Seventeenth-century Europeans took a fancy to this tender African perennial, also known as “rose geranium,” and propagated it in their greenhouses. The resulting hybridization increased the species to more than 600, which includes many rose types-the only ones distilled commercially. The oil varies, depending on growing conditions and species. The French planted it in Algeria and R‚union (or “Bourbon”), giving geranium from this area the name “Bourbon.” It is also grown in Morocco and China. The Chinese oil is slightly less sweet but produces a good yield, making it less expensive. The pharmaceutical industry widely uses the component geraniol. This and other parts of the oil are sometimes used as an ingredient to make synthetic rose. Although the leaves of rose geranium resemble common geranium (hence its name), the two are only distantly related.

Family: Geraniaceae

Extraction: Distilled from leaves. Absolute, concrete. It smells like a rose-citrus-herb combination.

Medicinal Action: A light adrenal stimulant and hormonal normalizer, geranium treats PMS, menopause, fluid retention, breast engorgement and sterility. Just sniffing it may help regulate blood pressure.

Cosmetic/Skin Use: A popular skin treatment, geranium reduces inflammation and infection of wounds, eczema, acne and burns, and it is used in the treatment of bleeding, scarring, stretch marks, fungus, lice, shingles and herpes. It balances all complexion types and is said to delay wrinkling.

Emotional Attribute: The fragrance relieves anxiety, depression, discontent, irrational behavior and stress. More esoterically, it is said to balance a passive-aggressive nature, heal poor relationships and enhance one’s perception of time and space. Often described as a sedative, some aromatherapists consider it stimulating or even insomnia-inducing. Others describe it as “balancing.” The key to such discrepancies is usually dosage.

Associated Oil:

Zdravets (Geranium macrorhizum) –“True geranium” is used in perfume and Bulgarian herbal medicine. Studies show it strongly inhibits Staphylococcus, E. coli and Candida infections. Antidiabetic.

For more Essential Oils visit the Aromatherapy Materia Medica

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Written by Kathi Keville

Explore Wellness in 2021