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Health Benefits of Geranium Essential Oil

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Updated April 24, 2014

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

Geranium essential oils
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Geranium essential oil is a type of essential oil commonly used in aromatherapy. Sourced from the flowers and leaves of the Pelargonium graveolens plant, geranium essential oil is said to offer a variety of health benefits.

Geranium essential oil contains a number of compounds thought to enhance health, including citronellol and geraniol.

How Does Geranium Essential Oil Work?

Inhaling the aroma of geranium essential oil (or absorbing geranium essential oil through the skin) is thought to transmit messages to a brain region involved in controlling emotions. This brain region, known as the limbic system, also influences the nervous system. Aromatherapy proponents suggest that essential oils may affect biological factors, including heart rate, stress levels, blood pressure, breathing, and immune function.

Health Benefits of Geranium Essential Oil

While preliminary research suggests that geranium essential oil may offer certain health benefits, there is currently a lack of research testing the health effects of aromatherapeutic use of geranium essential oil.

For example, a preliminary study published in the Iranian Journal of Microbiology in 2012 found that geranium essential oil may act as an antimicrobial (a substance that destroys or suppresses the growth of microorganisms, including bacteria and fungi).

In addition, a preliminary study published in Lipids in Health and Disease in 2012 indicates that geranium essential oil may help protect against diabetes. In tests on rats, the study's authors determined that animals treated with geranium essential oil experienced a significant decrease in blood sugar levels. The study's authors note that geranium essential oil appears to offer antioxidant effects when taken orally. However, it's important to note that geranium essential oil may have toxic effects when ingested.

It's also important to note that neither of these studies tested the aromatherapeutic use of geranium essential oil, and that more research is needed before geranium essential oil can be recommended in treatment of any health condition.

Uses for Geranium Essential Oil

In aromatherapy, geranium essential oil is typically used to treat the following problems:

  • acne
  • anxiety
  • depression
  • insomnia
  • sore throat

Geranium essential oil is also used to promote emotional stability, alleviate pain, stimulate healing from burns and wounds, enhance mood, and reduce inflammation.

In addition, geranium essential oil is sometimes used as an insect repellant.

How to Use Geranium Essential Oil

When combined with a carrier oil (such as jojoba, sweet almond, or avocado), geranium essential oil can be applied directly to the skin or added to baths.

Geranium essential oil also can be inhaled after sprinkling a few drops of the oil onto a cloth or tissue, or by using an aromatherapy diffuser or vaporizer.

Safety

Geranium essential oil should not be taken internally without the supervision of a health professional. Internal use of geranium essential oil may have toxic effects.

In addition, some individuals may experience irritation or an allergic reaction when applying geranium essential oil to the skin.

Pregnant women and children should consult their primary health care providers prior to using essential oils.

Learn more about how to use geranium essential oil safely.

Alternatives To Geranium Essential Oil

Several other types of essential oils have been found to offer health effects similar to purported benefits of geranium essential oil.

For example, lavender essential oil may help reduce anxiety and promote healthy sleep. In addition, orange essential oil, lemon essential oil, and jasmine essential oil may help improve mood.

Where To Find Geranium Essential Oil

Here are some tips on purchasing essential oils.

Widely available for purchase online, geranium essential oil is sold in many natural-foods stores and in stores specializing in self-care products.

Sources

Ghannadi A, Bagherinejad M, Abedi D, Jalali M, Absalan B, Sadeghi N. "Antibacterial activity and composition of essential oils from Pelargonium graveolens L'Her and Vitex agnus-castus L." Iran J Microbiol. 2012 Dec;4(4):171-6.

Boukhris M, Bouaziz M, Feki I, Jemai H, El Feki A, Sayadi S. "Hypoglycemic and antioxidant effects of leaf essential oil of Pelargonium graveolens L'Hér. in alloxan induced diabetic rats." Lipids Health Dis. 2012 Jun 26;11:81.

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