Geraniol is a monoterpenoid with the molecular formula C10H18O. It is also known by other names such as lemonol, beta-geraniol and Guainol.  It is a plant oil extracted from Geraniums and lemongrass.

Geraniol is the main constituent of rose oil, citronella oil and palmarosa oil. It is a phytonutrient present in lemon, bergamot, carrot, coriander, geranium oil, lavender oil, ylang ylang oil, nutmeg, orange, blueberries and black berries.

Attributes of Geraniol:

Geraniol is a pale yellow oily liquid. Pure Geraniol is a colorless liquid. It has sweet rose aroma. Because of its aroma, it is mainly used in perfumes, lotions, creams, detergents, after shave lotions and soaps and bathing products.

Due to its aroma and flavor, Geraniol is an important ingredient in a variety of consumer products made by the flavor and fragrance industries. It is used as a flavoring agent to reproduce the flavor in several fruits.

Geraniol is also used in flavors such as pineapple, peach, raspberry, grapefruit, red apple, plum, lime, orange, lemon, watermelon and blueberry. It is also used as a flavor enhancer in candies, ice creams and baked goods. . It is also used as an aroma additive in foods to enhance the smell of the foods. Thus, it serves as an important flavoring agent in food industries.

A study carried out in 1994 reported that Geraniol is listed by many cigarette manufacturing companies as one of the 599 additives that had been added to the cigarettes to improve their flavor.

The scent glands of honey bees also produce geraniol which helps them to identify the nectar bearing flowers and also the openings of their hives. Thus, geraniol attracts honeybees.

Further, it is a naturally occurring mosquito repellent that is extremely effective. It also repels a variety of insects including house flies, stable flies, horn flies, cockroaches, fire ants, fleas, gnats, dog ticks, lone star ticks, and no-see-ums.

Therapeutic attributes of Geraniol:

Geraniol serves as an analgesic to relieve the pain. It is also a topical drug enhancer. Apart from the above uses of Geraniol, it also has the following health benefits.  Geraniol has antibacterial, antiseptic, anti-inflammatory properties.

As an anti-inflammatory:

Geraniol exhibits anti-inflammatory property. According to a study carried out on hamsters titled “Geraniol attenuates fibrosis and exerts anti-inflammatory effects on diet induced atherogenesis by NF-κB signaling pathway”, it had been reported that Tissue remodeling which plays an important role during the phase of inflammation and oxidative stress is greatly prevented by Geraniol by improving the free radical scavenging and anti-inflammatory effects.

As an anti-cancer agent:

Geraniol is a natural anti-oxidant and so it is useful in preventing various types of cancer. It is considered to be one of the cancer chemo preventive agents. Geraniol possess anti-cancer activities and so it inhibits the growth of destructive cancer cells in human cell cultures. Geraniol is used in the treatment of various types of cancers such as breast, lung, colon, hepatic, skin, prostrate and pancreatic cancer.

According to a study named “Geraniol, a Component of Plant Essential Oils, Inhibits Growth and Polyamine Biosynthesis in Human Colon Cancer Cells”, the effect of Geraniol on colon cancer cell was studied to find its anticancer activities and it was found that Geraniol reduced the growth of cancerous cells by 70%. It also inhibits the synthesis of DNA.

Anti-bacterial activity:

Geraniol exhibits anti-bacterial properties and so it helps to reduce the bacterial infections. According to a study titled “Microbiological Characterization of Pure Geraniol and Comparison with Bactericidal Activity of the Cinnamic Acid in Gram-Positive and Gram-Negative Bacteria”, it was found that Geraniol showed larger anti-bacterial activity against the bacteria such as Staphylococcus aureus, Listeria monocytogenes, Escherichia coli, and Salmonella enterica..

Anti-fungal activity:

Geraniol also possesses anti-fungal properties. According to a research titled “Antifungal property of the essential oils and their constituents from Cinnamomum osmophloeum leaf against tree pathogenic fungi”, it was found that Geraniol present in Cinnamomum osmophloeum exhibited anti-fungal activity.

Further, Geraniol is a potential antifungal agent that exhibits antifungal activity against Candida albicans and non albican species of Candida. So Geraniol is used in the treatment of candida infections.

As an antiseptic:

Geraniol has strong antiseptic activity which is seven times stronger than that of phenol.

Reference Links:

  1. Geraniol by Wikipedia
  2. The antitumor effects of geraniol: Modulation of cancer hallmark pathways (Review)
  3. Antibacterial and antifungal activity of aromatic constituents of essential oils