Rose Geranium Oil: Benefits, Uses, & Side Effects

by Raksha Hegde last updated -

Rose geranium oil is a wonderful rose-scented essential oil that has been used in herbal medicines for centuries. The potential benefits of rose geranium oil include its ability to act as a natural anti-depressant, an analgesic for arthritic and nerve pain, and an anti-inflammatory for skin conditions. It is a popular choice for a soothing oil in aromatherapy.

What is Rose Geranium Oil?

Rose geranium oil is extracted from the leaves and stem of the rose geranium plant by steam distillation. Rose geraniums are small pink or lavender flowers, quite unlike the big blooming geraniums. Rose geraniums belong to the Pelargonium genus, commonly known as scented geraniums. These pretty flowers have a light scent reminiscent of rose, with tones of lilac, citrus, and lemongrass; however, the maximum scent comes from the leaves of the plant. This rose-like fragrance of the leaves is why rose geranium is used to infuse flavor into tea, sugar, baked goods, preserves, syrups, essential oils, and cosmetics. [1]

Rose geranium oil, leaves, and flower extracts also have antifungal, antibacterial, antiviral, and pesticidal properties, according to research studies. The essential oil and extract are also used in natural pesticides, herbal medicines, and aromatherapy. [2]

Rose geranium essential oil with fresh geranium flowers, on a wooden board

Rose geranium oil is used in aromatherapy as a relaxant. Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Benefits & Uses

Unlike many essential oils, rose geranium oil is also considered highly safe for ingestion. Geranium oils are given the GRAS status (Generally Recognized As Safe) and approved by the USFDA for food use. Let us look at the science-backed benefits and uses of rose geranium oil in detail. [3] [4]


The main constituents of the oil – citronellol, geraniol, and linalool – are known to possess anti-inflammatory activities. A 2013 animal model showed that the topical application of rose geranium oil helped reduce the inflammation in rat paws and ears. The research study concluded that the essential oil may have good potential for the development of anti-inflammatory drugs. [5] [6] [7]

How To Use: A few drops, diluted with a carrier oil, can be topically applied to reduce inflammation and pain in the case of rheumatoid arthritis, canker sores, and bacterial or fungal skin infections.

Relaxant in Aromatherapy

Rose geranium oil is often used in aromatherapy to calm anxiety and other nervous conditions. Anecdotal evidence shows that the oil works as an anti-depressant and helps lift the spirits. It can be useful during mood swings related to hormonal shifts as it both soothing and energizing. While there are no studies that can back this claim, a 2017 study concluded that the fragrance of rose oil helped in physiological and psychological relaxation, and had analgesic and anti-anxiety effects. Rose geranium oil has a lighter but similar fragrance notes as rose oil.  [8]

How to Use: Use 5-6 drops in a diffuser with citrus-like neroli, bergamot, or sweet orange to create an uplifting fragrant space.


Rose geranium oil is often used to treat skin conditions due to its astringent, antiseptic, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory properties. Topical usage with a carrier oil can help reduce acne and eliminate bacterial infections. While large studies are limited, a herbal blend of rose geranium oil and Oliveria decumbens oil helped improve collagen formation and wound healing in mice. [9] [10]

How to Use: This essential oil helps balance serum, which is useful for skin that is not too oily or too dry. Use it with a skin-enhancing carrier oil that is suitable for your skin.

May Reduce Nerve Pain

A blend of rose geranium with either one or more oils like lavender, bergamot, blue chamomileeucalyptus, or tea tree can help significantly reduce neuropathic pain. [11]

How to Use: Topical application of the oil blend on the affected area can help reduce the pain. However, make sure you do a patch test on your arm to avoid rashes.

Hereditary Hemorrhagic Telangiectasia (Nose Bleeds)

A 6-month study revealed that the topical application of a sesame/rose geranium oil compound significantly reduced the severity of twenty participants with hereditary hemorrhagic telangiectasia (nose bleeds).

How to Use: The oil blend is typically put in the nose with a dropper. It is advisable to check with your health advisor on the amount and times that you should use the oil blend. [12]

May Regulate Blood Sugar Levels

Rose-scented geranium has been used in traditional Tunisian folk medicine for the treatment of hyperglycemia (high blood sugar). In a rat study, it was found that the hypoglycemic effect of rose geranium oil was significantly more effective than that of glibenclamide, a known anti-diabetic drug. [13]

How to Use: Human studies are required to fully understand the therapeutic potential of this oil for people with diabetes. While the antioxidant-rich oil has proven to reduce oxidative stress related to diabetes, professional medical advice should be sought on the exact dosage as a safe alternative antihyperglycemic drug. [14] [15]

Other Uses: 

  • Culinary application: The essential oil is used to flavor certain foods and beverages.
  • Fragrance: It is often used in soaps, cosmetics, and perfumes. [16]
  • Manufacturing: It is used as an inexpensive alternative for rose oil.
  • Natural pesticide: According to a report in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, the oil can help repel bugs and is especially potent against fleas and ticks. [17] [18] [19] [20]

Risks & Side Effects

There are no known side effects of rose geranium oil. It may cause a burning sensation or a rash when topically applied on the face, especially in people with sensitive skin. To avoid this, you may first do a patch test and apply it in a diluted form on your arm. It is best diluted with a carrier oil like coconut or jojoba oil. You can dilute 1-2 drops with 5-6 drops of the carrier oil. [21] Protection Status
About the Author

Raksha Hegde is the content director at Organic Facts and helps oversee a team of brilliant, dynamic content writers. She completed her MS in Broadcast Journalism from Boston University, US. A former business news journalist and editor, Raksha followed her passion for wellness to become a certified Yoga teacher and a wellness festival curator. She believes that learning is a life-long process; she did a certificate e-course on “Introduction to Food and Health” in 2019 from Stanford University, US. 

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