Geraniol – What Is It? All You Need To Know About Geraniol



/ jəˈr-āˌnē-əl | Noun

Geraniol is a monoterpenoid found in hemp and other plant species. It’s a colorless oily liquid with a rose-like aroma. It’s widely known as the primary component of citronella oil, rose oil, and palmarosa oil. This natural compound is present in the essential oils of geranium and numerous herbs, flowers, fruits, and vegetables, especially lemongrass. It has demonstrated anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and antifungal properties and serves as an ingredient in personal and industrial products.  

“This citrus-infused cough drop may contain geraniol terpene.”

“Did you know that geraniol is an organic compound found in hemp and widely used as an ice cream flavoring agent?” 

What is geraniol?

It’s a monoterpene with an essential role in attracting honey bees. This volatile component of honey bee scent-gland secretion draws foragers, but not as much as scent-gland odor itself. This terpene exhibits a rose-like smell and taste, described as a sweet floral scent with citrusy notes. Due to its pleasant aroma, it’s one of the most essential molecules in the flavor and fragrance industries. 

Aside from being used in perfumes and other scents, this terpene serves as a flavoring agent for fruit-based products. If you’ve ever tried orange-based cough drops, their flavor and fragrance might’ve come from this terpene. Like many terpenes, it exhibits insecticidal and repellent properties. This terpene is closely related to myrcene and ocimene two primary terpenes in hemp formed by the dehydration and isomerization of geraniol. 

What is geraniol used for?

You probably encounter geraniol’s scent or flavor in your everyday life. Often used to enhance the essence of candy and ice cream, you’ve probably tasted this terpene without even knowing. Due to its low toxicity, the Food and Drug Administration categorizes it as Generally Regarded as Safe, which allows its use in human food and domestic products. 

Another common use of this terpene is in manufacturing personal hygiene products, such as body lotions, suntan products, lipsticks, shampoos, moisturizing creams. Together with citronellol, it serves as the vital component of citronella oil, used as mosquito repellent. If you’ve ever bought a candle infused with such oil, it probably contained geraniol in it. Research also discovered that essential oils rich in geraniol as its primary active terpene kill parasitic worms found in certain fish. 

Potential side-effects

Anecdotal evidence shows that it may cause allergic contact dermatitis, or irritate the sensitive human skin. This may be a side-effect of its topical use. 

Therapeutic properties of geraniol

According to research, this terpene has a lot of potential and shows incredible benefits in several areas. 

Anti-inflammatory effects

Animal studies show the anti-inflammatory effects of this terpene in traumatic spinal cord injury. This terpene promoted cell survival and antioxidant benefits, which indicate its potential in treating injuries. 

Another animal study published in the European Journal of Pharmacology revealed that geraniol showed effectiveness against atherogenesis the formation of plaques in the arteries. Plaques can lead to hardening of the arteries, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol.    

Antibacterial and antifungal effects

A study published in Microbios tested the antibacterial and antifungal effects of five aromatic compounds in essential oils, including cineole, citral, geraniol, linalool, and menthol. Geraniol proved the second most effective component against bacteria, with linalool taking the lead. When it comes to combating fungus, this terpene was tied with citral. Overall, it inhibited 16 types of bacteria and the entire 12 fungi used in the experiment.            

Where to find it in hemp?

The hemp plant contains over 100 different terpenes, and each plays its part in the plant’s healing potency. Geraniol is a minor terpene present in trace amounts in various hemp strains. You can also find it in some full spectrum and broad spectrum hemp CBD products. 

Final thoughts 

Geraniol is a minor hemp terpene, found in abundance in rose oil, palmarosa oil, and citronella oil. This terpene has a rose-like smell and exhibits anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and antifungal activities.