Geranium Essential Oil

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Geranium Essential Oil
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Geranium Essential Oil – General Description

Geranium essential oil, an aromatic oil with a floral aroma and a hint of mint, is extracted from the leaves and flowers of Pelargonium graveolens through cold press or steam distillation. [1] P. graveolens is often referred to as “geranium,” “rose geranium,” “old fashion rose geranium,” and “rose-scent geranium” and is primarily cultivated for its scent, which varies from rose, citrus, mint, coconut, nutmeg, to fruit scents. [2] In earlier times of Europe, geraniums are branded in homes as an herb that can help keep evil spirits away. [3]

Geranium essential oil appears pale greenish yellow in color with a light consistency but strong fresh aroma. [4] The scent from geranium essential oil can be described as both sweet and herbaceous with some subtle rose-like notes. [3] Geranium essential oil is widely prized generally for its astringent, hemostatic, diuretic, antiseptic, antidepressant, tonic, antibiotic, anti-spasmodic, and anti-infectious properties and its overall balancing effect. It blends well with basil, bergamot, citronella, clary sage, fennel, grapefruit, jasmine, juniper, and lavender, among others. [4]

P. graveolens falls taxonomically under the family Geraniaceae, and while P. graveolens is the most common species from which geranium essential oil is distilled from, few species belonging to the genus Geranium, which is under the family Geraniaceae too, have been cultivated as well for their oils and medicinal properties. Geranium macrorrhizum, for example, is one resilient flowering perennial species wherein an essential oil can be prepared from. The said species, also known as bigroot geranium or Bulgarian geranium, is greatly valued in traditional herbal medicine for its antimicrobial properties and its flavonoid, sesquiterpene, phenolic acid, and vitamin content. [5]

Geranium Essential Oil – Uses and Reported Benefits

Geranium essential oil can be beneficial to individuals suffering from nerve pain (neuropathy) where it is applied on the skin directly to relieve the pain, particularly that associated with shingles, a viral disease known for its painful blistering skin rash. [6] Aside from shingles, geranium essential oil can be used too in skin care to assist with eczema and psoriasis. [7] It can also be used for diarrhea and as an astringent to tighten the skin. [6] Menstrual, menopausal, and infertility problems can be managed as well by geranium essential oil. [7] More importantly, several diseases of infectious or inflammatory nature can be treated with geranium essential oil, owing to its anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and antifungal actions. These include, but not limited to, urinary tract infection, stomatitis, otitis, and candidiasis (thrush).

Contraindications and Safety

Geranium essential oil is largely safe with no recorded side effects, although it may cause sensitivity in some people wherein a rash or burning sensation may develop. [4] Its application near the eye is definitely not advised as eye irritation may result upon contact. [6]

Geranium Essential Oil – Scientific Studies And Research

Geranium essential oil appears to exert its anti-inflammatory action by suppressing the neutrophil accumulation into the peritoneal cavity, as illustrated by the study of Abe et al. (2004) wherein intraperitoneal injections of lemongrass, spearmint, and geranium essential oils at a dose of 5 μL/mouse prevented the recruitment of white blood cells into the peritoneal cavity in mice. [8] In aromatherapy, geranium essential oil is normally applied on skin to manage or treat inflammatory symptoms, and such cutaneous application of geranium essential oil has been proven effective in inhibiting the inflammatory symptoms associated with neutrophil accumulation and edema, even besting lavender, eucalyptus, and tea tree essential oils. [9] In addition, because of the antineuroinflammatory effects of geranium essential oil on microglial cells and hence its potential benefits in the prevention or treatment of neurodegenerative diseases where neuroinflammation is part of the pathophysiology, geranium essential oil has steadily gained the interest of the research community and medical profession. Geranium essential oil prevents the production of nitric oxide released by activated microglial cells, our brains’ immune cells. It also inhibits the expression of proinflammatory enzymes cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) and induced nitric oxide synthase (iNOS). [10]

A long list of studies offers supporting evidence on the antibacterial and antifungal properties of geranium essential oil. In the study of Pattnaik, Subramanyam, and Kole (1996), geranium essential oil was harmful to twelve bacterial strains out of the twenty-two bacteria evaluated, including Grampositive cocci and rods and Gram-negative rods, and was inhibitory against twelve fungi. [11] Combining Citricidal (grapefruit seed extract) and geranium essential oil produces commendable and noteworthy antibacterial effect against methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, [12] a troublesome staph bacterium that is resistant to beta-lactams such as methicillin, oxacillin, penicillin, and amoxicillin, causing severe or potentially life-threatening infections in the heath-care setting. [13] Similarly, a synergistic antibacterial action between geranium essential oil and ciprofloxacin against uropathogens, namely, Klebsiella pneumoniae KT2, Proteus mirabilis PRT3, and S. aureus ST2 had been observed too. [14] This constitutes evidence on the potential role that geranium essential oil may play in the strategic treatment of urinary tract infection. A very high and selective antibacterial activity against Bacillus subtilis was also noted for Geranium macrorrhizum essential oil in discdiffusion and microdilution assays. [15]

The anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial effects of geranium essential oil altogether present treatment to individuals with diseases of bacterial or inflammatory etiology. For instance, geranium essential oil (Geranium robertianum) in conjunction with essential oils from clove (Syzygium aromaticum) and lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) can diminish the symptoms of acute external otitis (viz., tenderness, itching, redness, edema, and discharge) with proven efficacy that is even equal to ciprofloxacin, an antibiotic. [16] Vaginal application of geranium essential oil or geraniol – its chief constituent – has been determined to be effective against vaginal candidiasis. When combined with vaginal washing, geranium essential oil significantly decreases the number of viable Candida albicans cells in the vaginal cavity. Geranium essential oil does this by suppressing the cell growth of Candida in the vagina and the local inflammation associated with vaginal candidiasis. [17] In one 2011 study, the application of 1% geranium essential oil in the form of topical gel formulation was deemed more effective than placebo in the treatment of denture stomatitis, apparently decreasing Candida infection and reducing the local inflammation. [18]

Geranium Essential Oil – Molecular Components and Chemistry

Geranium essential oil is said to be consisted of primarily sesquiterpenoids, and germacrone and deltaguaiene are the dominant ones, according to the detailed compositional analyses done by Radulovic, Dekic, Stojanovic-Radic, and Zoranic (2010). Germacrone composes 49.7% of the essential oil extracted from the aerial parts of Geranium macrorrhizum, whereas delta-guaiene makes 49.2% of the geranium rhizome essential oil. [15] The gas chromatography performed by Maruyama N. et al. (2005) indicated that geranium essential oil contains 24% beta-citronellol, 10% citronellyl formate, and 7%
geraniol. [9] Rana, Juyal, and Blazquez (2002) furnished more or less the same results, indicating that citronellol (33.6%), geraniol (26.8%), linalool (10.5%), citronellyl formate (9.7%), and p-menthone (6.0%)
were identified from the essential oil of P. graveolens leaves. [19]


[1] Geranium Oil, 0.5 oz (Multi-Pack). Nature’s Alchemy Essenti. Retrieved 3 May 2013 from

[2] Pelargonium graveolens. Wikipedia. Retrieved 3 May 2013 from

[3] Geranium Essential Oil 10ml. The Aromatherapy Shop Ltd. Retrieved 5 May 2013 from

[4] Geranium (Bourbon) 100% Pure Therapeutic Grade Essential Oil- 10 ml. Edens Garden.
Retrieved 5 May 2013 from

[5] Geranium macrorrhizum. Wikipedia. Retrieved 5 May 2013 from

[6] Rose geranium oil. WebMD, LLC. Retrieved 5 May 2013 from

[7] Geranium 100% Pure Essential Oil – 10 ml. Plantlife. Retrieved 3 May 2013 from

[8] Abe S., Maruyama N., Hayama K., Inouye S., Oshima H., & Yamaguchi H. (2004). Suppression of neutrophil recruitment in mice by geranium essential oil. Mediators of Inflammation, 13(1): 21-24. Retrieved 3 May 2013 from

[9] Maruyama N. et al. (2005). Suppression of neutrophil accumulation in mice by cutaneous application of geranium essential oil. Journal of Inflammation (London, England), 2(1): 1. Retrieved 3
May 2013 from

[10] Elmann A., Mordechay S., Rindner M., & Ravid U. (2010). Anti-neuroinflammatory effects of geranium oil in microglial cells. Journal of Functional Foods, 2: 17-22. Retrieved 3 May 2013 from

[11] Pattnaik S., Subramanyam V. R., & Kole C. (1996). Antibacterial and antifungal activity of ten essential oils in vitro. Microbios, 86(349): 237-246. Retrieved 3 May 2013 from

[12] Edwards-Jones V., Buck R., Shawcross S. G., Dawson M. M., & Dunn K. (2004). The effect of essential oils on methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus using a dressing model. Burns, 30(8): 772-777. Retrieved 3 May 2013 from

[13] Definition of MRSA. (2010). GA, USA: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved 3 May 2013 from

[14] Malik T., Singh P., Pant S., Chauhan N., & Lohani H. (2011). Potentiation of antimicrobial activity of ciprofloxacin by Pelargonium graveolens essential oil against selected uropathogens.
Phytotherapy Research, 25(8): 1225-1228. doi: 10.1002/ptr.3479. Retrieved 5 May 2013

[15] Radulovic N. S., Dekic M. S., Stojanovic-Radic Z. Z., & Zoranic S. K. (2010). Geranium macrorrhizum L. (Geraniaceae) essential oil: a potent agent against Bacillus subtilis.
Chemistry & Biodiversity, 7(11): 2783-2800. doi: 10.1002/cbdv.201000100. Retrieved 3
May 2013 from

[16] Panahi Y. et al. (2012). Investigation of the effectiveness of Syzygium aromaticum, Lavandula angustifolia and Geranium robertianum essential oils in the treatment of acute external otitis: A comparative trial with ciprofloxacin. Journal of Microbiology, Immunology and Infection, pii: S1684-1182(12)00214-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jmii.2012.10.002.
Retrieved 5 May 2013 from

[17] Maruyama N. et al. (2008). Protective activity of geranium oil and its component, geraniol, in combination with vaginal washing against vaginal candidiasis in mice. Biological &
Pharmaceutical Bulletin
, 31(8): 1501-1506. Retrieved 5 May 2013 from

[18] Sabzghabaee A. M. et al. (2011). Clinical evaluation of the essential oil of Pelargonium graveolens for the treatment of denture stomatitis. Dental Research Journal (Isfahan), 8(Suppl1): S105-S108. Retrieved 5 May 2013 from

[19] Rana V. S., Juyal J. P., & Blazquez M. A. (). Chemical constituents of essential oil of Pelargonium graveolens leaves. International Journal of Aromatherapy, 12(4): 216-218. Retrieved 5 May 2013 from

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