The Benefits of Rose Geranium Essential Oil

Rose geranium essential oil is a type of essential oil commonly used in aromatherapy. Sourced from the flowers and leaves of the Pelargonium graveolens plant, rose geranium essential oil is said to offer a variety of health benefits.

Rose geranium essential oil contains a number of compounds thought to enhance health, including citronellol and geraniol.

Close up of some bright pink geraniums growing in a garden.
Diana Haronis / Getty Images

How It Works

Inhaling the aroma of essential oils is thought to transmit messages to a brain region involved in controlling emotions. This brain region, known as the limbic system, also influences the nervous system which can affect stress levels, heart rate, blood pressure, breathing, and immune function. Essential oils can also exert biological affects through topical use where they can be absorbed into the skin, or when taken orally.

Health Benefits

While preliminary research suggests that rose geranium essential oil may offer certain health benefits, there is currently a lack of research testing the health effects of aromatherapeutic use of rose geranium essential oil.

For example, a preliminary study published in the Iranian Journal of Microbiology in 2012 found that rose geranium essential oil may act as an antimicrobial (a substance that destroys or suppresses the growth of microorganisms, including bacteria and fungi).

In addition, a preliminary study published in Lipids in Health and Disease in 2012 indicates that rose geranium essential oil may help protect against diabetes. In tests on rats, the study's authors determined that animals treated orally with rose geranium essential oil experienced a significant decrease in blood sugar levels.

The study's authors note that rose geranium essential oil appears to offer antioxidant effects when taken orally. However, it's important to note that rose geranium essential oil may have toxic effects when ingested.

It's also important to note that neither of these studies tested the aromatherapeutic use of rose geranium essential oil and that more research is needed before rose geranium essential oil can be recommended in the treatment of any health condition.

Uses

Rose geranium essential oil may be used to treat the following problems:

  • Acne
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Insomnia
  • Post-herpetic neuralgia

Rose geranium essential oil is also used to promote emotional stability, alleviate pain, stimulate healing from burns and wounds, enhance mood, and reduce inflammation.

In addition, rose geranium essential oil is sometimes used as an insect repellant.

When combined with a carrier oil (such as jojoba, sweet almond, or avocado), rose geranium essential oil can be applied directly to the skin or added to baths.

Rose geranium essential oil also can be inhaled after sprinkling a few drops of the oil onto a cloth or tissue, or by using an aromatherapy diffuser or vaporizer.

Caveats

As with all essential oils, rose geranium essential oil should not be taken internally without the supervision of a health professional. Internal use of rose geranium essential oil may have toxic effects.

In addition, some individuals may experience irritation or an allergic reaction when applying rose geranium essential oil to the skin. It should not be applied full strength to the skin.

Essential oils are absorbed through the skin.

Pregnant women and children should consult their primary health care providers prior to using essential oils.

Due to a lack of supporting research, it's too soon to recommend rose geranium oil for any health condition. If you're considering the use of rose geranium oil, talk to your doctor before starting your supplement regimen. Keep in mind that rose geranium oil should not be used as a substitute for standard care in the treatment of a chronic health condition.

Alternatives

Several other types of essential oils have been found to offer health effects similar to purported benefits of rose geranium essential oil.

For example, lavender essential oil may help reduce anxiety and promote healthy sleep. In addition, orange essential oil, lemon essential oil, and jasmine essential oil may help improve mood.

Where to Find It

Widely available for purchase online, rose geranium essential oil is sold in many natural-foods stores and in stores specializing in self-care products.

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  1. Ali, B, Al-Wbael, N, Shams, S, Ahamad, A, Khan, SA, Anwar, F. Essential oils used in aromatherapy: a systemic review. Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Biomedicine, 2015;5(8): 601-611. doi:10.1016/j.apjtb.2015.05.007

  2. Ghannadi A, Bagherinejad M, Abedi D, Jalali M, Absalan B, Sadeghi N. Antibacterial activity and composition of essential oils from Pelargonium graveolens L'Her and Vitex agnus-castus L. Iran J Microbiol. 2012;4(4):171-6.

  3. Boukhris M, Bouaziz M, Feki I, Jemai H, El feki A, Sayadi S. Hypoglycemic and antioxidant effects of leaf essential oil of Pelargonium graveolens L'Hér. in alloxan induced diabetic rats. Lipids Health Dis. 2012;11:81. doi:10.1186/1476-511X-11-81

  4. Greenway FL, Frome BM, Engels TM, McLellan A. Temporary relief of postherpetic neuralgia pain with topical geranium oil. The American Journal of Medicine. 2003 Nov 1;115(7):586-587.