Essential Oil Files: Geranium

Possessing a honeyed, intense sensuality reminiscent of Ylang Ylang, Geranium is both incredibly feminine and rather luxurious. The most beautiful, potent geranium oil (pelargonium granulosum) comes from Madagascar, the place of its origin. Its use has been recorded as far back as ancient Egypt, where it was used to treat cancerous growths. Geranium flowers were originally introduced to Europe in the latter half of the 17th century, where they were often used as a substitute for expensive rose oil, the scent has a pleasing youthful exuberance far beyond that of its grown-up cousin.

The oil has been known to help soothe and cure the symptoms of female hormone imbalance. These include painful periods, mood disruption and aches and pains. Particularly useful when applied topically to the abdomen for menstrual pain (in a carrier oil, dilution 4 drops to 10mL of oil). The effectiveness of aromatherapy against PMS a study was conducted in 2011 amongst Korean students suffering from PMS. Geranium, mixed with other oils reputed to have pain-killing and hormone-balancing effects (clary sage, marjoram, cinnamon, and ginger) and alongside a carrier, was applied to the abdomen in a gentle massage lasting half an hour. Measuring the pain the subjects experienced before and 24 hours after the treatment, researchers discovered the aromatherapy group complained of less discomfort than the group taking medication.

The watchword for geranium is, undoubtedly, balance. This oil (like marjoram) is often used to tie blends together: it possesses an easy character that seems to mix, chameleon-like, with almost any oil, taking on its personality to an extent, but bringing its own sense of richness and exquisite luxury to every blend. Geranium has been proven by researchers operating out of Teikyo University to be a powerful anti-inflammatory, helping to decrease the damaging symptoms of allergic reactions in mice. Furthermore, as a balancing oil, it is incredibly useful as a skin tonic. It works to not only soften and moisturise the delicate epidermis, but also to penetrate and hydrate the skin's deeper layers. It smoothes and reduces redness, blotchiness, and dryness, while moderating oil secretion. Its tendency towards balance also helps enliven and lift the spirits, making it a useful aid against depression. Its sedative action helps calm anxieties.

The oil also has powerful disinfectant properties. Geranium has proven itself to be a destroyer of germs: with its antibacterial, anti-perspirant (body odour is produced by the secretions of bacteria), anti-fungal capabilities, adding geranium into the wash or a floor cleaner is a useful way to kill bugs. It works on bigger bugs, too: it is a potent insecticide. 

Blends well with: Citruses, camphorous scents, intoxicating florals, woody oils, particularly orange, lime, bergamot, rosemary, clary sage, juniper, lavender and jasmine.

Sample Blends:

To keep away bugs: Blend 5 drops of geranium with 3 drops of clove and 2 of peppermint. Burn outside.

Divine Facial Oil: To balance skin tone and regulate sebum production: Add 4 drops of geranium, 2 of patchouli, and 1 of chamomile to 20 mL of carrier oil (sweet almond or apricot for sensitive skin, grapefruit for acne prone). Apply morning and night. Can also be added to sorbolene or aqueous cream in place of a carrier.

Make a decadent face mask: add white clay, a little glycerine, three drops of geranium and two of lavender to make a richly floral, moisturising face mask that will leave your skin feeling baby smooth.

For PMS: Add five drops of geranium, two of lavender, 1 of clary sage and 3 of marjoram to an oil burner. This blend can also be massaged into the abdomen using gentle strokes from left to right , thumb cross frictions (alternative thumb strokes), and in circles. If you have them, a drop of cinnamon and one of ginger are useful additions for this massage. (Add an extra 5 mL of carrier oil.) 

Sleep Tight: Place a few drops each of geranium and lavender inside your pillow-case for a good night's sleep.

Warning: People with sensitive skin and hypertension need to be careful to adhere to dosages. Geranium should not be applied to those suffering from illnesses of the immune system.