What is geraniol and why is it in your perfume?

Photo by Siora Photography on Unsplash

One day, while looking at my perfume, I noticed a few ingredients I was unfamiliar with. I looked up a couple and found one pretty interesting. This ingredient was geraniol.

When I started researching it, I discovered it is a compound responsible for the fragrance or smell in many cosmetic products. Geraniol has a rose-like odor found in the oil of roses, citronella, geranium, and lemon. However, a synthetic form is often used.

According to Balance of Nature, geraniol is a phytonutrient that offers many health benefits. They explain geraniol has anti-inflammatory, anticancer, antibacterial, antifungal, antioxidant, and neuroprotective qualities.

This means it can help fight off free radicals and the damage they can do to cells and DNA. Geraniol can also act against various bacteria and fungal strains. Not to mention, it can help combat cancerous tumors by allowing chemotherapy agents to work more effectively on tumor cells. It lessens the tumor cells’ resistance and inhibits the growth of certain cancer cells.

Wikipedia classifies geraniol as a monoterpenoid alcohol and says it isn’t only used for its fragrance but also as a flavoring ingredient. It’s used in flavors like peach, raspberry, grapefruit, red apple, plum, lime, orange, lemon, watermelon, pineapple, and blueberry.

I also found out that bees’ scent glands excrete geraniol to mark nectar-bearing flowers and find the entrance to their hives.

As mentioned, geraniol has many beneficial properties. We can experience its benefits by consuming the plant foods that contain it or by using the essential oils that contain it.

For instance, there are many meals lemon can be incorporated into. You can also grow roses or geraniums in a garden to make your own essential oils. Lemon and rose oils are often used in aromatherapy.

Photo by Christin Hume on Unsplash

Inhaling rose oil has been observed to decrease pain in patients and stimulate the brain to release endorphins. Rose oil may have a relaxing effect on many people as well. People who apple rose oil to the skin experienced a reduction in blood pressure, heart rate, breathing rate, blood oxygen, and cortisol levels.

Lemon oil is known for its purifying properties, it cleanses and deodorizes. It may also aid in digestion and respiratory function. You can add it to your water, soap, skincare routine, or desserts!

Healthline writer Jill Seladi-Schulman, PhD, says citronella oil is made from the grass plant Cymbopogon genus. It has a floral, citrus-like aroma. It has been used to treat rashes, infections, and other health conditions. Citronella oil is a well-known insect repellent as well. It can also fight fungus and speed up wound healing.

Geranium oil has been used as a beautifying agent, in perfume, and to promote healthy-looking hair and skin. It has also reduced feelings of stress. doTERRa recommends putting a couple of drops on your face to even skin tone, using it as a massage oil, or adding some into your shampoo or conditioner. Not to mention, the leaves of the geranium plant are edible and used in many treats!


Within lemon, rose, geranium, and citronella, you’ll find a compound called geraniol. Geraniol has many health benefits as do the plants that contain it. Geraniol benefits health in that it fights free radical damage and combats cancers. It also works against fungi, bacteria, and insects. Geraniol is used in many products including perfume and other cosmetic items. It also contributes to the beneficial effects of rose, lemon, geranium, and citronella essential oils.

If you have a rosy smelling perfume, you likely have geraniol the thank for that!



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