My first encounter with rose geranium essential oil was a few years after I’d had my first hot flash. I was ordering a small selection of my favorites, lavender, frankincense, and clary sage. I’d decided to try one that I’d never gotten before. Rose geranium essential oil happened to be on sale, so I ordered it.
Geranium essential oil is often called Rose Geranium or Geranium Rose because it’s distilled from the rose-scented geranium, Pelargonium capitatum. Despite its sweet, girly scent, it blends well with earthier, base notes like Atlas cedarwood, frankincense, and even the firs and pines. That makes it one you can slip into a formula for the guys as a nice supporting player.
For me, geranium is rarely center stage, although if you need to open to a more creative, receptive lifestyle by strengthening your feminine or yin side, you may well want to give her the mic. Geranium is a classic remedy for folks who focus so heavily on work and the logical processes of life that they lose touch with their ability to just sit and enjoy the wonders of the world. Workaholics and others who drown out their emotional side with rational thinking or drive are exactly the sorts who benefit most from a little geranium in their lives.
On a more physical level, geranium helps restore balance to the adrenal and female hormonal systems. It can be used internally as in gel caps, topically as a massage oil or liniment, or inhaled in a nebulizer or aromatherapy burner. By nourishing the blood and yin, geranium helps to ease conditions that lead to PMS, peri-menopause and related symptoms, as well as fatigue and energy swings, particularly those accompanied with salt cravings.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, geranium is considered sweet scented. It promotes circulation and is of neutral temperature. Geranium’s affinity is for Wood and Earth with a particular focus on the Liver, Heart, and Spleen meridians. This makes geranium a good choice when the blood is weak or thin and stagnant or moving slowly, the spleen is weak, and the shen is restless or agitated.
Outwardly, those conditions may look like anxiety, poor concentration, pessimism, depression, insomnia, fatigue, and even chronic anger coupled with depression. They can also include symptoms that look like PMS, menopause, or peri-menopause, including poor appetite, daytime sweating or night sweats, hot flashes, digestive distress of varying sorts, heavy or clotted or painful periods, and mood swings or weepiness.
From the Ayruvedic perspective, geranium essential oil helps to balance the heart chakra. It decreases kapha conditions by moving energy, which in turn enhances or balances both pitta and vata. Most often, geranium is considered a pitta essential oil, meaning it has greatest affinity for cooling and calming the fires of the mind and body. Overheated conditions, especially those centered on the heart chakra area such as in the lungs or heart, respond well to geranium’s cooling nature. As a vata balancer, those that inflame the mind or air element, such as anxiety and mood swings, overthinking, and over-stimulation of the adrenal system, are brought into health again with geranium.
For me, geranium is a good partner for Atlas cedarwood. Together, they help me move into a place of stability, especially when I feel overwhelmed with stress. A little citrus, like orange, lemon, or bergamot in the mix helps me get motivated to move some of the stress energy into my artistic pursuits, giving me a creative outlet for whatever is driving me. I use 3-4 drops of Atlas cedarwood with 1 drop of geranium and 1-2 drops of bitter orange or whichever citrus tickles my fancy at the time.
If you want to focus on female hormonal imbalances, you may want to try a little clary sage in that formula or as a substitute for the Atlas cedarwood. Likewise, a little rosemary will shift the focus to your adrenal system, so you can substitute that for the Atlas cedarwood or add it to the formula as is.
If you’re working on Emotional Balance, consider pairing geranium with other heart-centered essential oils, like clary sage, frankincense, vetiver, and ginger. Each of these are generally grounding and restorative. Paired with geranium, they can help you open to your emotional experiences in a way that feels safe and healing, allowing you to release what you must let go and integrate that which needs to be incorporated into your psyche, without feeling overwhelmed and thus inclined to return to your former pattern.
As a topical, geranium is generally non-toxic and non-irritant. It can be used with other anti-fungal and anti-microbial essential oils to treat topical conditions, like eczema or rashes. It can, of course, be used topically as a perfume or topical aromatherapy treatment, too. That is particularly useful if you lead an active life, making it hard to incorporate a nebulizer or aromatherapy burner into your routine. Use a dilution rate of 2-10 percent geranium essential oil to carrier oil or liniment base.
Avoid using geranium essential oil internally during pregnancy, particularly the first trimester. Sensitive individuals may find geranium overwhelming. Proceed with caution if that’s the case.
- Aromatica: A Clinical Guide to Essential Oil Therapeutics. Volume 1: Principles and Profiles by Peter Holmes
- Aromatherapy: A Complete Guide to the Healing Art by Kathi Keville and Mindy Green
- Aromatherapy for Healing the Spirit: A Guide to Restoring Emotional and Mental Balance Through Essential Oils by Gabriel Mojay
- Annette Zoe Fallian, L. Ac.