Geranium (Pelargonium graveolens) is a species of evergreen perennial shrub in the Geraniaceae family. It is native to regions of Southern Africa and thrives in warm temperate and tropical environments.
Geranium plants can grow up to five feet in height and around three feet in diameter. The leaves grow along long stalks and are deeply lobed and detailed in their shape. They are bright green in color, sometimes with variegation and velvet-like texture that comes from the many glandular hairs that cover them. Geranium flowers grow in clusters at the end of the stem and can vary from white to pale pink, to deep pink in color. They are small and have five oblong, narrow petals with two to seven stamens in each bloom.
Ancient Egyptians used Geranium for the complexion as well as to balance hormones and improve mood. Geranium has been used in the traditional medicine of many cultures for its soothing effects on the skin and to help heal burns and respiratory issues. Geranium was introduced to Europe in the early seventeenth century with trade being established by the middle of the century to acquire the plants. The Dutch East India Company traded with South Africa for Geranium that was then taken to Holland and bred to obtain specific qualities. Fresh Geranium leaves were used in finger bowls by the upper class in seventeenth-century Europe as well. The plant itself became commonly used in Europe as a protective barrier around homes as it was thought to ward off evil spirits. Geranium plants were brought to the Americas by early colonists and it is said that Thomas Jefferson grew them in the White House gardens. Geranium flowers and leaves became popular for use in flower arrangements in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. In 1932, Louise Beebe Wilder claimed that "Once no bouquet was deemed complete without a bit of this fragrant foliage," in her book, “The Fragrant Path”.
Geranium has always been popular for its powerful aroma causing the production of the essential oil to be attempted around the world. Commercial production of Geranium Essential Oil began at the beginning of the nineteenth century in the Grasse region of southern France. From there, Geranium plants were exported to newly colonized countries such as Algeria to develop new areas of the essential oil industry. Some areas that have attempted to establish significant Geranium Essential Oil production have not seen great success. Small amounts of the oil have been produced in Spain, Madagascar, Morocco, and other regions of Africa throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Small quantities of Geranium Essential Oil were first produced in Egypt by a French grower named Charles Gernier around 1930 and the region remains a major producer of the oil. The original plants used for production in Egypt were also imported from the Grasse region. When growing coffee beans became unprofitable for farmers in the Congo in the early 1930s, they turned to essential oil-bearing plants such as Geranium. By the late 1940s, there were three commercial distilleries in the area. Today, Geranium Essential Oil remains a popular and versatile choice in perfumery as well as aromatherapy applications.
Geranium cultivated from essential oil production will be harvested around four to six months after planting and it can be cut three to five times in the year. Essential oil is concentrated in the leaves and young shoots of the plant. When Geranium is harvested by hand, one complete stalk is left at each cutting to continue to provide nutrients to the plant and support growth. When it is machine harvested, the entire plant is cut at a height that allows regrowth. Geranium grows as a long-term perennial and can be harvested for three to five years. After harvest, Geranium leaves are left to dry for three to six days to reduce moisture content and increase essential oil recovery. Geranium Essential Oil is extracted from the leaves of the plant through steam distillation. The resulting oil is thin and pale yellow with a fresh, sweet, and rosy floral aroma.
Benefits & Uses
When used in aromatherapy, Geranium Essential Oil is known to have calming properties that can promote a general sense of well-being. It can help to reduce stress and anxiety while also balancing the emotions and encouraging relaxation. Geranium can also combat symptoms of anxiety and depression such as fatigue, tension, and sadness. It works to improve sleep onset and quality, providing relief to those suffering from insomnia and other sleep disorders. Geranium Essential Oil is known to improve cognitive function which can enhance concentration and memory.
When used topically, Geranium Essential Oil is known to be beneficial for the skin and supports a healthy complexion. It helps to remove dead skin cells and promotes skin cell regeneration for a smoother texture. Geranium Oil also contains astringent properties that work to tighten skin and reduce signs of aging such as wrinkles and sagging. It increases the production of collagen, helping to enhance skin elasticity and maintain a smooth, firm complexion. Geranium can help to accelerate wound healing and the fading of scars and marks. Geranium Essential Oil works to balance oil and sebum production on the scalp which can promote hair growth and overall hair health. Geranium Essential Oil has anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties that help it to soothe skin issues such as acne, eczema, and psoriasis. It works to improve circulation which can help to regulate blood pressure and reduce swelling and pain.
Here are some recipes using Geranium Essential Oil that we love...
Complete Balance Diffuser Blend
- 3 drops of Geranium Essential Oil
- 3 drops of Lavender Essential Oil
- 2 drops of Vetiver Essential Oil
- 2 drops of Bergamot Essential Oil
Add water to your diffuser up to the fill line. Add drops of the essential oil blend. This diffuser blend recipe is formulated for a 200 ml ultrasonic diffuser. Adjust the amount according to the size and directions of your diffuser.
Refresh & Repair Roll-On Treatment
- 10 ml Amber Roll-On Bottle
- ⅓ oz of Fractionated Coconut Oil
- 5 drops of Geranium Essential Oil
- 5 drops of Frankincense Essential Oil
- 5 drops of Tea Tree Essential Oil
Add all the ingredients to the roll on the bottle and shake well to combine. Roll on to dark spots, wrinkles, scars, and blemishes.
Oh So Smooth Skin Soothing Lotion Bar
- 4 oz of Sweet Almond Oil
- 4 oz of Cocoa Butter Wafers
- 4 oz of Beeswax Pearls
- 20 drops of Geranium Essential Oil
- 20 drops of Cedarwood Essential Oil
- 10 drops of Chamomile Essential Oil
- Heat safe Molds
Combine Sweet Almond Oil, Cocoa Butter, and Beeswax in a heat-safe bowl and melt over a double boiler. Stir the ingredients continuously until they are fully melted and combined. Remove the mixture from heat, and let it cool for a few minutes. Add the essential oils and then gently stir until they are completely integrated. Carefully pour the mixture into the molds and gently tap the molds on the work surface to release any air bubbles. Allow the lotion bars to cool and harden for several hours before removing them from molds.
Goodnight World Linen Spray
- 4 oz Amber Glass Bottle with Spray Top
- 2 oz of High Proof Alcohol
- 2 oz of Witch Hazel Extract
- 10 drops of Geranium Essential Oil
- 10 drops of Lavender Essential Oil
- 10 drops of Chamomile Essential Oil
Add 2 oz of high percentage alcohol to the bottle. Add the essential oils and fill the remainder of the bottle with witch hazel, leaving a little space at the top. Shake well before each use. Spray on linens and around the room before sleep.
Circulation Support Bath Soak
- 1 cup of Epsom Salt
- ½ cup of Coarse Mineral Sea Salt
- ¼ cup of Fractionated Coconut Oil
- 10 drops of Geranium Essential Oil
- 10 drops of Peppermint Essential Oil
- 10 drops of Cypress Essential Oil
Mix all the ingredients thoroughly and store them in a tightly closing container. Add a handful to a warm bath and soak.