Knowing your oils: Geranium

Pelargonium x asperum is one of a number of species used for essential oil production. They are not in fact Geraniums at all but both in the world of essential oils and gardening have been commonly misnamed for many years.

It is one of the oils I use a lot both in massage and in the skin balm I make.


My aroma notes state, “Sweet & floral; Freh & green; Slightly citrus & spicy.” For me when I first let a couple of drops fall on a piece of paper, it is the fresh and green that predominate with sweet and floral taking third place behind the Slight citrus and spicy.

You may experience it differently, either due to differences in your own sense of smell from mine or a difference in the oil which will vary from year to year even from the same plants depending on the weather conditions during both growth and harvest.

To me the fragrance is uplifting and smelling again at two minutes when many of the top notes will have evaporated I still get that experience even though the sense of life in the oil is reduced. I also notice that I can still smell it even though the paper bearing the oil is a couple of feet away from me.

At five minutes I still find it uplifting but notice that it is the spicy element that predominates. Likie some of the citrus oil I get a clear visual image of the heart shped leaves of the plant on it’s irregularly twisting stems along with it’s pink flowers.

It is one of the most important of the anti-inflammatory oils, being good for hot conditions. In particular can ease the pain from shingles.

It is also an anti-fungal and can be used to treat athletes foot. (Someone who buys the skin balm I make using Geranium, Frankincense and Sea Buckthorn uses it for this and finds it more effective than the prescribed medication she has tried in the past.”

At ten minutes the spicy aroma is still strong and this reflects the presence of base notes formed from less volatile compounds within the oil.

It can be grown in UK but in all but the warmest climes of South Devon and Cornwall will usually need protection during the winter.

At half an hour and an hour there is very little change with the spicy notes still predominating. I suspect that I will still be able to enjoy these notes after two or three hours making this oil very good value for money.