Geranium History and Classification
The name Geranium refers to a genus of approximately 422 species of flowering plants that are primarily found in the eastern part of the Mediterranean, despite being found in other tropical regions the world over.
The cranesbill, as it's more commonly known has symmetrical flowers, with seed heads that have the same shape as a crane! In fact, the genus name is derived from the Greek word geranos which literally means crane. That said, within the genus itself there has historically been some confusion between the Geranium and the Pelargonium.
The "true" Geranium and Pelargonium plants were initially classified under the same genus in the 18th century, and although later 19th century classifications separated the two, true Geraniums and Pelargoniums are often confused. We can visually observe the difference in the two below.
The majority of "Geranium" essential oil is actually made from plants of the Pelargonium genus, not the Geranium genus. Because the plants quickly hybridize, the individual species used to produce the oil is of lesser importance.
The Pelargonium itself is a short and hardy perennial shrub, which is today mainly grown in Eygpt and China, despite hailing from South Africa, where it was introduced to European monarchies in the late 16th century.
Top 3 Benefits of Geranium Essential Oil:
Helps Reduce Anxiety
There's a reason we chose Geranium Essential oil to headline MOXE Peace. Around a quarter of the United States population admits to suffering from a combination of stress and anxiety, and more than likely this number is significantly beneath the actual number due to the stigma attatched to both of these conditions.
Aromatherapy is one of the many solutions being researched to treat this epidemic, and we want you to have the evidence. When inhaled, Geranium Essential Oil was demonstrated to significantly reduce stress and anxiety levels when compared to a test group. These findings confirm that many ancient cultures, including the Eygptians, were spot on in their choice to use Geranium essential oil to reduce stress. There have also been numerous studies indicating that Geranium Essential oil may be used as a compliment for treating mild depression, including a study by the Japanese in 2005.
May Help Lower Blood Pressure
According to the American Heart Association 1 in 3 adults in the United States suffer from high blood pressure, with the prevalance expected to increase by 7.3% from the 2013 estimates presented.
While there are a number of ways to treat this condition, Aromatherapy is entering the discussion as a possible way to help manage this condition. Consider that, according to a 2006 study of 58 women, which used Geranium oil as part of a aromatic therapy, the experimental group produced "significant differences in the systolic and diastolic blood pressure" after an 8 week treatment. While more research into this area needs to be done, this is an exciting development into a potentially lifechanging remedy for the millions suffering from hypertension.
May Help Reduce Menstrual Symptoms
Each woman is different, but we can all agree that PMS and menstrual cramping suck. There are a number of different ways to address the hormonal causes of both of these issues, from changes in your diet and exercise to reducing stress. However, recent studies have also supported the idea that aromatherapy can help as well.
A 2011 study assessed high school girls and asked them to rate their menstrual pain prior to recieving aromatic therapy. The treatment group reported significantly higher reductions in menstrual pain than the control group. While additional scientific study into this conclusion is worthwhile, this is a positive and noteworthy development to consider.
How to Best Use Geranium Essential Oil
There's a number of different ways to use Geranium Essential Oil, but the most important part of it is understanding that undiluted essential oils are powerful, and should be used with caution if not using a pre-made blend. The first step is diluting the oil in a carrier oil. In our experience, you should use dilute 1 drop of Geranium oil in 4ml of a carrier oil like almond oil. If you plan on using it topically, test it on a small area of your skin and wait 24 hours to make sure you do not experience any adverse effects.
At MOXE, we personally love putting a drop on a steaming hot towel, and then enjoying the therapedic steam effect. Geranium also is great to use with aromatherapy bracelets and necklaces, as it's calming properties can be useful for those of us under a lot of stress. If you need a quick fix to help relieve an anxiety attack or mounting stress, you can simply rub a drop of diluted oil between your hands and cup them to your nose.
Geranium also works great in a standard aromatherapy diffuser. Combine it with sweeter smelling oils like blood orange, or something a little bit more powerful like cinnamon. Or, if you want to enjoy the benefits of Geranium on the go, a nasal inhaler can be a convient way to take aromatherapy with you.
1 Lis-Balchin, M. (2002). Geranium and Pelargonium: History of Nomenclature, Usage and Cultivation. London: Taylor & Francis.
2 Morris, N., Birtwistle, S., & Toms, M. (2003, October 14). Anxiety reduction by aromatherapy: Anxiolytic effects of inhalation of geranium and rosemary. Retrieved from https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/0962456295800387
3 Okamoto, A., Kuriyama, H., Watanabe, S., Aihara, Y., Tadai, T., Imanishi, J., & Fukui, K. (2005, May 16). The effect of aromatherapy massage on mild depression: A pilot study. Retrieved from https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/j.1440-1819.2005.01385.x
4 M., H., M., C., A., & G. (2009, July 07). EFFECTS OF AROMATHERAPY ON BLOOD PRESSURE AND LIPID PROFILE IN KOREAN CLIMACTERIC WOMEN. Retrieved from https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/00207450600936650
5 Myung-Haeng, Lee, Soo, M., Seong, Ka-Yeon, & Mi-Kyoung. (2011, September 22). Aromatherapy Massage on the Abdomen for Alleviating Menstrual Pain in High School Girls: A Preliminary Controlled Clinical Study. Retrieved from https://www.hindawi.com/journals/ecam/2012/187163/abs/