Common names include rose geranium, old fashion rose geranium, and rose-scent geranium. "Rose geranium" is sometimes used to refer to Pelargonium incrassatum or its synonym Pelargonium roseum – the herbal name. Commercial vendors often list the source of geranium or rose geranium essential oil as Pelargonium graveolens, regardless of its botanical name. Many plants are cultivated under this species name.
Pelargonium graveolens is an uncommon species native to South Africa, Zimbabwe and Mozambique. Pelargonium comes from the Greek pelargos which means stork. Due to the shape of their fruit, pelargoniums are also known as stork's bills.
Pelargonium graveolens is an erect, multi-branched shrub, that grows up to 1.5 m and has a spread of 1 m. The leaves are deeply incised, velvety and soft to the touch. The flowers vary from pale pink to almost white and the plant flowers from August to January. The leaves vary in shape and scent, which may be strongly rose-scented. Some plants are very strongly scented while others have little to no scent.
There are many cultivars which have a wide variety of scents, including rose, citrus, mint and cinnamon as well as various fruits. A lemony, citronella scented cultivar is meant to repel mosquitos.
Both true species and cultivated plants may be called rose geranium – often called geraniums. These plants have great importance in the perfume industry. A modern analysis listed the presence of over 50 organic compounds in the essential oil. Commonly known as geranium oil, sold for aromatherapy and massage therapy applications, it is cultivated on a large scale and distilled for its scent. They are also sometimes used to supplement or adulterate more expensive rose oils. The essential oil is an ingredient used in a "natural" hemorrhoid treatment. As a flavoring, the flowers and leaves are used in cakes, jams, jellies, ice creams, sorbets, salads, sugars, and teas. It is also used as a flavoring agent in some pipe tobaccos.
The Meskwaki (Mesquakie) Indians brewed a root tea for toothache and for painful nerves and mashed the roots for treating hemorrhoids.
GERANIUM OIL USES
Geranium oil's fresh aromatic scent helps balance mind and body, one of the most preferred in aromatherapy because it slows several skin conditions such as acne, eczema and blemishes, helps maintain overall health of the body and is less sensitive on the skin.
Geranium oil is used in herbal medicine because of its astringent properties, a substance that causes contraction of the tissues and stops bleeding. Geranium oil has the capability to make gums, muscles, blood vessels and skin tissues contract, which is why it is used in numerous anti-ageing and anti-wrinkle creams.
Acne/Anti-Aging - Geranium oil has excellent astringent properties which contract tissues due to its astringent properties, helping to keep skin young and healthy. Regular use of geranium oil on your skin is effective in fading scars and blemishes. It improves blood circulation in skin cells, helping to eliminate the appearance of scars and dark spots and equally distributing melanin.
Anxiety/Stress - The sedative property of geranium oil reduces stress, anxiety and depression. Use by massaging on the body, or inhaling the vapor of this oil. A drop of this oil, added to your bath water, provides a soothing effect on your skin, making it glowing and healthy.
Arthritis/Rheumatism - Geranium oil is a mild analgesic. Used as a massage oil, it has proven to be extremely effective in reducing pain and inflammation, relieving aching muscles. Mix with a carrier oil and apply topically to the affected area(s).
Cuts/Burns - Geranium oil has antifungal and antiseptic properties which helps to speed up healing of wounds by inducing blood clotting, making it an excellent remedy for treating cuts and burns, as well as a variety of other skin problems. It also keeps toxins from reaching the bloodstream through open wounds.
Deodorant - The variety of scents make geranium oil an effective deodorant, as the fragrance is long lasting. Properties that regulate sebum production and antibacterial properties, contained in geranium oil, help to eliminate body odor and bacteria.
Detox - Use of frankincense increases the rate of urination and eliminates toxins from the body, making it useful for detoxification. It also aids in digestive function and helps inhibit excess gas in the intestines.
Eczema/Athletes Foot - Geranium oil has antifungal and antiseptic properties making it excellent for treating eczema and fungal infections, such as athletes foot. To treat athlete's foot, add five drops of geranium oil to warm water and sea salt (keep in a dark bottle). Massage on feet twice daily.
Fever - Geranium oil works as an antibiotic to reduce fever, lower body temperature, and fight infection from viruses and bacteria, such as flu. It also reduces toxicity of the body through perspiration, cleaning out glands of any foreign toxins that can result in a variety of skin conditions.
Hemorrhoids - Add 1-2 drops of geranium oil to a small jar of cold cream or one teaspoon of wheat germ oil for treatment of hemorrhoids.
Insecticide - The terpene content of geranium oil makes it a natural insect repellent. It can also be used to relieve itching from insect bites.
Insomnia - For an excellent night’s sleep, as for anxiety and stress, use of geranium oil for its sedative properties, relaxes muscles and releases tension.
Menopause - Geranium oil aids in stimulating the adrenal cortex and is often used to balance the generation of androgens during menopause.
Menstruation – As a blended massage oil or diluted in the bath, geranium oil can alleviate pain due to menstruation. It also helps regulate the production of thyroid hormones and the release of ova.
Oral - Geranium oil's antiseptic qualities help strengthen gums, prevent bad breath, cavities, toothaches, and canker sores.
Pain - Geranium oil, used as a massage oil, reduces pain and inflammation to relieve aching muscles.
Sore Throat - With frankincense oil’s astringent, tonic and antiseptic effects, it is used to treat sore throat.
Geranium oil is generally safe and said to have few side effects when used properly. In some rare cases, geranium oil may cause skin sensitivities and one may experience certain side effects. When used in massage, geranium oil should not be applied directly to the skin, but diluted with a carrier oil such as olive oil, jojoba oil, coconut oil, or sweet almond oil.
Performing a skin test before use is recommended. Put a drop of geranium oil on a small portion of your skin and wait 24 hours. If any sign of skin irritation occurs, discontinue use.
To prevent undesirable health results, one should seek a doctor’s or natural holistic practitioner's advice before orally taking any type of essential oil.
As with other essential oils, geranium oil should not be taken during pregnancy, or by infants and children under the age of six.