Geranium

Multicolor Geraniums

Rose Geranium flower & oil (Pelargonium graveolens)

Pelargonium graveolens, Rose Geranium, is an uncommon Pelargonium species native to the Cape Provinces and the Northern Provinces of South Africa, Zimbabwe and Mozambique. It is in the subgenus Pelargonium along with Pelargonium crispum, Pelargonium tomentosum and Pelargonium capitatum.

You will find Geranium essential oil in Mother Jai’s Aroma Sprays, Toners, & Bath Oils.

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There are many cultivars of P. graveolens and they have a wide variety of scents, including rose, citrus, mint and cinnamon as well as various fruits. Cultivars and hybrids include:

  • P. ‘Graveolens’ (or Pelargonium graveolens hort.) – A rose-scented cultivar of P. graveolens. Possibly a hybrid between P. graveolens and P. radens or P. capitatum. This cultivar is often incorrectly labeled as Pelargonium graveolens (the species). The main difference between the species and this cultivar is the dissection of the leaf. The species had about 5 lobes but the cultivar has about 10.
  • P. ‘Citrosum’ – A lemony, citronella-scented cultivar of P. graveolens, similar to P. ‘Graveolens’. It is meant to repel mosquitos and rumour has it that it was made by genetically bonding genes from the citronella grass but this is highly unlikely.
  • P. ‘Cinnamon Rose’ – A cinnamon-scented variety of P. graveolens.
  • P. ‘Dr Westerlund’ – A lemony rose-scented cultivar of P. graveolens, similar to P. ‘Graveolens’.[citation needed]
  • P. ‘Graveolens Bontrosai’ – A genetically challenged form of P. graveolens. The leaves are smaller and curl back on themselves and the flowers often don’t open fully. Known as P. ‘Colocho’ in the US.
  • P. ‘Grey Lady Plymouth’ – A lemony rose-scented cultivar of P. graveolens. Similar to P. ‘Lady Plymouth’. The leaves are grey – green in colour and beautifully contrast of scented pelargonium varieties.
  • P. ‘Lady Plymouth’ – A minty lemony rose-scented cultivar of P. graveolens. A very popular variety with a definite mint scent. Possibly a P. radens hybrid.
  • P. ‘Lara Starshine’ – A lemony rose-scented cultivar of P. graveolens, similar to P. ‘Graveolens’ but with more lemony scented leaves and reddish pink flowers. Bred by Australian Plantsman Cliff Blackman.
  • P. ‘Lucaeflora’ – A rose-scented variety of P. graveolens, much more similar to the species that most other cultivars and varieties of P. graveolens.
  • P. × melissinum – The lemon balm pelargonium (lemon balm – Melissa officinalis). This is a hybrid between P. crispum and P. graveolens.
  • P. ‘Mint Rose’ – A minty rose-scented cultivar of P. graveolens. Similar to P. ‘Lady Plymouth’ but without the variegation of the leaves and lemony undertones.
  • P. ‘Secret Love’ – An unusual eucalyptus-scented variety of P. graveolens with pretty pale pink flowers.
  • P. ‘Van Leeni’ – A lemony rose-scented cultivar of P. graveolens, similar to P. ‘Graveolens’ and P. ‘Dr Westerland’.
Rose Geranium

Composition of Geranium Oil

Geranium oil contains about 67 compounds. The main components of geranium oil are citronellol (26.7 percent) and geraniol (13.4 percent). Other major constituents include:

  • Nerol (8.7 percent)
  • Citronellyl formate (7.1 percent)
  • Isomenthone (6.3 percent)
  • Linalool (5.2 percent)
https://www.planttherapy.com/geranium-egyptian-organic-essential-oil?v=1595

Functions

The most interesting health benefits of geranium include its ability to lower stress levels, reduce inflammation, relieve menstrual pain, strengthen the immune system, ease digestion and improve kidney, skin and hair health. It has antiseptic, antibacterial, and anti-fungal properties which help heal wounds faster.

Pelargonium graveolens is a geranium extract used in cosmetics and personal care products as a fragrance ingredient. It is cultivated in large numbers in South Africa, and known for its rose-like scent, although it is also used for other smells it imparts, including citrus, mint, coconut and nutmeg, as well as various fruits. It is sometimes known as rose geranium, old fashion rose geranium, and rose-scent geranium, according to Wikipedia. It is considered a less expensive alternative to other rose oils, and is often used in aromatherapy formulas as well.

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Pelargonium graveolens has other skin care properties as well and is known to create a balance between oily and dry skin by balancing the production of sebum; this balance assists in boosting and improving the elasticity of the skin. It also stimulates the lymphatic system, releasing excess water that may be retained in the tissue. This may not only prevent cellulite but can also relieve swelling. Pelargonium graveolens also has therapeutic abilities that can calm irritated skin, clear acne, and heal bruises, burns, cuts and eczema, due to its astringent, antiseptic, tonic, antibiotic and anti-infectious properties.

Wild Geranium – ‘Cranesbill’

Uses of Geranium Oil

In aromatherapy, geranium oil is used to help treat acne, sore throats, anxiety, depression and insomnia. It is popular among women due to its rosy smell and its beneficial effect on menstruation and menopause.4 The essential oil can also aid in uplifting mood, lessening fatigue and promoting emotional wellness.

Geranium oil also functions to assist in pain reduction and inflammation. Its antiseptic properties can help speed up the healing of wounds and treat a variety of skin problems, such as burns, frostbite, fungal infections, athlete’s foot and eczema. Hemorrhoids can also be potentially treated with the use of geranium oil.

Frequent travelers can use geranium oil as a natural insect repellent. Topical application can also help heal insect bites and stop itching. It may also be used as a massage oil to help relieve aching muscles and stress. Other uses of geranium oil include:

  • Food — Geranium oil can be added to baked goods, frozen dairy, non-alcoholic and alcoholic beverages and candies.
  • Perfumery — Geranium oil has been used to create an artificial rose scent in fragrances and cosmetics.
Wild Geranium – ‘Cranesbill’

Benefits of Geranium Oil (OrganicFacts.net & Mercola.com)

Geranium essential oil provides numerous health benefits due its uses as an astringent, hemostatic, cicatrisant, diuretic and many others. Below are just some of the ways this essential oil serves both your physical and emotional health:

  • It causes your gums, muscles, intestines, skin, blood vessels and tissues to contract due to its astringent properties. It assists in preventing skin problems like sagging and wrinkling and helps give your muscles a toned appearance.
  • It contains antibacterial, antifungal and antioxidant properties. It can aid in inhibiting the bacterial strains Brevibacterium linens and Yersinia enterolitica, as well as the fungal species Aspergillus niger. It can also help prevent bacterial infections.
  • It can help eliminate the appearance of scars and dark spots by helping improve blood circulation just below the surface of the skin and helping promote an equal distribution of melanin.
  • It can help speed up the healing of wounds by triggering blood clotting. This also helps in stopping toxins from reaching your bloodstream through open wounds.
  • It assists in detoxification by increasing the rate of urination. This process of elimination does not only remove toxins from your body, but also aids in your digestive function and helps inhibit the excess gas in your intestines.
  • It can serve as a deodorant due to its fragrant scent. It can also help prevent body odor due to its antibacterial action.
  • The impact of geranium on the nervous system is well known and the plant has been used in this way for generations. If you brew the leaves of its plant, you can produce a tasty tea that has soothing properties, derived from its organic compounds that positively impact the endocrine system and help to balance hormones that cause stress and anxiety. A quick cup of tea when you’re stressed can quickly relieve unpleasant moods and a cluttered mind.
  • Although quite similar to its anti-inflammatory properties, the analgesic ability of geranium has made it a popular traditional remedy for headaches and other injuries. If you suffer from chronic pain or migraines, research has shown that its tea can release endorphins and relieve pain quite rapidly. This effect is relatively mild, and shouldn’t be relied on for permanent pain relief.
  • Geranium relieves symptoms of bronchitis, sinusitis, and nose infections because it is a powerful antiviral.
  • Geranium, being a styptic, has the ability to stop hemorrhage as it slows down blood flow by contracting the arteries and veins. It also has hemostatic properties which cause the blood to clot. This helps heal wounds faster.
  • If you’re suffering from cramping, bloating, or a generally upset stomach, drinking a cup of geranium tea can be one of the easiest and most painless remedies. The beneficial organic compounds can quickly soothe inflammation and eliminate bacteria that may be causing the discomfort, and get your gastrointestinal system back to normal!
  • Geranium is excellent for treating a range of women’s health issues from hot flashes and distress during menopause and menstrual cramps. It works two-fold, as a tonic and an antidepressant. It has been traditionally used to stabilize hormonal levels during menopause through its action on the adrenal cortex.
  • If you are looking for a natural skin cleanser and tonic, opt for geranium essential oil. It can be used directly on the skin or added to your bathwater. It helps tighten and tone the skin and keeps it blemish-free.
  • Geranium promotes hair growth because it regulates the secretion of sebum on the scalp. The essential oil can be added to either, carrier oils or shampoo. This helps give the hair a smooth sheen and a lovely, mild rose aroma.
Rose Geranium

The 17 Best Uses for Geranium Essential Oil, A-Z (TheTruthAboutCancer.com)

#1. Adrenal Health – Geranium has been used for centuries for its ability to support the adrenal glands. It acts as a tonic for the paired adrenal glands that sit atop the kidneys. In so doing, geranium may help those suffering from chronic exhaustion and fatigue.

#2. Allergies – A June 2016 Japanese study found that geranium essential oil had an inhibitory effect on cultured mast cells. These are immune cells involved with triggering allergic reactions, inflammatory conditions and autoimmune dysfunction. Geranium also inhibited tumor necrosis factor (TNF), a cell signaling protein known as a cytokine, involved in systemic inflammation. TNF is also involved in the regulation of immune cells.

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#3. Anxiety, Depression, Nervous Tension – The aroma of geranium is very calming to the nervous system. It helps to relieve nervous tension, melt away anger and aggression, balances emotions, lifts the spirit, and promotes feelings of peace and well-being.

#4. Blood Sugar Problems – Geranium is held in high esteem in Tunisia and is much studied there for its ability to decrease blood glucose levels. Animal studies reported in 2012  revealed that serum glucose levels were significantly decreased in diabetic rats and much more effective than glibenclamide, an antidiabetic drug. Hopefully studies will continue and humans will be included!

Rose Geranium

#5. Brain Clarity & Concentration – Geranium helps to improve cognitive function and improves concentration. It is even being studied for its ability to prevent neurodegenerative disorders such as dementia and Alzheimer’s.

#6. Cancer – Geranium has long been used by natural healers for its anti-tumoral properties. One 2002 study found that geraniol had anti-proliferative effects (proliferation is the ability of cancer cells to spread) and, when combined with the chemotherapy drug 5-fluorouracil, had twice the cancer-killing action of  5-fluorouracil alone in cultured colon cancer cells. Several of the researchers in that study released a subsequent study in 2004 showing this combination also worked in mice. Researchers observed a 53% reduction in tumor size using the combination of 5-fluorouracil and geraniol.

A Chinese study reported in 2012 stated that the combination of geranium and several traditional Chinese herbs greatly assisted breast cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy and/or radiation. The geranium/herb combination was found to delay or slow the associated reduction of leukocytes (white blood cells involved in immune function) for women receiving chemotherapy and/or radiation.

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Research released in May 2016 revealed that citronellol can be used in an interesting way. Researchers combined citronellol with the anti-cancer drug cabazitaxel, a taxane used to fight prostate cancer. The combination (called a conjugate self-assembled nanoparticle, or CSNP) improved the drug’s ability to accumulate at the site of a tumor. Researchers said this method was an effective antitumoral, in vitro (test tube).

Rose Geranium

#7. Candida – Because of its strong anti-fungal properties, geranium has been investigated for candida sufferers. Research reported in 2008 found that of three essential oils studied, geranium was the most effective in combination with Amphotericin B, an antifungal drug, against 11 strains of candida. Geranium helps the antifungal drugs work better and they appear to have a synergistic effect. Another study reported in 2008 on mice found that geranium oil suppressed candida cell growth in the vagina.

#8. Cold Sores (Herpes Simplex) – Due to its anti-viral qualities, geranium essential oil is excellent for helping to heal cold sores. It will reduce the pain and size of a cold sore quickly.

#9. Golden Staph and Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA) – A research study reported in 2012 demonstrated that geranium has excellent antimicrobial properties against Staphylococcus aureus (“golden staph”) and even methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus. Indeed, the author’s own mother-in-law was diagnosed with MRSA several years ago. Geranium essential oil was one of several essential oils used topically (on the skin), instead of the antibiotic drugs given to her by the doctor. It completely healed the MRSA in what her doctor called “record time.”

#10. Hair and Scalp Health – Geranium has been used traditionally for decades for hair regrowth. It is known to nourish and tone the scalp. Geranium works on the sebaceous (oil) glands of the scalp, regulating the secretion of sebum. This helps to balance both dry and oily scalps, resulting in smooth and silky hair.

#11. Hemorrhoids – The astringent properties of geranium can help to shrink and heal swollen tissue, and ease the pain of hemorrhoids.

Rose Geranium

#12. Inflammatory Conditions – Geranium, and geraniol in particular, has been widely studied for its anti-inflammatory properties. 2014 research indicated geraniol increased interleukin-10 production, which is an anti-inflammatory cytokine. Because inflammation is involved in many disease processes, from arthritis to hemorrhoids to cancer, geranium essential oil is very useful indeed.

#13. Insect Repellent – Bugs don’t like geranium! It is an excellent insect deterrent. Going hiking? Take your geranium essential oil along. 2013 research found that the phytochemical 10-epi-gamma-eudesmol in geranium was just as effective as DEET against ticks.

Even dust mites don’t like geranium. 2008 research found that geraniol and beta-citronellol out-performed DEET and benzyl benzoate (two common chemically-derived mite and lice deterrents, both with side effects) for controlling dust mites. The beta-citronellol component makes geranium very effective for repelling mosquitoes as well. Several research papers investigating effective botanical insecticides have explored this and other essential oils for their ability to kill mosquito larvae.

#14. Shingles – Research released in 2003 found that application of geranium oil was helpful for relieving nerve pain caused by shingles (herpes zoster). Being a good anti-viral, geranium also helps to speed the healing of shingles.

Rose Geranium

#15. Skin Health, Scars, and Regeneration – Due to its potent anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, and antioxidant properties, geranium has been used for centuries in skin tonics, lotions, moisturizers, and balms for such conditions as dermatitis, eczema, psoriasis, oily skin, and acne. It is balancing to the skin’s production of oil and superb for fading scars.

#16. Urinary Tract Infections – 2011 research examined the effect of geranium oil combined with ciprofloxacin, a commonly used drug for treatment of urinary tract infections (UTIs). Researchers found that the oil/drug combo worked synergistically to effectively kill the bacteria causing UTIs.

#17. Wound Healing – Geranium is a natural styptic − it helps to stop the flow of blood. Geranium also speeds wound healing by triggering blood clotting. This process, together with its natural antiseptic action, keeps harmful bacteria from reaching the bloodstream via open wounds and cuts.

Wild Geranium – ‘Cranesbill’

Safety Measures/Side Effects

Pelargonium graveolens is considered a safe and natural ingredient that is repeatedly listed as non-toxic, non-irritant and generally non-sensitizing. The Cosmetics Database finds it to be 99% safe and lists data gaps as the only concern.

However, it may cause allergies and sensitivities in some people. If you’re looking for essential oils that offer the same therapeutic benefits as geranium oil does, your options include lavender oil, orange oil, lemon oil and jasmine oil. To be on the safe side, consult your physician before using any essential oils for medicinal purposes.

Geranium infused oil

How to Make Geranium Oil Infusion

Geranium essential oil is extracted through steam distillation of the plant’s stems and leaves. When made from young, green leaves, geranium oil appears with a lemon scent. However, if extracted from older leaves that have changed their color, the oil will have a strong rose fragrance. While geranium oil is available in stores, it is possible to create a homemade oil infusion.

What You Need:

  • Geranium leaves
  • Mortar and pestle
  • Carrier oil like jojoba oil
  • Large jar with lid
  • Small jars or bottles with lids
  • Strainer
  • Cheesecloth

Procedure:

  • Remove the leaves from a geranium plant (more leaves mean more oil produced).
  • Remove pests, dirt and other debris from the leaves by washing them in cold water.
  • Dry the leaves by gently patting them with a cloth or paper towel.
  • Using the mortar and pestle, ground the leaves until they are completely mashed and pulpy. Leave the crushed leaves for a few hours.
  • Afterward, transfer the ground leaves to the large jar. Pour some of the carrier oil — just enough to cover the leaves. Then, seal the jar and place it in a cool, dry spot. Set aside for two weeks.
  • Once the two weeks are up, check the scent of the oil. You may add more ground leaves to make the scent stronger and set aside for another week. If the fragrance is too strong, just add some oil to dilute the finished product.
  • To store, pour the geranium oil into the small sterilized jars or bottles through a strainer lined with a cheesecloth. This will separate the crushed leaves from the oil. Once the oil has been transferred, seal the bottles/jars and store them in a cool, dry place.
Pink Geranium

Homemade Conditioner

This homemade conditioner recipe is awesome, for it helps to restore the hairs natural pH, thus rehydrating the hair. The result is soft, luscious and healthy hair. Add 10 drops of geranium oil and see how it helps to condition your dry hair.

 Total Time: 2 minutes  Uses: 20–30

 INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 10 drops of essential oils
  • BPA-free plastic bottles or glass bottle with dispenser

 Customize Your Conditioner:

  • Rosemary or sage essential oils for all types of hair
  • Lemon, bergamot or tea tree essential oils for oily hair
  • Lavender, sandalwood or geranium essential oils for dry hair or dandruff

DIRECTIONS:

  • Mix ingredients together in eight-ounce spray bottle
  • Shake bottle before using and then spray hair
  • Leave in hair for five minutes, then rinse

Tips for Using Geranium Essential Oil

A) Massage geranium into the skin and muscles of the back, especially mid-back and just over the bottom of the rib cage (over area of the kidneys). Use an organic carrier oil like jojoba, almond, coconut, hemp, or argan to dilute if desired or if you have sensitive skin.

B) Drip 1-2 drops of oil into your hands and make a tent over your nose and mouth (avoid the eyes), breathe in deeply for a couple of minutes.

C) Using an ultrasonic cool mist diffuser, diffuse several drops of geranium into a room where you intend to sit for an hour or so.

D) Massage oil into the soles of the feet. They have the largest pores in the body and the oil will be in the bloodstream and working in just a few minutes. This method works especially well if digestion is impaired.

E) Gently massage oil into the sides of the neck, overlying the carotid arteries, diluting as described in A above if needed. Also massage into the back of the neck just under the base of the skull.

F) Geranium essential oil is generally regarded as safe for human consumption by the United States Food & Drug Administration (FDA). To take orally, put 1 drop of oil in 3-4 ounces (about 100 ml) of liquid such as almond or rice milk. It can also be combined with 1 teaspoon of honey. Avoid for children under 5 years of age.

G) Massage geranium oil into the abdomen and lower back.

H) Rub a drop of geranium on the affected area, being careful to dilute if you have sensitive skin. If using as an insect repellent, rub geranium into exposed skin.

I) Add a drop or two of geranium oil to one teaspoon of jojoba oil and pat it on topically. Use a small amount of gauze if you wish to hold it in place.

J) Add a drop or two of geranium to your favorite organic personal care products like cleanser, body wash, moisturizer, toner, shampoo, or conditioner.

Wild Geranium – ‘Cranesbill’

Important Precautions When Using Essential Oils

If you intend to use geranium essential oil medicinally, please do your homework and work with a qualified healthcare practitioner who is well versed in essential oil usage.

  • Be aware that quality of essential oils varies widely. Find out whether or not your essential oil supplier uses organic growing methods, and knows how to properly distill the oils. Always buy your oils from a trusted source because if they are not organically grown or properly distilled they may be adulterated with toxic chemicals that will not help to heal you… and may indeed cause harm.
  • Do not apply essential oils anywhere near eyes, ears, or sensitive regions of the body.
  • If you have sensitive skin, be sure to dilute essential oils first. If you are unsure, do a patch test on a small area of skin just inside the elbow. You may want to dilute essential oils with an organic carrier oil such as jojoba, almond, coconut, hemp, or argan.
  • Be cautious when using essential oils with children and in pregnancy. Always dilute essential oils for children. Some oils need to be avoided during pregnancy. When in doubt, work with an experienced expert in essential oils.
  • It is not recommended to use any essential oil by itself as a sole treatment for cancer, or for any other health issues mentioned above. When used in combination with other treatments, both conventional and alternative, essential oils can be very effective in assisting the healing process.

References:

  1. https://kollectionk.com/blogs/news/everything-you-need-to-know-about-skin-care-oils
  2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pelargonium_graveolens
  3. https://www.truthinaging.com/ingredients/pelargonium-graveolens
  4. https://plants.usda.gov/core/profile?symbol=PEGR11
  5. https://articles.mercola.com/herbal-oils/geranium-oil.aspx
  6. http://www.reherb.eu/en/content/pelargonium-graveolens
  7. https://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Pelargonium+graveolens
  8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4312398/
  9. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3641007/
  10. http://ageless.co.za/rose_scented_geranium.htm
  11. http://www.academicjournals.org/journal/JMPR/article-full-text-pdf/054149D15942
  12. https://hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/med-aro/factsheets/GERANIUM.html
  13. https://thetruthaboutcancer.com/geranium-essential-oil/
  14. http://nopr.niscair.res.in/bitstream/123456789/33014/1/IJTK%2014(4)%20558-563.pdf
  15. http://essentialoils.co.za/essential-oils/rose-geranium.htm
  16. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/283051914_An_overview_on_phytopharmacology_of_Pelargonium_graveolens_L
  17. https://draxe.com/10-geranium-oils-benefits-healthy-skin-much/
  18. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3793238/
  19. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25514231
  20. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18670079
  21. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23401038
  22. http://www.acanceresearch.com/cancer-research/pelargonium-graveolens-rose-geranium–a-novel-therapeutic-agent-for-antibacterial-antioxidant-antifungal-and-diabetics.pdf
  23. https://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-153-rose%20geranium%20oil.aspx?activeingredientid=153&activeingredientname=rose%20geranium%20oil
  24. http://arnoldia.arboretum.harvard.edu/pdf/articles/1974-34-3-aromatic-pelargoniums.pdf
  25. https://www.cabdirect.org/cabdirect/abstract/20013071662
  26. https://www.hchs.edu/sites/default/files/files/Geranium%20article.pdf
  27. http://japsonline.com/admin/php/uploads/1200_pdf.pdf
  28. https://www.naturalbynature.co.uk/organic-geranium
  29. https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/agricultural-and-biological-sciences/geranium
  30. https://www.newdirectionsaromatics.com/blog/products/all-about-geranium-oil.html
  31. http://www.essencejournal.com/pdf/2014/vol2issue2/PartA/2-2-8-979.pdf
  32. http://www.doctorsbeyondmedicine.com/listing/candida-geranium-oil
  33. http://www.globalsciencebooks.info/Online/GSBOnline/images/2010/MAPSB_4(SI1)/MAPSB_4(SI1)77-79o.pdf
  34. https://www.rxlist.com/rose_geranium_oil/supplements.htm
  35. https://lipidworld.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1476-511X-12-30
  36. http://www.worldresearchlibrary.org/up_proc/pdf/420-147558255618-21.pdf
  37. http://ijm.tums.ac.ir/index.php/ijm/article/download/681.pdf/451
  38. http://www.worldresearchlibrary.org/up_proc/pdf/420-147558255618-21.pdf
  39. http://www.theresearchpedia.com/health/aromatherapy/health-benefits-of-geranium-essential-oil

Citronella

Citronella oil (Cymbopogon nardus)

Citronella oil is extracted from Cymbopogon nardus (also known as Andropogon nardus) and is of the Graminae (Poaceae) family. It is also known as Sri Lanka or Lenabatu citronella. The oil is used extensively as a source of perfumery chemicals such as citronellal, citronellol, and geraniol. These chemicals find extensive use in soap, candles and incense, perfumery, cosmetic, and flavoring industries throughout the world. Citronella oil is also a plant-based insect repellent and has been registered for this use in the United States since 1948. The United States Environmental Protection Agency considers oil of citronella as a biopesticide with a non-toxic mode of action.

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Oil properties: Citronella oil has a slightly sweet, lemony smell. It blends well with bergamot, geranium, lemon, orange, lavender and pine.

Extraction citronella oil: Citronella oil is extracted by the steam distillation of finely chopped fresh, dried or part-dried grass.

Chemical composition: The main chemical components of citronella oil are citronellic acid, borneol, citronellol, geraniol, nerol, citral, citronellal, camphene, dipentene and limonene. Major constituents of the oil were geraniol (35.7% of total volatiles), trans-citral (22.7%), cis-citral (14.2%), geranyl acetate (9.7%), citronellal (5.8%) and citronellol (4.6%). The antifungal assay using the vapor-agar contact method showed that the crude essential oil markedly suppressed the growth of several species of Aspergillus, Penicillium and Eurotium at a dose of 250 mg/L in air. Citronellal and linalool completely inhibited the growth of all tested fungal strains at a dose of 112 mg/L. Their minimum inhibitory doses ranged from 14 to 56 mg/L. The α- and β- pinenes showed an inhibitory activity against some fungi, whereas the other 8 volatile compounds lacked this property.

Precautions: Citronella oil may irritate sensitive skin and cause dermatitis in certain individuals.

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Therapeutic properties: The health benefits of Citronella Essential Oil can be attributed to its properties as an antibacterial, antidepressant, antiseptic, antispasmodic, anti-inflammatory, deodorant, diaphoretic, diuretic, febrifuge, fungicidal, insect repellent, stomachic, stimulant, tonic and vermifuge substance. Citronella oil has strong antifungal properties, and is effective in calming barking dogs.

  • Citronella oil’s most useful quality is that of it being an insect repellent. It is best used in a spray, a diffuser or on a cotton ball amongst linen. It is also useful in ridding cats and dogs of fleas.
  • Furthermore, citronella oil helps to clear the mind and has a general toning and tonic effect on the body. It is helpful with colds, flu and minor infections, and has deodorizing qualities.
  • Citronella has been proven as an effective antimicrobial for aquatic animals, thus naturally supporting our aquaculture needs. Essential oil of C. nardus demonstrated its potential as alternative to commercial antibacterial agent.

Origin of citronella oil: It is extracted from a hardy grass, native to Sri Lanka and Java. This aromatic perennial grows about 1meter (3 feet) high and is a popular ingredient in wax candles, as an insect repellant, and is also widely used in perfumes, soaps, skin lotions and deodorants. The essential oil of citronella is extracted from two varieties of citronella. The first one is the Ceylon variety, whose scientific name is Cymbopogon nardus and the second one is Java variety, called Cymbopogon winterianus in botanical terminology. In both cases, the essential oil is extracted by steam distillation of the fresh plant.

Benefits Of Citronella Essential Oil

Inhibits Bacterial Growth: Components like methyl isoeugenol and a few others that are found in this essential oil are responsible for this property. They kill bacteria and inhibit any further bacterial growth in the body. This is particularly helpful in treating infections in wounds, as well as in the colon, urethra, urinary bladder, stomach, intestines, urinary tracts, prostate, and kidneys.

Fights Depression: This oil fights depression and gives relief from anxiety, sadness, and negative feelings. It induces a fresh, happy feeling and hope.

Relaxant and Stress Reducer: Commonly used to control emotions in aromatherapy, it can help relax your mind and contribute to reduced stress reactions and better sleep for people who can’t sleep. Try diffusing citronella oil in your home, massaging it into skin or spraying it onto your bed sheets.

Eliminates Infections: The antiseptic properties of this essential oil fight infections in wounds, as well as the urinary tracts, urethra, prostate, and kidneys, while simultaneously protecting them from being sepsis.

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Relieves Spasms: It relieves spasms of the muscles, respiratory system, and nervous system. It also helps to cure menstrual spasms and gives relief from symptoms such as cramps and coughs. When it comes to dealing with cramps, swelling and pain, citronella can help improve blood flow that lowers muscle spasms and tenderness. Try massaging citronella oil mixed with a carrier into sore muscles or onto the abdomen when dealing with PMS cramps.

Anti-inflammatory Properties: Citronella essential oil sedates inflammation, particularly those situations which pertain to the liver, stomach, intestines and other parts of the digestive system. The inflammations caused as side effects of drugs, excessive use of alcohol or narcotics, hard & spicy food, any disease, or any toxic element getting into the body can also be alleviated using this oil.

Removes Bad Odor: The crisp, rich citrus or lemon-like aroma of this oil drives away body odor and is used in deodorants and body sprays, although in very small quantities, since in heavy doses it may create skin irritations. It can also be mixed with the bath water to have a refreshing bath.

Eliminates Toxins: The diaphoretic properties of this essential oil increase sweating and promote the removal of toxins and other unwanted materials like excess water, fat, and salts from the body. This makes the body feel lighter, keeps the skin healthy and also reduces fever. This also protects you from certain infections.

Stimulates Urination: The increase in the frequency and quantity of urination due to this property of citronella essential oil has many benefits. It disposes of waste substances and toxins from the body, including uric acid, excess bile, acids, and salts, as well as water and fats. This helps reduce weight, eliminate infections in the urinary system, free the body from toxins, reduce chances of renal calculi, rheumatism, and arthritis, improve digestion, and keep the heart healthy.

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Reduces Fever: While the diaphoretic property of this oil increases perspiration, its anti-inflammatory property reduces inflammation, while the antimicrobial property fights infections. The combined effects of these three properties fight fever and reduce body temperature.

Inhibits Fungal Growth: This oil kills fungus and inhibits fungal growth. This is very useful in countering fungal infections in the ear, nose and throat region. Contracting fungal infections in the ears are very common and can be very serious. It eliminates fungal infections in other parts of the body as well and helps cure fungal dysentery.

Insect Repellant: This is one of the most commonly used properties of this essential oil, as it kills and keeps away insects. It has been found particularly effective on a species of mosquito, called Aedes aegypti whose bite causes the dreaded yellow fever. This is also effective on lice, body and head louse, and fleas.

Prevents Stomach Disorders: The use of this oil clears the stomach from infections and other problems and helps it function properly.

Natural Skin Care Remedy: Aside from keeping away bug bites, research shows citronella can also help heal dermatitis, naturally treat eczema, slow skin aging, heal bug bite scars and treat some fungal infections on the skin. It enhances penetration of skin and speeds up wound healing, which might be beneficial for remedying acne, getting rid of warts, treating boils and healing age spots. It can also help skin appear youthful and smoother and even block damage done from sun exposure. Add a very small amount to coconut oil and massage it into the face, or try adding one to two drops to your shower or facial wash. As an easy-to-make home remedy for acne, try dabbing one drop of pure citronella essential oil on blemishes three times a day, but make sure you use a sterile cotton swab.

Pet Controller: Although it might sound strange, citronella oil is effective in calming barking dogs and can even be used on furniture to help keep your pets off. As a bonus, when you spray citronella on your furniture or linens, it keeps them free from bacteria, pests and odors. Add several drops to a spray bottle along with water, shake it up, and spray it throughout your home and on household items.

Natural Shampoo and Conditioner: One of the most popular uses for citronella oil is cleansing and conditioning the hair and scalp. It can help eliminate excess oil and greasiness of hair while also fighting dandruff and adding shine. Many people find it adds volume to hair, detangles knots and helps protect hair color from sun damage. Add several drops to your shampoo or conditioner, or try making your own homemade recipe using a cleansing oil like coconut oil, which also benefits hair.

Homemade Citronella Oil Bug Spray Recipe

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1/2 cup witch hazel
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 40 drops mixed essential oils (citronella, eucalyptus, lemongrass, tea tree or rosemary)
  • glass spray bottle

DIRECTIONS: Mix all ingredients in eight-ounce spray bottle. Spray over all portions of the body, but avoid repellent in eyes and mouth.

References:

  1. http://essentialoils.co.za/essential-oils/citronella.htm
  2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Citronella_oil
  3. http://www.scielo.br/pdf/bjce/v28n2/19.pdf
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3696851/
  5. https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/1fe6/87211ff91490329db0ac82e55941e787e1ed.pdf
  6. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/238783168_Chemical_Composition_and_Antifungal_Activity_of_Essential_Oil_from_Cymbopogon_nardus_Citronella_Grass
  7. https://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/essential-oils/health-benefits-of-citronella-essential-oil.html
  8. https://draxe.com/citronella-oil/
  9. https://www.planttherapy.com/search?Store_Code=PT&q=citronella