We left off my series with rose geranium while exploring its support for hormonal health throughout a woman’s lifespan. As often happens, I got a bit side-tracked by other topics. First, it was to make sure I discussed five-key points to remember when using any modality, natural or otherwise, for balancing hormones. Then, I was swayed away again from the reproductive impact of this uplifting, floral-fragranced essential oil for two additional reasons. These were:
(1) I wanted to answer a “burning” question from a beloved client on cardiovascular support supplements… and share it with you.
(2) The release of my article in a journal publication that defended essential oils usage for hormonal harmony. This debate was stirred from recent headlines claiming that certain essential oils could disrupt the endocrine system. I provided evidence that this conclusion was not based on solid science.
You can read more about this topic and my previous achievements of acquittals for safety of clary sage, fennel, and sage oil here. My database also lists additional articles, if you really want to deep dive into the details of the single essential oils.
Today, I’ve traveled back to my starting destination to complete my review on rose geranium essential oil.
Rose Geranium Essential Oil’s Impacts for Reproductive Health Beyond Birthing
For such a small word, stress can be a big trigger for sex hormonal imbalances. Rose geranium oil can provide emotional-balancing and stress-relieving effects to mitigate this other “s-word.” Click here to read more about this.
In my previous rose geranium post, I provided more science on its soothing properties with a study that used rose geranium to relax moms-to-be in labor. This is important, not to mention impressive, because de-traumatizing birth can impact both mamma and her baby throughout their lifespan for the better.
Now, I will move on through the reproductive cycles and highlight how rose geranium essential oil supports women throughout and beyond their fertile years.
Wait guys, don’t stop reading!
You will want to pay attention, because (1) rose geranium essential oil can also help to calm you, and (2) as you learn more about it, you can share about its benefits to an appreciative struggling friend or partner.
Here we go….
PMS Defense- A Cited Patent Ingredient on Google Docs
I found this google patent which included rose geranium as a key ingredient for relieving symptoms that can occur premenstrual. The developers explained that rose geranium is supportive to hormones indirectly via balancing mood, stimulating adrenals, and relieving excess fluid. The patent noted several citations for this.
From my digging into the references, I found incidental evidence of rose geranium, various herbs, and aromatics for modulating hormones. This is not as valid as findings from a double-blind, placebo randomized trial. Still, based on this essential oil’s properties from my previous blogs, I believe it is a good pick for this patented product!
Aromatherapy Massage and Menopausal Symptoms
As the time of fertility wanes, will rose geranium also shine?
One pilot-controlled clinical trial studied the effect of aromatherapy massage on Korean menopausal women. The trial compared 25 climacteric women who received a 3% potency of a combination of lavender, rose geranium, rose, and jasmine diluted in almond and primrose oil to a wait-listed control. The experimental group massaged the oils once a week for 8 weeks on their backs and arms. The abstract states women reported relief from hot flashes, mood, and body aches and pains:
The experimental group reported a significantly lower total menopausal index than wait-listed controls (P < 0.05). There were also significant intergroup differences in subcategories such as vasomotor, melancholia, arthralgia and myalgia (all P < 0.05). These findings suggest that aromatherapy massage may be an effective treatment of menopausal symptoms such as hot flushes, depression and pain in climacteric women. However, it could not be verified whether the positive effects were from the aromatherapy, the massage or both. Further rigorous studies should be done with more objective measure. (source)
To be fair, and in integrity, there were caveats to the trial. These include the use of primrose oil s a carrier oil (which can also modulate hormones), nonrandomization, and not controlling with a separate massage group only. However, these are impressive effects for a pilot-controlled clinical trial, at least this type of study bypasses effects found in rodents.
Postmenopausal Mood Enhancement
Another study analyzed (assumed to be rose) geranium’s mood effects on 120 postmenopausal women. The researchers compared massage alone to massage combined with 2% (rose) geranium oil diluted in almond oil or a control oil. The results demonstrated that both massage alone and massage with aromatherapy reduced depression. Not surprisingly to me, geranium oil reduced depression more than massage alone. (source)
If you combine this result with the above study, which did not control for massage, proof is piling up that the rose geranium oil may be the factor!
THE BIG OILY SURPRISE…
Geranium and Salivary Estrogen!
Before you get all excited, or terrified (if you are on or avoiding estrogen replacement), please read on with those inquiring brains that I love so much!
This study sought to determine if inhalation of various essential oils would facilitate estrogen secretion in women as measured in saliva!
Yes, you read that right… the authors actually measured salivary estrogen concentrations following inhalation of ten essential oils. These included: clary sage, frankincense, geranium, lavender, jasmine absolute, neroli, rose otto, ylang ylang, orange and roman chamomile. These oils were selected because of their potential to relieve perimenopausal symptoms.
The article concluded:
Together with the previous studies, the present study may give support to the notion that olfactory exposure to some essential oils can influence salivary concentration of estrogen. (source)
Please note the wording. The authors write, “influence salivary concentration of estrogen.”
This does not make rose geranium “estrogenic.”
Also, to be fair, I only was able to access the abstract. It isn’t clear if this chemotype and species of geranium was in fat rose geranium (Pelargonium graveolens), or, another geranium (Geraniacea family). They are distinct in properties.
Where does this leave us?
My Final Conclusions on Rose Geranium Essential Oil and Hormone Levels
(1) We need to consider that (a) essential oils are complex with multiple actions, (b) individual (genetic and epigenetic) differences, (c) the estrogen environment of the female, and (d) the particular brand of essential oils (see introduction to this blog.)
In my experience, essential oils act more like phytoestrogens that modulate biochemistry based on the need of the individual.
Just because estrogen concentrations rose in the salvia of these women in the one small trial I covered, doesn’t make for a blanket statement that essential oils will raise hormone levels for all women.
(2) Salivary estrogen levels only measure amounts found in saliva, not the mechanism of action that caused fluctuations. You can find some more caveats of hormone testing here.
All that being said….
My final conclusion:
(3) It appears that rose geranium essential oil will most likely MODULATE hormones in women who need it, but not by acting “like estrogen.”
Hopefully, this doesn’t come as a shocker.
I’ve noted the indirect ways essential oils can impact hormonal levels above and for several months!
The Final Verdict
Rose geranium essential oil, based on the science made available, I declare you not guilty of harm (hormonal or otherwise), when used appropriately!
I hope you enjoyed this series on “hormonal” essential oils.
The subject may pop up again.
I’d love to hear your feedback below.
What’s your favorite use for rose geranium oil?
- Safety First! Please review the resources for essential oils safety here.
- Essential Oils Quality
- Get an essential oils consult from me. I apply the philosophy and principles of the naturopathic and functional medicine to guide you with which essential oils and supplements will work best for you!
* Please note that the studies from PubMed aren’t specific for any essential oils company.
This material is for information purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat, or prescribe for any illness. You should check with your doctor regarding implementing any new strategies into your wellness regime. These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. (Affiliation link.)
Disclaimer: This information is applicable ONLY for therapeutic quality essential oils. This information DOES NOT apply to essential oils that have not been tested for purity and standardized constituents. There is no quality control in the United States, and oils labeled as “100% pure” need only to contain 5% of the actual oil. The rest of the bottle can be filled with fillers and sometimes toxic ingredients that can irritate the skin. The studies are not based solely on a specific brand of an essential oil, unless stated. Please read the full study for more information.