Aromatherapy: Geranium

In experimental outpatient clinics in Azerbaijan, patients sit comfortably in an aromatherapy room sniffing fragrant plants such as rose geranium. They inhale the aromas according to a prescription, which specifies how many times a week and for how many minutes the fragrance should be inhaled. According to the clinic, inhaling geranium actually lowers or raises blood pressure a few points, depending upon what the person’s body requires. They also report success in using geranium to control depression and mental disturbances.

A relative newcomer to the fragrance trade, geranium is a small, tender, South African perennial whose essential oil was not distilled until the nineteenth century. Since it is a veritable medicine cabinet with a lovely scent, it became an instant hit. It is also an insect repellent, and one that is certainly more aromatically pleasing than the commonly used citronella.


The scent of geranium mixes well with almost any other essential oil. There are more than 600 varieties, including several with a roselike fragrance. The pharmaceutical industry uses its main component, geraniol, to stretch true rose oil or, with other components, to make a synthetic rose.

Principal constituents of geranium: Geraniol, citronellol, linalol, borneol, terpineol, and many others

Scent of geranium: The scent is bright, with a herbaceous-rose-citrus combination.

Therapeutic properties of geranium: Antidepressant, antiseptic, astringent; stops bleeding, possibly gently stimulates the adrenals and normalizes hormones

Uses for geranium: In its native Africa, geranium was used as an herb tea to stop diarrhea and internal bleeding. A popular skin therapy, the essential oil treats a host of problems including inflammation, eczema, acne, burns, infected wounds, fungus (like ringworm), lice, shingles, and herpes.

It also decreases scarring and stretch marks. Use it in the form of a salve, cream, lotion, or massage/body oil, whichever is most appropriate. It balances all complexion types and is said to delay wrinkling. Inhale this pleasant scent to treat PMS, menopause, fluid retention, and other hormone-related problems, or include it in body rubs and baths.


To learn more about Aromatherapy and other alternative medicines, see:

  • Aromatherapy: Learn about aromatherapy, how it works, what part essential oils play, and how to use aromatherapy.
  • Essential Oils Profiles: We have collected profiles of dozens of plants that are used to produce essential oils. On these pages, you will learn the properties and preparations for the most popular essential oils.
  • How to Treat Common Conditions With Aromatherapy: Aromatherapy can be used to treat a number of conditions, from asthma to depression to skin problems. Here you will learn how to treat some common medical problems with aromatherapy.
  • Home Remedies: We have gathered over a hundred safe, time-tested home remedies for treating a wide variety of medical complaints yourself.
  • Herbal Remedies: Herbal remedies and aromatherapy can be very similar, and they stem from similar historic roots. On this page, you will find all of our herb profiles and instructions for treating medical problems with herbal remedies.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Kathi Keville is director of the American Herb Association and editor of the American Herb Association Quarterly newsletter. A writer, photographer, consultant, and teacher specializing in aromatherapy and herbs for over 25 years, she has written several books, including Aromatherapy: The Complete Guide to the Healing Art and Pocket Guide to Aromatherapy, and has written over 150 articles for such magazines as New Age Journal, The Herb Companion, and New Herbal Remedies. This information is solely for informational purposes. IT IS NOT INTENDED TO PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. Neither the Editors of Consumer Guide (R), Publications International, Ltd., the author nor publisher take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, action or application of medication which results from reading or following the information contained in this information. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care provider. Before undertaking any course of treatment, the reader must seek the advice of their physician or other health care provider.