Geranium Essential Oil


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Geranium Essential Oil – Possible Skin Issues:

Greener Life Diamond – Bio-Healthy Score => 3 – Possible Skin Issues.

Maximum dermal use level: 17.5%

The International Fragrance Association (IFRA) recommends that geraniol be limited to 5.3%, which translates into 17.5% Geranium oil (about 105 drops per ounce of any other carrier oils) for leave-on products like ointments, creams, and lotions. There is no restriction for body washes, shampoos, soaps, and other wash-off products because the oil does not remain on the skin.

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Geranium is a hairy perennial shrub, often used in hedgerows, and will stand up to about one meter high (3 feet) with pointed leaves, serrated at the edges and with flowers that range from red to a pinkish white. Geranium plants originated in South Africa, Madagascar, Egypt and Morocco and were introduced to European countries in the 17th century.  The petals are used in gourmet jellies and confections, and the oil is widely used in scented topical applications.

Geranium Essential Oil is steam distilled from leaf. Sweet, heavy aroma, somewhat like rose with a minty overtone.

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Geranium and its essential oil have been used in numerous alternative medicinal practices for healing wounds and fractures.  It is said that the ancient Greeks used Geranium for treating skin problems.  Egyptians used Geranium oil for enhancing the beauty and radiance of their skin.

This plant was grown around homes in the ancient times to keep away from evil spirits.  Traditionally,  Africans used Geranium oil in the treatment of cholera and tumors. Native American tribes in North America used Geranium tea prepared from the root powder to enhance the body’s immune power, and to treat ulcers and dysentery.

There are 250 natural species and thousands of cultivars and hybrid varieties of the Pelargonium plant family, in the genus Geraniaceae and the most popular ones are Egyptian Geranium, Reunion or the Geranium Bourbon and the Moroccan varieties. Most of the varieties have a similar structure of chemical constituents with Citronellol and Geraniol being the prevalent components.

Geranium Bourbon essential oil is certified with GRAS (Generally Regarded As Safe) status by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) as Geranium oil is mild and tested safe on individuals on a normal prescribed usage level.

Using Geranium oil in a concentrated form or beyond the safe level of use might cause adverse skin reactions like mild irritation, sensitization (lower risk), rashes, allergy, irritation of the eyes and contact dermatitis. Geranium oil is non-phototoxic in nature.

The primary chemical constituents that are held responsible for the adverse skin reactions of Geranium oil are citronellal and geraniol, where citronellal is reported to exhibit mild irritant effect along with sporadic sensitization and skin irritation and Geraniol is claimed for skin sensitization.

The safe dermal usage level for this oil is 17.5% by IFRA (International Fragrance Association) and this safety report is based on the 30% Geraniol content, which has a maximum dermal limit of 5.3%.

Research reports reveal the skin irritating effect of Reunion Geranium oil used in an undiluted manner; this oil was slightly irritating when tested on mouse skin; when tested with 5% Bourbon Geranium oil on 100 repeated dermatitis patients, the result was placid with two irritant reactions. It has also been proved that cosmetics with Geranium oil formula have caused dermatitis in hypersensitive individuals.

Always blend Geranium essential oil in carrier oils like Olive oil, Jojoba oil or Coconut oil before using it topically. This is because organic and pure essential oils are extremely concentrated liquid substances that may impair the skin surface, when used in an undiluted form.

Essential oils are recommended only for external use and never ingest essential oils as it can cause serious health hazards.  When administering Geranium oil orally in studies,  acute dermal LD50 has been witnessed  in rabbits. This may also cause possible drug interactions with antidiabetic medicines and the enzyme, CYP2B6 inhibiting effect of geraniol causes drug interaction metabolized by CYP2B6.

A recent study has witnessed this by testing alloxan-induced diabetic male rats with Geranium oil for about a month. The level of blood glucose was decreased by glibenclamide and the concentration of hepatic glycogen was significantly augmented.

As there are no evidenced reports on the safety of Geranium oil during pregnancy and lactating, it is safe to avoid this oil for it may have an impact on the hormonal fluctuations during these special moments. It is better to keep away Geranium oil from babies, either as a massage aid or for inhalation as it can harm their sensitive and tender skin.

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Visit AyurvedicOils.com for more information on the traditional ayurvedic and aromatherapeutic uses of Geranium Oil. Learn about the natural chemical components that give Geranium Oil its fragrance and therapeutic characteristics.

Among its reputed aromatherapeutic properties are analgesic, antidepressant, antiseptic, cicatrisant, diuretic and insecticide. Calms anxiety, lifts the spirit, assists with depression. Useful for all conditions of the woman’s reproductive system as an inhalant and massage application, beneficial for PMS. May assist with menopausal problems such as vaginal dryness and heavy periods. Assists with breast inflammation. Helps clear the body of toxins and this may be helpful with addictions. Stimulates the lymphatic system which keeps infection at bay. Eases neuralgia. Indicated for all problems of the nervous system such as anxiety and nervous fatigue. The oil is a diuretic and a lymphatic stimulant which can help relieve congestion, fluid retention and swollen ankles. Useful for all skin conditions as it balances sebum. Good for oily skin. It’s an excellent remedy for burns, wounds and ulcers. Blends well with basil, bergamot, carrot seed, jasmine, lavender and rose.

Reference Links Substantiating the Possible Skin Issues of Geranium Oil:

  1. Geranium by Essential Oil Safety: A Guide for Health Care Professionals By Robert Tisserand, Rodney Young
  2. Geranium Toxicology by Leung’s Encyclopedia of Common Natural Ingredients, used in Food, Drugs and Cosmetics by Ikhlas A. Khan and Ehab A. Abourashed
  3. Side effects of Geranium oil by Mercola.com
  4. Side effects and Safety of Geranium oil by WebMD

Thought for the day:

The course of Nature is the art of God. -Edward Young

Suggested Reading:

  1. How to Use Geranium Essential Oil (Aromatherapy) by Miriam Kinai
  2. Growing Pelargoniums and Geraniums: A Complete Guide by Beryl Stockton, Geoff Stockton, John Mason
  3. Geraniums: The Complete Encyclopedia by Faye Brawner
  4. Geranium and Pelargonium: History of Nomenclature, Usage and Cultivation (Medicinal and Aromatic Plants – Industrial Profiles) from CRC Press
  5. Ayurveda & Aromatherapy: The Earth Essential Guide to Ancient Wisdom and Modern Healing by Dr. Light Miller, Dr. Bryan Miller

Reference Links:

  1. Pelargonium graveolens by Wikipedia
  2. The Emotional, physical and health benefits of Geranium Essential Oil by HubPages
  3. Antibacterial activity and composition of essential oils from Pelargonium graveolens L’Her and Vitex agnus-castus L. by Ghannadi A, Bagherinejad M, Abedi D, Jalali M, Absalan B, Sadeghi N, published in PubMed
  4. Geranium by Daniele Ryman for the Aromatherapy Bible
  5. What are the benefits of Geranium oil in Aromatherapy by Yogawiz.com
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