Pelargonium graveolens, a member of the family Geraniaceae, originally comes from South Africa. It is also known as rose geranium and is grown now in countries as diverse as France, Egypt, North Africa and Russia. It is an attractive plant to look at and, like all members of the plant family to which it belongs, a pleasure to see in flower. The leaves are highly aromatic and give off a distinctive smell when brushed against or rubbed between the fingers. Varieties of geranium have been used since ancient times in the herbal medicine of different countries.
Geranium oil has been an important asset to the perfume industry ever since it was first distilled in France in the early eighteenth century. The essential oil is extracted by steam distillation from the leaves and stems of the plant, which are harvested just before flowering begins, when the scent of the plant is strongest. The oil is green in color and smells fresh and rosy.
The properties of geranium oil are varied, but in the main it is an oil that is highly valued for its balancing, regulating qualities. It can be used in massage, bathing, or inhalation (either directly, in steam inhalation, or in a room vaporizer) and has the advantage of being generally nontoxic and non irritant.
Geranium oil is often used in the treatment of menstrual disorders, especially premenstrual tension with associated fluid retention, and menopausal problems such as hot flushes. Its action is soothing and calming, and it works to alleviate anxiety and jumpiness, or restlessness, without having any unwanted sedative effect. It has analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties and, when used in the bath, will soothe the heat of acute cystitis and can also relieve some of the discomfort of chickenpox or the pain of shingles.
The anti-inflammatory properties of geranium oil also make it a favored choice in the treatment of many skin conditions, such as eczema and acute dermatitis. It is also quite effective in the treatment of acne. Because of its balancing qualities, geranium oil can be used for the benefit of both dry and oily skins with no ill effects. In blends, geranium is one of the oils with a fragrance that blends well with many others, increasing its versatility.
Suitable methods of use
- Hair care
- Skin care
None. Geranium is generally perfectly safe to use in dilution on all but the most hypersensitive skins.