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Geranium (Pelargonium graveolens)


    Family: Geraniaceae

    Grow zone: 10-11

    Geranium, scientifically known as Pelargonium graveolens, is a plant that is commonly used in aromatherapy and herbal medicine. It has a pleasant floral scent and is believed to offer several potential benefits for depression and anxiety. Here’s an overview of using geranium to treat these conditions:

    1. Mood Upliftment: Geranium essential oil is often used in aromatherapy to promote emotional well-being and uplift mood. Its pleasant scent can help reduce feelings of anxiety, stress, and tension. Inhalation of geranium oil or its diffusion in the air can create a calming and soothing atmosphere.
    2. Relaxation and Stress Reduction: Geranium is known for its calming and relaxing effects. It may help reduce nervousness, restlessness, and promote a sense of tranquility. Geranium oil can be used in massage blends or diluted in carrier oils for a calming massage experience.
    3. Hormonal Balance: Geranium is thought to have hormone-balancing properties. It may help regulate hormonal fluctuations, particularly in women experiencing menstrual symptoms or menopause-related mood swings. Geranium oil is commonly used in massage oils or applied topically to the lower abdomen to alleviate menstrual discomfort.
    4. Skin and Body Care: Geranium oil is often used in skincare products due to its potential benefits for the skin. While not directly related to depression and anxiety, promoting self-care and enhancing one’s physical appearance can have positive effects on mood and overall well-being. Geranium oil may help balance oil production, improve skin texture, and reduce stress-related skin conditions.

    Medicinal Effects:

    Adaptogenic (fatigue - reduce; antidepressive; stress - reduce):
    Anti-inflammatory: Alleviate inflammation throughout the body
    Anti-microbial: Antimicrobial herbs possess natural properties that help combat harmful microorganisms and promote a healthy immune system
    Antibacterial: destroy or inhibit the growth of bacteria  
    Antidepressive (Mental Health - Depression; Depression):
    Antioxidant: A substance such as vitamin C or E that removes potentially damaging oxidizing agents in a living organism.
    Antiseptic (syn. Germicides): Destroys or controls pathogenic bacteria. Used topically  
    Astringent (Also See Acne):
    Diuretic (Urine - increase): Increases the secretion and expulsion of urine 
    Insecticide: Insecticide herbs contain natural compounds that repel or eliminate insects, offering a botanical defense against pests in an eco-friendly manner.
    Sedative (also see Hypnotic):

    How to grow and harvest

    Growing and harvesting Geranium (Pelargonium graveolens) can be a rewarding experience. Here are some guidelines for growing and harvesting Geranium:

    1. Climate and Sunlight: Geraniums thrive in warm and sunny climates. They prefer full sunlight but can tolerate partial shade.
    2. Soil Requirements: Geraniums prefer well-draining soil with a pH range of 6.0 to 7.5. Ensure the soil is rich in organic matter and has good drainage.
    3. Planting: Geraniums can be grown from seeds, cuttings, or purchased young plants. If starting from seeds, sow them indoors 8-10 weeks before the last frost date. Once the weather warms up, transplant the seedlings outdoors, spacing them about 12-18 inches apart.
    4. Watering: Geraniums prefer moderate watering. Allow the soil to dry slightly between waterings to avoid overwatering, which can lead to root rot. Water the plants at the base to keep the foliage dry and prevent diseases.
    5. Fertilization: Apply a balanced, slow-release fertilizer to the soil in spring. Alternatively, you can use a liquid fertilizer every 4-6 weeks during the growing season. Follow the instructions on the fertilizer package for proper application.
    6. Pruning: Regular pruning helps maintain the shape of the plant and encourages bushy growth. Pinch off the tips of the stems to promote branching. Remove any dead or wilted leaves and spent flowers to keep the plant healthy.
    7. Harvesting: Geranium leaves and flowers can be harvested for various purposes. For essential oil production, the leaves and stems are typically harvested when the plant is in full bloom. Cut the stems just above a leaf node, as this encourages new growth. Dry the harvested plant material in a well-ventilated area away from direct sunlight until completely dry. Store the dried leaves and flowers in airtight containers in a cool, dark place.
    8. Pests and Diseases: Geraniums are relatively resistant to pests and diseases. However, they can occasionally be affected by aphids, spider mites, or fungal diseases. Regularly inspect the plants for any signs of pests or diseases, and take appropriate measures to address the issues if they arise.

    By following these guidelines, you can successfully grow and harvest Geranium (Pelargonium graveolens) and enjoy its aromatic foliage and potential medicinal properties.

    How to use as medicine:

    Geranium (Pelargonium graveolens) has a long history of traditional medicinal use. Various parts of the plant, including the leaves, flowers, and essential oil, can be used for medicinal purposes. Here are some common ways to use Geranium as medicine:

    1. Geranium Essential Oil: Geranium essential oil is widely used in aromatherapy for its potential therapeutic effects. It can be inhaled, diffused, or applied topically after dilution with a carrier oil. Here are a few applications:
      • Inhalation: Add a few drops of geranium essential oil to a diffuser or inhale directly from the bottle to promote relaxation, balance emotions, and uplift mood. Inhalation of the aroma may have calming and stress-reducing effects.
      • Topical Application: Dilute geranium essential oil with a carrier oil, such as jojoba, coconut, or sweet almond oil, before applying it to the skin. This can be done by mixing 3-5 drops of geranium essential oil with 1 ounce (30 mL) of carrier oil. Apply the diluted oil to pulse points, temples, or affected areas for potential benefits such as soothing skin conditions, promoting wound healing, or relieving menstrual discomfort. Perform a patch test before applying it to a larger area to check for any skin sensitivity or allergic reactions.
    2. Herbal Tea: Geranium leaves and flowers can be used to make herbal tea. Here’s a simple recipe:
      • Ingredients: 1 teaspoon of dried geranium leaves or flowers, 1 cup of boiling water.
      • Directions: Place the dried geranium leaves or flowers in a cup and pour boiling water over them. Let it steep for 5-10 minutes. Strain the leaves and flowers and drink the tea. You can sweeten it with honey if desired. Geranium tea is believed to have calming and digestive properties.
    3. Topical Compress: Geranium-infused water or tea can be used as a warm or cold compress to soothe skin conditions, minor cuts, or inflammation. Soak a clean cloth in the infused water or tea, wring out the excess liquid, and apply it to the affected area.
    4. Herbal Baths: Add a handful of dried geranium leaves or flowers to a warm bath for a relaxing and aromatic experience. The aromatic steam and contact with the skin may offer a calming effect.

    It’s important to note that while Geranium (Pelargonium graveolens) has traditional uses and potential health benefits, it should not replace professional medical advice or prescribed medications for specific health conditions. It’s always recommended to consult with a healthcare professional before using Geranium or any herbal remedy, especially if you have underlying health conditions or are pregnant or breastfeeding.