eve Taylor North America.