Rose geranium essential oil is derived by steam distillation from the leaves and the stems of the Pelargonium gravolens which is an aromatic, evergreen shrub native to South Africa. Rose geranium essential oil has a thin consistency and a rich, sweet rose-like fragrance. It is known to blend well with a number of other essential oils like basil, bergamot, cedarwood clary sage, jasmine and lavender.
It is widely used in the perfume and cosmetics industry owing to its fragrance and also used as a food flavoring but it also has a wide range of therapeutic benefits which range from skin care to sore throats and digestive issues. There is a relatively large amount of scientific research into the efficacy of rose geranium essential oil in treating a number of health conditions and more research continues to be done to explore its therapeutic potential.
Rose geranium’s health benefits owe a great deal to its many medicinal properties which include:
1. Anti-inflammatory uses
Rose geranium essential oil has potent anti-inflammatory qualities that can help with a whole host of diseases caused by inflammation.
Recent research published in 2013 was carried out to evaluate the effectiveness of rose geranium essential oil as a safe and natural anti-inflammatory agent and an alternative to pharmaceuticals which run the risk of adverse side effects.
Rose geranium essential oil reduced the inflammation in ear edema by up to 88% and according to researchers its effect compared favorably with the well-known anti-inflammatory drug-diclofenac. Diclofenac is commonly used to treat arthritis and researchers concluded that rose geranium essential oil had significant future potential in treating inflammatory disease.
2. Antibacterial uses
Rose geranium essential oil is known to be able to destroy bacteria and prevent infection from spreading. Geranium essential oil can be applied topically to minor cuts and wounds to ensure that the bacteria is stopped at source.
There is a certain amount of research that supports the antibacterial activity of rose geranium oil such as this study conducted in 2012 which tested the ability of rose geranium oil to inhibit a range of bacterial strains including staphylococcus aureus. (2) The study demonstrated that nearly all of the bacterial strains tested were susceptible to rose geranium oil. The results compared favorably with antimicrobial medication such as amoxicillin.
3. Antioxidant ability
Antioxidants are important for our health and general wellbeing- they can reverse cellular damage caused by free radicals and help reduce some of the signs of aging. Research published in 2012 demonstrated that rose geranium essential oil demonstrated significantly effective antioxidant activity in diabetic rats. (4)
4. Skin Conditions
When it comes to skin complaints, rose geranium essential oil is considered to be one of the best essential oils in dealing with a wide variety of conditions. Because of its antibacterial and antifungal properties rose geranium oil can be used to treat any number of skin complaints like psoriasis and eczema as well as less severe but common skin conditions like oily and congested skin.
Because it is a rich source of antioxidants, rose geranium essential oil can also help the skin to retain a younger and healthier appearance.
This oil also has cicatrisant abilities meaning that you can massage it into scars and stretch marks to help remove or at least fade the marks away. What is more, its astringent properties mean that you can use it to tighten sagging skin and loose muscles and basically rejuvenate your skin’s appearance.
5. Anxiety and Depression
Like many essential oils, rose geranium is often used in aromatherapy to combat the symptoms of stress, anxiety and depression. It has an uplifting aroma and enhances the mood. Whenever you feel the need, try inhaling rose geranium oil either by diffusing it or directly from your hands.
You could also try massaging a drop or two into your neck and temples whenever you are feeling especially anxious or stressed.
6. Athlete’s foot
Rose geranium essential oil has anti-fungal properties which make it a suitable and effective treatment for many fungal conditions including athlete’s foot and jock itch. To treat the condition, you can either massage the oil directly into your feet a few times a day or make a soothing footbath by adding a 4 or 5 drops of rose geranium oil to a footbath of hot water.
7. Detoxification and Diuretic effect
Diuretics are used to help increase the frequency and quantity of urination. This helps the body to remove unwanted toxins from the system and diuretics are prescribed for a number of conditions.
Rose geranium essential oil is a natural diuretic which along with removing toxins from your body can also aid digestive functions and reduce blood pressure by eliminating excess sodium.
Let’s not forget that essential oils are not only used to treat medical conditions. The sweet, floral scent of rose geranium is both calming and uplifting. Diffuse it around your home to get rid of any lingering smells.
Because rose geranium it is not a harsh oil it can even be used on the skin to eliminate body odor. Consider massaging your body with rose geranium oil before physical activity. Because it is a circulatory oil, it is released from the body when you perspire meaning you will smell pleasant even when you sweat.
9. Denture Stomatitis and Anti-Fungal abilities
The potential for rose geranium essential oil was demonstrated by Iranian researchers in 2012. Patients who applied a topical gel formula with 1% rose geranium oil for two weeks showed significant improvements with 34% experiencing a complete recovery and over 50% experiencing partial recovery. (4)
Further research has demonstrated that rose geranium essential oil can effectively inhibit the growth of fungi specifically candida species of fungus. (5)
According to anecdotal evidence, rose geranium essential oil can also be used to relieve and treat hemorrhoids.
How to Use it
Rose geranium essential oil can be used in a variety of different ways depending on the ailment that you wish to treat.
- Inhalation is a very common way of using this oil as inhalation is known to affect your emotional wellbeing by sending messages to the limbic system.
- To treat cuts and minor wounds, you can apply it directly like any antiseptic cream then cover the affected area with gauze.
- Dilute it with carrier oil to make a soothing massage oil.
- You can treat hemorrhoids by adding a drop to a cold cream jar.
- Add a few drops of rose geranium essential oil to your warm bath.
- Rose geranium oil is considered to be safe and is not toxic but as with all essential oils, it should not be taken internally.
- Before applying it directly to the skin for massage purposes, you should dilute it with a suitable carrier oil.
- Make sure that you do a patch test on a discrete area of skin to ensure that you are not allergic to it.
- Because of the limited research into the effect of essential oils on the unborn child and young children, pregnant and breast feeding women should exercise caution before using this or any other essential oil.
Essential oils with very similar properties and therapeutic benefits to rose geranium oil include lavender, orange and jasmine essential oils.
The species these research studies are based on is Pelargonium graveolens or Pelargonium asperum. Now Foods sells a quality Geranium oil made of Pelargonium graveolens. Plant Therapy has a Geranium Bourbon made of Pelargonium asperum.
The real differences between these oils is probably minor. To explore the differences between these varieties–read this article (external link). The key is to get a good citronellol content in any oil.
The ISO 4731 min/max standards for citronellol content are 40%/58% for Egyptian/Graveolens (Now Lab) and 40%/58% for Chinese/Asperum (Plant Therapy). So really, either Oil should provide the key ingredient in similar amounts.