• Jessica Unwin

Geranium Monograph (Pelargonium graveolens)

Geranium is known as a caring and comforting essential oil, it will boost your mood and soothe your worries with its strong, rose-like scent and uplifting, minty tones. It will help to harmonise your emotions and bring balance at difficult times. For the skin, Geranium oil has a cooling and restorative effect and is excellent for inflammatory conditions such as acne, and for reducing the appearance of wrinkles, scars, and blemishes. It is non-toxic, non-sensitising and non-irritant and suitable for all skin types.


Photo by Jakob Søby on Unsplash

Geranium essential oil is steam distilled from the leaves and green stems of the plant. The plant family is Geraniaceae. There are hundreds of pelargonium species, but only ten used to make the essential oil. The plant is a small, spreading shrub growing up to 1m in height with small, rose-pink flowers. Plants are harvested shortly after flowering to capture the highest concentrations of the oil, which comes from the plant’s leaves and stems, not the flowers.


Native to South Africa, the Pelargonium species were introduced to European gardens around the 17th century as ornamental plants. They were, and are, popularly known as geraniums due to mistakes made by botanists of the time who wrongly assumed that geraniums and pelargoniums were one and the same, as their seeds looked so similar. The name ‘geranium’ stuck and is now well and truly part of the English language. Most of the world’s geranium essential oil is now produced in China and Egypt.


The essential oil itself is a clear to pale green liquid that takes its time to come out of the bottle but is well worth the wait. The aroma is floral and herbaceous at the same time. Strong and sweet.


What is Geranium essential oil good for?


Anti-depressant – Geranium essential oil is both sedative and uplifting and can be beneficial for anxiety and depression. It can help balance extreme emotions leaving us with a feeling of calm strength and security. It is a stimulant of the adrenal cortex whose hormones are essentially of a regulating and balancing nature, and this can help reduce restlessness and help to treat anxiety in children and adults.


Supports Women’s health – The hormones produced by the adrenal cortex also include sex hormones, so geranium may also be used to help balance hyposecretion of either androgens or oestrogens at times of ovulation, around your period and during the menopause. This in turn can be helpful for moodiness, mood swings, hormone-related anxiety, irritability, PMT and feeling emotionally withdrawn. Applied topically in a carrier oil, geranium essential oil can help reduce breast tenderness and help to cool hot flushes. Its mild diuretic properties can help with water retention and puffiness.


Skin care – Geranium essential oil is popular in skincare not only for its fragrance, but because it is a balancing oil that helps regulate the production of sebum. This makes it valuable for all skin types whether dry, oily or combination. Its antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties help to control acne and help to cool dry, inflamed skin. Geranium essential oil is therefore helpful for conditions such as eczema, dermatitis, dandruff, burns, fungal infections and shingles.


Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

Aromatherapy massage is one of our most popular treatments here at Emma Kenny Massage Therapies. A bespoke blend of essential oils is created for you depending on your needs – whether you feel stressed or anxious, are going through a difficult time of change, or need a massage blend to help with sensitive skin, there will always be an aromatherapy blend to support you. The therapeutic properties of the essential oils are absorbed through the skin and into the bloodstream, working their magic inside and out. We have a number of aromatherapy blog posts on our blog if you want to find out more, and if you haven’t already tried an aromatherapy massage in our cosy, Cambridge treatment rooms, book now, to discover the benefits for yourself!

Written by Jessica Unwin, Associate Therapist at EKMT and trainee Aromatherapist