Pelargonium graveolens L'Hér.

Last updated: 2 June 2016

Scientific Name

Pelargonium graveolens L'Hér.


Geraniospermum terebintaceum (Spreng.), KuntzeGeranium graveolens (L'Hér.) Thunb., Geranium terebinthinaceum Cav. [Illegitimate], pelargonium intermedium Kunth. [1]

Vernacular Name

English Bourbon geranium, rose geranium, rose pelargonium, sweet scented geranium [2]
China Xiang ye [3]
Indonesia Daun ambre [2]
Philippines Malvarosa [2]
France Bec de grue, pelargonium rosat [2]
Italy Erba cancella, gernio odoroso [2]
German Rosengeranie, zitronenpelargonie [2]
Saudi arabia Attirchia [3]
South africa Wildemalva [3].

Geographical Distributions

Pelargonium graveolens originated in South Africa but now is grown in China, Egypt, Morocco and India. [2]

Botanical Description

P. graveolens is a member of Geraniaceae family. [1]


The thin oil is steam distilled from the leaves and flowers of the plant during the flowering season. It is orange-yellow to a yellowish-green in colour with a floral ‘rose’ fragrance. It is often substituted for rose oil in less expensive products, though its fragrance is lighter and less complex than rose. There are two types of Rose geranium oil: Bourbon and North African. The Bourbon type, cultivated in Madagascar, is considered more valuable. [4] 

Chemical Constituent

P. graveolens has been reported to contain citronellol, linalool, isomenthone, geraniol, citronellyl formate. [5][6][7]

Plant Part Used

Leaves [2]

Traditional Use

P. graveolens essential oil was shown to be effective as an insecticide against Dermatophagoides farinae and D. pteronyssinus which are commonly known as bed bugs. The two constituents responsible for this action were geraniol and citronellol. [7]

Preclinical Data


Antioxidant activity

A laboratory study examined the antioxidant activity of P. graveolens oil and by-products of the oil. The study demonstrated that all plant parts, oil and by-products have anti-oxidant activity and that this activity may differ depending upon the time of day the plant is harvested and processed. [8]

Antifungal activity

Melaleuca alternifolia, Origanum vulgare and P. graveolens essential oils were combined with amphotericin B against several strains of Candida. All essential oils showed a synergistic effect with amphotericin B, however, P. graveolens had the strongest antifungal activity. [9]

In another laboratory study, the antifungal effects of ketoconazole were found to be strongly enhanced when combined with rose geranium essential oil. This may lessen the amount of the drug needed to treat this type of infection. [10]

Anti-inflammatory activity

In an animal study, the essential oil of Rose geranium demonstrated anti-inflammatory properties. [11]

Antibacterial- Rose geranium essential was combined with the conventional antibiotic Norfloxacin. This combination was used against Bacillus cereus ATCC 11778, Bacillus subtilis ATCC 6633, Escherichia coli ATCC 35218, Staphylococcus aureus ATCC 6538 and S. aureus ATCC 29213. Antibacterial action was seen with 3 out of the 5 types of bacteria. The study concluded that the antibacterial activity of this specific combination could reduce the amount of antibiotic needed for infections, therefore, lessening the side effects of the drug. [12]


No documentation

Clinical Data

Clinical findings

No documentation

Interaction & Depletion

No documentation


No documentation

Poisonous Management

No documentation

Line drawing

No documentation


  1. The Plant List. Ver1.1. Pelargonium graveolens. [homepage on the Internet]. c2013 [updated 2012 Mar 23; cited 2016 May 12]. Available from:
  2. Seidemann J. World spice plants: Economic usage, botany, taxonomy. Berlin: Springer-Verlag, 2005; p. 276
  3. Quattrocchi U. CRC world dictionary of medicinal and poisonous plants: Common names, scientific names, eponyms, synonyms, and etymology. Volume IV M-Q. Boca Raton, Florida: CRC Press, 2012; p. 458-459.
  4. Bauer K, Garbe D, Surburg H. Common fragrance and flavor materials.3rd ed. New York: Wiley-VCH; 1997.
  5. Lis Balchan M. Aromatherapy science: A guide for healthcare professionals. London: Pharmaceutical Press; 2006.
  6. Shin S. Anti-Aspergillus activities of plant essential oils and their combination effects with ketoconazole or amphotericin B. Arch Pharm Res. 2003;26(5):389-393.
  7. Jeon JH. Mite-control activities of active constituents isolated from Pelargonium graveolens against house dust mites. J Microbiol Biotechnol. 2008;18(10):1666-1671
  8. Sun W, Xu Z , Wang C , Qu W , Lin C. Study on antioxidant activity of essential oils and its monomer from Pelargonium graveolens. Yao Cai. 2005;28(2):87-89. Chinese.
  9. Rosato A, Vitali C, Gallo D, Balenzano L, Mallamaci R. The inhibition of Candida species by selected essential oils and their synergism with amphotericin B. Phytomedicine. 2008;15(8):635-638.
  10. Shin S, Lim S. Antifungal effects of herbal essential oils alone and in combination with ketoconazole against Trichophyton spp. J Appl Microbiol. 2004;97(6):1289-1296.
  11. Ganapaty S, Beknal AK. Chemical composition and antiinflammatory activity of Pelargonium graveolens oil (Geranium). Indian J Nat Prod. 2004;20(4):18-20.
  12. Rosato A, Vitali C, De Laurentis N, Armenise D, Antonietta Milillo M. Antibacterial effect of some essential oils administered alone or in combination with Norfloxacin. Phytomedicine. 2007;14(11):727-732.