9 Benefits of Gardenia Essential Oil

by John Staughton (BASc, BFA) last updated -

There are quite a few notable benefits to gardenia essential oil, including reducing inflammation, preventing chronic disease, strengthening the immune system, stimulating sex drive, optimizing digestion and improving mood, as well as healing wounds and increasing milk production. There are a few side effects to using this essential oil, albeit a limited amount, and include skin irritation and inflammation, along with possible complication in pregnant women and with children.

Gardenia essential oil is derived by extracting the compounds, active ingredients and volatile acids from the petals of the gardenia flower. Bearing the scientific name Gardenia jasminoides, the gardenia is an evergreen bush that produces white flowers and is native to China. It has been naturalized in other Asian nations, and more than 40 other species of gardenia exist in other temperate and subtropical regions around the world. This essential oil was traditionally extracted using enfleurage, which utilizes animal fats to pull out the essence of the flower, but this technique has been replaced with steam distillation to increase output and production. Most of the impressive health benefits of gardenia essential oil come from its high concentrations of benzyl and phenyl acetates, as well as linalool and terpineol, among various other antioxidants. [1]

Gardenia Essential Oil Benefits

Gardenia essential oil is best for people who are dealing with poor digestion, low sex drive, coughs, colds, flu, inflammatory conditions, chronic pain, a weak immune system, anxiety, stress, depression, fresh wounds, low milk production, and poor circulation.

A bottle with essential oil with yellow blossoms kept next to it

Gardenia essential oil contains many antioxidants that fight free radical damage. Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Reduces Inflammation

When it comes to symptoms of inflammatory conditions, two very unique compounds in gardenia essential oil help to provide relief. Geniposide and genipin are both anti-inflammatory substances that can help soothe the digestive tract, eliminate aches and pains in the body, reduce arthritis symptoms and prevent headaches. When diffused, these effects can be even more successful than topical application. [2]

Stimulates Sex Drive

Traditionally, this oil has been used to stimulate sex drive and boost libido, particularly for men. But it can also be added to perfumes or baths to spice things up for women as well. The connection between the olfactory center and the limbic system (emotional control center of the brain) is well known and on clear display when it comes to this essential oil. [3]

Speeds Up Wound Healing

As a bactericidal substance, gardenia essential oil provides an added level of support to your immune system. In the case of a wound, scratch, scrape, bruise or cut, you should apply a small amount of this diluted essential oil to protect against any infections near the wound. This also helps internally, as this oil can stimulate healing and speed recovery of damaged tissues and blood vessels [4]

Improves Mood

One of the most popular uses of gardenia essential oil is in aromatherapy, primarily because of its effect on mood, anxiety and potential symptoms of depression. Adding this to a bath or diffusing it throughout your room can lower stress hormone levels and reduce oxidative stress in the body. [5]

Boosts Immune System

Antibacterial, antioxidant and antiviral compounds found in the essential oil of this flower can give your skin and internal system an extra layer of protection from pathogens, irritants and other foreign substances that can cause harm. By bolstering your immune system with gardenia essential oil, you can stimulate the production of white blood cells and neutralize free radical activity. [6]

Alleviates Respiratory Issues

Inhaling this essential oil, either with a face steamer, aromatherapy, or oil diffuser can provide effective and immediate relief from congestion, sore throats, clogged sinuses, and overall respiratory inflammation. The antibacterial qualities can also help attack the underlying infection. [7]

Increases Milk Production

As a galactagogue, gardenia essential oil can help women produce more breast milk after they have had their child. While this oil isn’t necessarily safe to consume during pregnancy, it can certainly help women after childbirth. Experts have also deemed this oil safe for breastfeeding women, as only a small amount of the active compounds will be passed through the milk. [8]

Increases Circulation

There are certain stimulant properties of this essential oil that can help boost circulation, which in turn deliver more oxygen and nutrients to parts of the body that need them most. This can increase cognition, prevent fatigue and anemia symptoms, and speed the healing process following injuries, illness or surgery. [9]

Improves Digestive Health

This oil is known to stimulate the probiotic activity in the gut to enhance digestion and maximize nutrient uptake, while also preventing the spread of certain bacteria and other pathogens in the gut, keeping your stomach functioning at its highest level!

Gardenia Essential Oil Uses

This essential oil can be used in many different ways, ranging from topical applications to general oil diffusion and aromatherapy. The versatility of this oil is why it is included in so many cosmetic and therapeutic products.

Massage Oil

The soothing and anti-inflammatory properties of this oil make it an excellent choice as a massage oil. In fact, many people simply add a few extra drops of gardenia essential oil into another massage oil to improve its efficacy.

Potpourri and Candles

You will commonly find this essential oil as a constituent part of various candle recipes and potpourri. You can also add a few drops to your potpourri for an aromatherapy effect that can improve mood and lighten your spirit, while also providing a sweet scent to the room.

Room Odor

If you use an essential oil diffuser, gardenia essential oil is a very common choice, due to its unique sweet scent. The antibacterial qualities can cleanse your room or house of airborne pathogens, and also eliminate any odors from animals, smoke or food.


Putting a few drops of gardenia essential oil into your bath will fill your bathroom with a wonderful aroma and provide a muscle-relaxing, stress-relieving atmosphere for your quiet time.

Facial Steam

You can add a few drops of this oil to a bowl of boiled water and then inhale the steam for a quickly and directly addressing respiratory infections, congestion, low energy, and fatigue.

Side Effects of Gardenia Essential Oil

The limited side effects of gardenia essential oil include inflammation or irritation of the skin, as well as individual complications based on age and medical condition. Generally speaking, however, this essential oil is extremely safe for personal use, provided you don’t consume it directly or use too much.

  • Skin Irritation – If you use an inappropriate amount of gardenia essential oil, or if you have sensitive skin, there is a good chance that you will experience an allergic reaction on the skin, including redness, itchiness, and irritation. Always apply a moderate amount of gardenia essential oil, often blended with other carrier oils, and first put it on a small patch of skin to see whether any reaction occurs.
  • Pregnancy and Children – Most experts do not recommend the use of gardenia essential oil for children or women who are pregnant. However, in the third trimester, this oil can be used to stimulate labor. Before using this oil, be sure to speak with your doctor, particularly if you are pregnant. However, as a galactagogue that increases milk production, it can be used for breastfeeding women.
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About the Author

John Staughton is a traveling writer, editor, publisher and photographer with English and Integrative Biology degrees from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana (USA). He co-founded the literary journal, Sheriff Nottingham, and now serves as the Content Director for Stain’d Arts, a non-profit based in Denver, Colorado. On a perpetual journey towards the idea of home, he uses words to educate, inspire, uplift and evolve.

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