Geranium (Pelargonium graveolens) is in the geranium family (Geraniaceae). The plant is native to South Africa and was exported to Europe probably in the seventeenth century. From there it was hybridized and re-exported to the various French and British colonies around the world. Now geranium oil does not come from the stinky hybridized plants we have every year on our patios but rather from the “rosey geraniums.” Today geranium is an important oil for blending in the perfume industry, often used as a substitute in the place of rose oil–that’s why it is sometimes referred to as the “poor man’s rose.” Most of the oil comes from the island of Réunion, east of Madagascar although it is cultivated around the world now.
Traditionally geranium has been used since the days of antiquity for skin care, dysentery, hemorrhoids, inflammations and excessive menstrual bleeding. It was also used for diarrhea and peptic ulcers. We would find geranium oil today to have a calming, uplifting and strengthening effect particularly on the nervous system. It is a helpful oil for treating menopausal symptoms including hot flushes and vaginal dryness. It is an effective treatment for dysentery or gastroenteritis. The oil can be diluted with a carrier oil and rubbed on the abdomen for GI disturbances. Geranium helps promote blood circulation and it promotes normal liver function. Geranium oil is most famous for its skin care properties and is good for clearing up oily skin. Geranium is particularly helpful if you feel “stuck” and are afraid to move on to the next stage in life. For emotional healing, geranium is used to encourage solace, adjustment, regeneration, balance, assurance, tranquility, steadiness, and the feeling of being soothed, shielded and mothered.
Primarily geranium acts like a general tonic for the body and mind. It is anti-fungal and particularly helpful for menopausal symptoms. It mixes well with lemon, grapefruit, lavender, rosemary, Roman chamomile, peppermint, clove, clary sage, ginger, palmarosa, ylang ylang, sandalwood, mandarin, juniper, cypress, bergamot, fennel, frankincense, orange, jasmine, and rose. Geranium oil may be diffused, used in steam inhalation or applied topically either directly on the body or diluted with a carrier oil or lotion and rubbed on the body. As for safety, geranium is non-toxic, non-irritating and generally non-sensitizing. Want to learn more about the healing properties of geranium and other essential oils? Consider becoming a certified aromatherapist. Educational courses in healing energy and aromatherapy can help you understand how essential oils heal the body/mind/spirit.