Pelargonium graveolens or Pelargonium x asperum, as well known as Geranium belongs to the Geraniaceae family.
Did you know that Pelargonium name derives from the Greek word ‘pelargos’ meaning stork and the plant took after the birds name because it is thought to resemble a stork’s bill.
There are more than 600 different species of cultivated geranium. It is a plant that is widely grown for ornamental purposes. Only about 10 varieties are cultivated for their oil and among them the Pelargonium graveolens oil of the Reunion Islands (Bourbon) is thought to be of highest quality. Most of the species originate from South Africa and only after the 17th century it was introduced to Europe. Becoming a beloved plant for the gardens it is found today in most frost-free areas. Nowadays it is widely cultivated for the essential oil production in the Bourbon, Egypt, China and Mediterranean. The regional variety of course also gives a variety in quality and aromatic sense of the essential oil.
The French chemist Recluz was the first to distill geranium leaves in 1819 and since then geranium oil became a significant fragrance ingredient, which many times substitutes rose oil.
All the parts of the geranium plant are aromatic. Geranium oil is a greenish-yellow liquid that has a sweet, floral, rose-like aroma, as well as freshy, slightly citrusy due to aldehydes and spicy and it is considered a middle note. It is mainly steam distilled from the flowers and the leaves, but in Morocco it is also produced as an absolute and concrete.
Going back in time, we find that Egyptians used it against cancerous tumors. Also in Europe it was planted around houses to scare off the evil spirits. Traditionally it is used for haemorrhoids, hemorrhage and ulcers.
Therapeutic properties of geranium essential oil.
Tests have shown that geranium has strong antibacterial action. According to its chemical analysis geranium is also analgesic, antispasmodic and calming to the nervous system. Balancing and regulating the hormones for the endocrine system. It is anticoagulant, bactericidal and tonic for the circulation and immune system, as well as antifungal, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antiseptic and cell generator for the skin, muscles and body tissues. Also it is bactericidal for the respiratory system and diuretic for the urinary. Finally it is decongestant for the reproductive and digestive system, as well as stimulant for the last.
Geranium is full in alcohols, which means that it is a gentle oil but also powerful in action. It is analgesic, antiseptic, antiviral, uplifting and at the same time calming. It is a very use friendly – non toxic, non irritant, non sensitizing essential oil. But especially the Bourbon type should not be used knit on hypersensitive skins.
In general geranium is good for skin problems like acne, eczema, dermatitis, bruises, burns, haemorrhoids, dry skin, athlete’s foot, psoriasis, ulcers, wounds, cuts. Also it is very good for oedema, poor circulation, cellulite, varicose veins, and fluid retention. It helps the pancreas, liver and kidneys.
Last but not least, geranium from an emotionally point of view is thought to support security, receptivity and intimacy feelings.
Geranium blends nicely with lavender, citrus oils, sweet thyme and sweet marjoram.