Geranium essential oil, benefits and uses

Rose geranium is the plant usually used for geranium essential oil extraction

Rose geranium is the plant usually used for geranium essential oil extraction

Originally published on Guide to Aromatherapy

As with all essential oils, geranium oil should never be taken internally, even though you may see this recommended elsewhere. Essential oils are highly concentrated and can cause permanent damage if used in this way, even if you think you have diluted them. Be safe and use them as intended, in massage blends and diffusers, and keep them out of the reach of children at all times.

Geranium essential oil is offered in two types. Rose geranium oil (which you will often find called just geranium essential oil), Pelargonium graveolens, is the one most easily sourced, and also the most expensive. You may also find a product called geranium essential oil which is actually the essential oil of the apple geranium, Pelargonium odoratissimum. This is cheaper, but also does not have all the same properties.

Both types are extracted from the leaves and stalks of the appropriate plant by steam distillation, and range in color from colorless through to a light green. They are quite thin oils, so care must be taken when using them not to add too much to your carrier oil or other base by accident.

Cautions: Do not use either type of geranium essential oil during pregnancy or on sensitive skin. Not suitable for use by diabetics or anyone else who suffers from hypoglycemia. Not suitable for use on children under 1 year old. Avoid use when studying or taking exams, as it may lower concentration.

As already mentioned, the two types have different properties.

Rose geranium essential oil is often used for skin care both for dry and oily skins; it’s astringent, so it balances sebum production while simultaneously soothing and softening the skin, and is helpful for treating acne, eczema and psoriasis. Because of its antiseptic and cytophylactic (promotes healing) properties, it’s also useful for cuts, burns and external ulcers and its antifungal qualities make it an excellent topical treatment for candida (thrush) and other fungal conditions. It’s also styptic – which means it helps to stop bleeding.

Rose geranium oil’s balancing properties aren’t just restricted to the skin. It also helps to balance the mind, emotions and hormonal system. Of course, though conventional medicine tends to treat these as entirely separate, in fact they are quite closely interlinked. We all know how our emotions seem to affect everything, and PMS (a hormonal condition) is well known to cause severe dysfunction both of mental and emotional health. It’s no surprise, then, that this oil works to relax, reduce anxiety/depression and stress, stabilize the emotions and restore mental balance. As a hormonal regulator, it is useful for treating menopausal problems, menorrhagia (heavy periods) and PMS.

And that’s not all. Rose geranium oil is also an adrenal stimulant, deodorant, diuretic (useful in treating edema), a lymphatic stimulant, and a good general tonic and detoxing agent. It can be used to treat gallstones and jaundice (only after consultation with your regular physician) and cellulite. Finally, it is a lice (cootie) repellent, mosquito repellent, general insect repellent and anti-parasitic.

Phew.

I offer rose geranium essential oil and organic rose geranium essential oil in my online shop as well as a range of other products derived from them.

Apple geranium essential oil has many, but not all, of the same properties (and a few extra ones of its own): acne, adrenal stimulant, anxiety, astringent, improves circulation, cytophylactic (promotes healing), diuretic, deodorant, dry skin, eczema, edema, hemorrhoids, hormone regulator, lice repellent, lymphatic stimulant, menopause, mental balance, mosquito repellent, neuralgia, oily skin, PMS, skin care, stress, styptic (stops bleeding), tonic, ulcers, vermifuge (anti-parasitic), vulnerary (treats cuts and wounds).

For most of these conditions, use geranium oil diluted in the usual way either directly on the area to be treated or for massage, or add 4-5 drops to your bath. For emotional and mental difficulties, it can also be used in an oil diffuser.


One of the bottles on offer at Frann's Alt.Health Shop

Make an aromatherapy gift: bath and body oil

One of the bottles on offer at Frann's Alt.Health Shop

One of the bottles on offer at Frann’s Alt.Health Shop

Originally published on Guide to Aromatherapy

When you make an aromatherapy gift, one of the most important parts is the presentation, so it’s good to prepare by collecting attractive glass bottles (plastic and oil don’t mix well), particularly ones made of colored glass, as this helps the oil to keep longer. If you don’t already have one, then you can consider using a standard bottle, and decorating it with an attractive handmade label and ribbon – maybe adding a sort of miniature shower cap of attractive material to disguise the lid (this will need to be glued on).

I offer a wide range of both glass and plastic bottles in my online shop.

Next, consider if you are making the oil for therapeutic purposes, or perhaps as a luxury which may also have the added benefit of contributing to the recipient’s skin care. If no healing properties are required, then you are free to select from any of the safe essential oils – taking care to avoid anything that is specifically contra-indicated if your friend is, for example, diabetic or suffers from a heart condition. None of the ones I have listed as safe has any contra-indications of this type.

There are certain attractively scented essential oils I’ve seen on the market which are not safe. In particular I would mention Lily of the Valley (Convallaria majalis). This does smell extremely good, but definitely should not be used in any bath mixture, as it has a strong cardiac effect, even on healthy hearts.

These essential oils are generally considered safe for adults (except during pregnancy, please see list further on): Ambrette Seed, Amyris*, Star Anise, Lemon Balm, Canadian Balsam, Copaiba Balsam, Peru Balsam, Tolu Balsam, Bay Laurel, West Indian Bay, Benzoin†1, Bergamot†3, White Birch, Borneol, Boronia, Cabreuva, Cade, Cajeput, Cananga, Caraway, Carrot Seed125, Cascarilla Bark, Cassie, Atlas Cedarwood, Texas Cedarwood, Celery Seed, German Chamomile145, Maroc Chamomile, Roman Chamomile†34, Champaca Flower, Cinnamon Leaf (not Cinnamon Bark), Citronella, Cornmint, Costus, Cubebs, Cypress3, Elemi, Lemon-Scented Eucalyptus4, Peppermint Eucalyptus4, Silver Fir Needle, Frankincense†25, Galangal, Galbanum5, Gardenia*, Geranium†124, Gingergrass, Grapefruit†, Guiac Wood, Helichrysum, Hops, Hyacinth, Sweet Inula, Jasmine†23, Labdanum, Lavandin12345, Spike Lavender12345, True Lavender†12345, Lemon35, Lemongrass, Lime5, Linaloe, Linden, Litsea Cubeba, Lovage, Mandarin/Tangerine†, Manuka, Marigold, Wild Marjoram, Mastic, Melissa, Mimosa, Myrtle, Narcissus*, Neroli (Orange blossom)†235, Niaouli4, Nutmeg, Opopanax, Palmarosa125, Parsley Seed, Petitgrain1, Pimento Berry, Longleaf Pine, Rose†15, Rosewood1, Sandalwood†2, Schinus Molle, Snakeroot, Spikenard, Hemlock Spruce, Levant Styrax, Tagetes, Tarragon, Tea Tree, Tuberose*, Turmeric, Valerian, Vanilla, Lemon Verbena, Vetiver†, Violet5, Yarrow5 and Ylang Ylang†23. Not all of these smell great, though, which is pretty important for a good bath oil, in my opinion.

† Used to treat stress, particularly useful for a relaxing bath.
* no therapeutic value but widely used in perfumes.
1 Dry skin 2 Normal skin 3 Oily skin 4 Blemished skin 5 Mature skin

Unfortunately, recent research has found that regular use of tea tree and lavender oils in boys before puberty can lead to gynecomastia (breast enlargement) and can interfere with their sexual development [source]. The same thing can occur in adult males, but with less serious effects, since their sexual characteristics are already established. It’s therefore advisable to restrict use of the oils and products (eg. shampoo) that contain either of these oils for boys except in occasional emergency situations.
 

This much reduced list is suitable for use during pregnancy or those trying to become pregnant: Roman Chamomile†34, Geranium†124, Grapefruit†, Jasmine†23, Lavender†12345, Mandarin/Tangerine†, Rose†15, Ylang Ylang†23. However, several of these have very nice scents and all of them are used to treat stress, which is a plus. On the other hand, Grapefruit and Jasmine are used to fight fatigue, extremely helpful in the later stages of pregnancy.

† Used to treat stress, particularly useful for a relaxing bath.
* no therapeutic value but widely used in perfumes.
1 Dry skin 2 Normal skin 3 Oily skin 4 Blemished skin 5 Mature skin

You can make a good bath oil using one drop of essential oil per millilitre (5 drops per teaspoon, 30 drops per fluid ounce) of carrier oil. Sweet almond oil is a good choice, but you can also use grape seed oil (probably cheaper), and you can mix in some avocado or apricot kernel oil at about 1 part to every 4 parts of the main carrier oil. Also add the contents of a vitamin E oil capsule or a few drops of vitamin E oil, which acts as a preservative. Pour the carrier oil into your chosen container, leaving sufficient space for the essential oils to be added, then add them. Mix well, label and decorate.

If you (or your friend) are concerned about leaving an oily ring round the bath because oil does not dissolve in water, you can add 1 part Polysorbate 80 to every 4 parts of carrier oil. Polysorbate is an emulsifier (which makes oil and water mix). Another solution is to use red turkey oil as a carrier oil. Neither of these should be used for a body oil.

Before you mix the essential oils into the carrier oil or carrier oil and polysorbate mixture, take the time to experiment with the fragrant oils to get a nice smelling mixture. Keep notes as you work, or  you will forget the quantities. Once you’ve found a good blend, work out how many drops of each oil you need for the amount of carrier oil you’re using. For example, for an ounce of carrier oil, you need 30 drops, so if you’ve used a total of 5 drops of different oils, you need 6 times as many drops of each oil as you used when experimenting. Just divide the total drops you need by the drops in your test mix, then multiply up.

For example: 2 drops lavender, 2 drops jasmine, 1 drop mandarin – total 5 drops. 1 ounce of carrier oil, 30 drops required. 30/5 = 6. So you will need 12 (2×6) drops each of lavender and jasmine and 6 drops of mandarin.

Making a great aromatherapy gift is simple, as you can see. So, now… what are you waiting for?


Grapefruit, Lime and Mandarin essential oils, benefits and uses

Clockwise from 12 o'clock: Grapefruit, Mandarin, Lime

Clockwise from 12 o’clock: Grapefruit, Mandarin, Lime

Originally published on Guide to Aromatherapy

The last three citrus essential oils are grapefruit, lime and mandarin (see picture right). There’s also red mandarin, which is used in the same ways as mandarin. I’m sure you’re familiar with grapefruits and limes from the local market. Mandarin is the name used in aromatherapy for the type of easy-peel orange you used to get only around Christmas time.

Grapefruit essential oil
This is extracted from the outer skin of Citrus x paradisi. The X means it is a hybrid – between the pomelo and the sweet orange. As both parents are sweet, the result is unexpectedly bitter, not that this has any relevance to its therapeutic value.

Grapefruit is energizing and is used mainly to treat psychological conditions such as bitterness, confusion, depression, despondency, envy, frustration, indecisiveness, jealousy, nervous exhaustion, performance stress, procrastination, worry about the past and to aid clarity of mind, but is also used for chills, colds and flu and to treat cellulitis, headaches, obesity, water retention and as a sports aid for use before exercise, and afterwards to treat stiffness and muscle fatigue.

Grapefruit essential oil is not suitable for use with children under five years old.

Phototoxic: don’t use on skin that will be exposed to the sun or tanning beds in the following 48 hours.

I offer grapefruit essential oil and organic grapefruit essential oil in my online shop.

Lime essential oil
This oil is extracted from the outer peel of unripe fruit of Citrus aurantifolia. This tropical tree is not related to the Common Lime or Linden found in many parks and alongside highways.

Lime essential oil is uplifting and energizing and is used like lemon oil: undiluted to treat boils, herpes (cold sores), warts and plantar warts (verrucas), and diluted for skin care, especially for oily skin, to tone and condition nails, and for bleaching discolored areas of skin.

Use at a 1% dilution as a massage oil to treat acne, anemia, arthritis, cellulitis and skin blemishes such as spots.

You can also use lime essential oil in a diffuser or add up to 3 drops to the bath to help clear up respiratory infections like colds and flu.

Phototoxic: don’t use on skin that will be exposed to the sun or tanning beds in the following 48 hours.

I offer lime essential oil and distilled lime essential oil in my online shop.

Mandarin and Red Mandarin essential oils
Mandarin is extracted from the outer skin of Citrus reticulata while red mandarin comes from Citrus nobilis. Both are used for the same purposes. Mandarin is also sometimes called Tangerine essential oil.

Mandarins/tangerines used to be a special treat looked forward to around Christmas each year, but are now available all year round under the name satsuma. The clementine is a variety of the same tree whose fruit has a tougher skin.

Mandarin essential oil is known as the children’s remedy in France and is useful for treating children and pregnant people with digestive disorders such as hiccups, gripes and indigestion as well as sleep difficulties and restlessness. Other uses include general skin care for oily skin, and as a treatment for acne and other blemishes, stretch marks, fluid retention and obesity.

Mandarin essential oil is generally regarded as not phototoxic. However, it’s probably wise to take some care about sun bathing or tanning beds within 48 hours of use.

I offer mandarin (tangerine) essential oil and red mandarin essential oil in my online shop.

As with all essential oils, none of the oils mentioned in this post should be taken internally, even though you may see this recommended elsewhere. Essential oils are highly concentrated and can cause permanent damage if used in this way, even if you think you have diluted them. Be safe and use them as intended, in massage blends and diffusers, and keep them out of the reach of children at all times.

Lemon essential oil, benefits and uses

Originally published on Guide to Aromatherapy

Lemon oil is extracted from the zest of the lemon

Lemon oil is extracted from the zest of the lemon

Lemon essential oil is sometimes called cedro oil, though you should be careful if buying oil with this name, as it’s also used for a type of cedar. It is extracted from the zest of the lemon by cold pressing or steam distillation.

Like other citrus oils, lemon is photo-sensitizing, and anyone using it on exposed skin should avoid prolonged exposure to the sun or use of tanning beds for 48 hours after use.

Lemon is a good choice for inclusion in a starter kit, because it can be used neat (undiluted) without any worries. In fact, one of the main uses of lemon oil is to treat boils, herpes (cold sores), warts and plantar warts (verrucas), for which it is always applied directly to the area to be treated in undiluted form.

As with all essential oils, lemon oil should never be taken internally, even though you may see this recommended elsewhere. Essential oils are highly concentrated and can cause permanent damage if used in this way, even if you think you have diluted them. Be safe and use them as intended, in massage blends and diffusers, and keep them out of the reach of children at all times.

Lemon is highly regarded for skin care, particularly for oily skin, and is also used to tone and condition nails, and to bleach discolored areas of skin.

Use at a 1% dilution as a massage oil to treat acne, anemia, arthritis, cellulitis and skin blemishes such as spots.

You can also use it in a diffuser or add up to 3 drops to the bath to help clear up respiratory infections like colds and flu (a drink of lemon juice or home made lemonade would also be helpful for this, as lemons are high in vitamin C, which helps to ward off infection).

Lemon oil blends well with almost all other aromatherapy oils and is a natural disinfectant.

I offer lemon essential oil and organic lemon essential oil in my online shop.