Geranium is often referred to as the “poor man’s rose” and is a powerful floral oil in the essential oil world.
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If you can’t grab a rose, grab a geranium!
This is exciting stuff because if you are like me and are obsessed with the smell of roses but not super excited about the punch, it packs to your wallet, geranium oil is an excellent, more economical choice with a plethora of properties to pumping up your health!
In this article, you will learn all things geranium from where it comes from, it’s history, how it’s processed, how you can make your own to its health benefits, and what it can be used in combination with.
It is an oil that is created when the leaves of the flower are steamed and distilled. It is always suggested to use a carrier oil with geranium as it can cause skin irritation.
Geranium oil contains geraniol which is a strong floral scent that is widely used in the perfume industry to substitute the far costlier rose oil.
Geranium Oil Back in the Day
Geraniums are native to South Africa and were used commonly among Egyptians to keep their complexions clear, and it was even believed to treat tumors. Interestingly, geranium essential oil was also used as a breath freshener.
As time passed and the geranium made it to Europe, the flowers, leaves, and stems were used from table centerpieces to make teas and jams.
How Do We Get the Oil?
Geranium essential oil is extracted using a process called steam distillation.
The definition of steam distillation, according to Columbia University, is, “Steam distillation is used for high boiling point substances that decompose before the boiling point is reached. In this case, instead of using a vacuum, the liquid in question is mixed with another, immiscible liquid. The presence of the second liquid causes both to boil at a temperature lower than the regular boiling points of either liquid”.
What this means for geranium leaves is that they are steamed in the water where the oil exudes from the leaves. From there, the oil is released into the water, where it stays separate and awaits the separation process to be bottled.
Can I Make My Own Geranium Oil?
It’s a bit of a process but in short, yes. Here’s what you do:
- Collect your geranium leaves, about five generous handfuls. (I know, it takes a lot!). There are a variety of types of geraniums, and you want to choose the one with the most fragrance. This would be the rose geranium. If your geraniums are not fragrant, this process is a moot point. Go for the gold! (Or strongest smelling rose geranium you can find)
- Next, be sure to wash your geranium leaves thoroughly. Be mindful of washing off all of the bugs, dirt, and debris your leaves may have collected and allow them to dry.
- Take about 1/5 of the leaves you collected and put them in a mason jar with about 1 ½ cups of your favored UNSCENTED carrier oil. You do not want any other smells, like coconut oil, competing with the geranium oil. Jojoba, sunflower, or grapeseed oil are all suitable choices.
- You are going to close up the jar, give it a gentle shake or three, and leave in a warm place for about a week. A warm place is critical, but take care not to leave the jar in direct sunlight since the leaves can spoil.
- After a week has passed, take a fine mesh strainer and cheesecloth and begin filtering your oil. Two passes should do it, but the more you filter, the purer your oil will be. Take care to remove all of the geranium leaves. As tempting as it may be to leave them in, remember, the leaves are organic material and will begin to rot. Leaving the leaves in the oil will cause the oil to go rancid.
- For a more concentrated aroma, repeat steps 1-5 and add to your already beautifully smelling DIY geranium oil.
- Once you are satisfied with the scent of your oil and you have strained it thoroughly, funnel into a decorative glass container that closes and seals tightly and enjoy!
What are the health benefits of geranium?
Geranium’s top properties are hemostatic, detoxifying, regenerative, anti-allergenic, anti-hemorrhagic, and antitoxic. All of these restorative properties are aligned with helping support the following functions and conditions.
- Liver, gall bladder, pancreas, and kidney support
- Cuts and wounds
- PMS and hormone balancing (including menopause)
- Low libido
- Dry or oily hair and skin
- Body odor
- Emotional balance
As you can see from this list, geranium has an overall theme of balancing. If you look at the spectrum of conditions, it is bringing one deficit or abundance back to the middle.
It works if you have oily skin, it brings it back into balance just as it is useful if you have dry skin and need added moisture.
It works within the female body in regards to PMS and menopause. While PMS can create an abundance of estrogen, menopause creates a deficit. Geranium oil is suggested to bring these hormones back to a more balanced state regardless of where your body falls on the pendulum.
The Best Geranium Oils
This list is subjective and short. I have used many different geranium oils over the years and have learned one thing. You get what you pay for.
Difference in Quality
While opting for the less expensive oils is for sure an option if you’re just diffusing it, I believe in quality over sacrificing any potential loss that may occur when using a cheaper oil. With less expensive oils, it sometimes means more filler scents to make up for what isn’t there. It doesn’t take long for your nose to notice the difference.
You also need to consider what you are sacrificing for money. If you are seeking alternative and supporting supplements, this is not the time or place to cut corners to save a buck or two.
Economical oils are economical for a reason. They’re cheaper to make. It takes over five handfuls of geranium leaves at your house just to make one small bottle of oil. When you are distilling the leaves to create a high-grade concentrated oil, it takes about 100 times as many leaves. This means it takes a massive amount of geranium plants to grow and harvest to make high-quality geranium essential oil.
Making geranium is a labor-intensive trade, and the benefits are equally valuable. So, the top manufacturers that make the cut are usually DoTerra and Young Living brands.
Doterra Vs Young Living
Both manufacturers have an excellent, well-regarded process for creating their own oils. The aromas vary slightly as each manufacturer uses different geraniums from different suppliers. However, both companies take care to maintain a consistent scent of their own geranium oil.
DoTerra offers straight geranium oil for purchase. They also have two blends, their metabolic blend, and digestion blend, both containing geranium oil.
Young Living has a seed to seal guarantee with its oils maintaining ethical production and the highest quality geranium oil on the market. And at $43 a bottle, it is worth every penny. It is found in five of their blends as well as in their personal care products.
If you are looking for the potent scent of rose without the potent price of rose oil, Young Living offers a blend called Joy that I have used for years. The same bottle has lasted me well over a year due to its high concentration. Any more than two to three drops in a diffuser and the floral scent can be overwhelming.
Are Geranium Supplements Worth It?
This is a subjective question that comes down to personal chemistry make-up, conditions being treated, or goals wanting to be reached.
Geranium is sought after for its healing and regenerative properties. Restoring things back to their original state if you will.
Uses for Geranium Essential Oil
Some people ingest geranium oil supplements to recover from surgery or dialysis, while some take it for diarrhea relief or pain caused by auto-immune disorders such as shingles.
One of the more recent and highly popular uses of geranium essential oil is ingesting a couple of drops of geranium essential oil as a pre-workout supplement. There are reports that it is an effective pre-workout supplement for athletes. Some reports celebrating its effectiveness are reports with its downsides.
As with any supplement, its effectiveness is primarily based on our chemical makeup, what medications or supplements we are already taking as well as what goals we have in mind when we take something.
As always before taking ANY supplement, do your research and check with your doctor.
What does geranium oil smell like?
High-Quality geranium oil has a luscious floral scent that can sometimes fool a nose for a rose. Geranium is widely used in the perfume and essential oil industry as an addition or supplement for its far pricier cousin, the rose.
In the world of scents, you have different levels of scents and what they mean. The American College of HealthCare Sciences defines the levels within a scent as the following:
- Top Note: This is the first noticeable impression in a blend, and is often the characteristic feature of the oil. It springs swiftly from the aroma, has a sharp tone, and does not last long.
- Body or Middle Note: An essential oil that is a middle note will last for longer (about one to two hours) on a perfume testing strip. The central note of a blend can also be referred to as the “heart” or “bouquet” of the aroma.
- Base Note or Fixative: The base note within a blend appears much later than the first two notes. This is the note that gives a blend its lasting power. The base note can appear a few hours or even a whole day after the perfume testing strip is dry. (Reminder: don’t confuse base note with base oil. A base oil is a fixed oil used to dilute essential oils.)
Geranium oil is considered a middle note, which is excellent news for you and your wallet. Middle notes are classified as such because the middle notes are the longest-lasting notes out of the three. This is why with women’s perfumes, whatever scent is the middle note is what you will smell like the longest.
Are geraniums poisonous?
This answer depends on where you look on the internet and who you consult. The general consensus is geraniums are not poisonous to humans. The ASPCA says yes, geraniums are toxic to dogs and cats. With anything, you can find information to the contrary.
In regards to humans, the answer is no; they are not poisonous to humans. As stated previously, geraniums are frequently used in cakes, teas, jams, and jellies. It can also be used as an on-the-go breath freshener. It’s what they used way back in the days before Listerine, and chewing gum was around.
What does geranium essential oil blend well with?
Geranium blends well with several oils. It just depends on what type of scent you are looking for.
If you are looking for a lighter, fresher scent with a bit of healing, geranium blends excellently with DoTerra’s Wild Orange oil along with a few drops of lime essential oil. When mixed, it smells like springtime, and along with the healing, restorative properties of geranium, you get benefits of immune support from the Wild Orange and uplifting balance from the lime.
Geranium blends well with lavender, sandalwood, and patchouli, creating more of a musky, soft scent that is balancing, calming, and grounding. This oil has a beautiful scent for date night, a cozy night, or a hot bath at the end of a long day. It can also be rubbed on the bottom of your feet before you put your socks on for additional grounding support.
All Things Geranium
As with most essential oils, geranium is yet another powerhouse in the alternative realm of supporting our already fantastic system. We can see how the benefits of geranium have spanned over thousands of years and are used alone with amazing regenerative properties. Geranium essential oil also provides an excellent role as a middle note when used alongside other fantastic essential oils.
This is the fun part for you! Don’t be afraid to play around with your geranium oil to see what blends work for you and which ones you don’t particularly care for.
Just remember to use a high-quality geranium essential oil, and start with only one to two drops in your diffuser or mix it with a carrier oil to apply topically.
So know what you like to start with. For me, while I love the smell of citrus running through my home combating the aromas that come with having pets, I am not a fan of smelling like something I want to eat.
When you make your oils, again start small. Try just a drop or two in a little grapeseed oil just to see what you like. When you find your perfect concoction, write it down, make a bigger batch and funnel it into a sealed glass container.