What is geraniol and its properties?

Geraniol is present in geranium and lemon essential oils, as well as in various fruits, flowers and vegetables. It is considered a terpene with anti-inflammatory, anticancer, antibacterial and antifungal properties. Also in a variety of different applications in both personal and industrial products.

But what exactly is geraniol? What are its properties? How can this geraniol terpene improve your health? Below we answer all these questions about this powerful terpene, including its uses, benefits and possible side effects. If you want to know more about other terpenes, visit our article about camphene, pinene or humulene.

What is geraniol terpene?

Geraniol is a scent produced by the scent glands of bees that serves as a marker for flowers containing nectar. The bees also use it as a guide to find the entrance to their hives. The smell of geraniol, on the other hand, has little to do with honey and is best described as a rose-like aroma.

Because of this, it is commonly used in perfumes and other fragrances due to its floral scent. In addition, the cosmetic terpene geraniol is widely used as a flavoring agent in many fruit-based products. Such is the case with orange-flavored cough drops, or watermelon-flavored hard candy.

Other terpenes found in cannabis, such as myrcene and ocimene, have a connection to geraniol. In fact, geraniol is dehydrated and isomerized to create these two terpenes.

In scientific terms, geraniol is a chemical compound of the terpene family. Terpenes, in turn, are made up of chemical components called isoprenes, which is why geraniol is considered an acyclic monoterpene alcohol. In this case monoterpene means that the geraniol has two copies of the isoprene building block.

The term acyclic, on the other hand, means that it does not have a ring in its chemical structure. Geraniol is found in essential oils such as geranium oil, palmarosa oil, Java citronella oil, and rose oil, all of which come from plants and fruits.

geraniol properties

What are the properties of geraniol?

Nowadays, several researches have begun to reveal the different properties of geraniol. The most relevant of these are described below.

It is anti-inflammatory

Geraniol has been shown in animal studies to minimize inflammation in traumatic spinal cord injury. At the same time, the terpene geraniol was found to facilitate cell survival and provide antioxidant benefits. These findings indicate that terpene has great potential in the treatment of injuries.

Other animal research published in the European Journal of Pharmacology found that geraniol showed anti-inflammatory activity against atherogenesis. Atherogenesis is the development of plaque in the arteries that can contribute to hardening of the arteries, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol.

Antibacterial and antifungal properties

Cineol, citral, geraniol, linalool, and menthol were used in other research that combined antibacterial and antifungal experiments on these five aromatic constituents of essential oils.

Geraniol was found to be the second most powerful bacteria-fighting ingredient behind linalool. In addition, the terpene geraniol was linked with citral to form the most powerful antifungal agent. The research also revealed that geraniol can inhibit 16 different forms of bacteria, as well as the 12 fungi used in the experiment.

Studies suggest that geraniol protects against the harmful fungus Candida albicans, which causes infections and thrush. Not only that, this terpene may also kill harmful bacteria that cause food poisoning, including E.coli bacteria, Campylobacter jejuni, and solamonella enterica.

anticancer properties geraniol

It also has anti-cancer properties

The various mechanisms by which geraniol fights cancerous tumors are described in 2016 research on the terpene geraniol published in the International Journal of Oncology.

Research suggests that geraniol regulates a variety of molecules and signaling pathways associated with cancerous tumors. In addition, geraniol activities were also found to restrict the ability of tumor cells to develop adaptive resistance to anti-tumor drugs.

Cannabis strains with high geraniol content

Several cannabis strains are rich in geraniol terpene; these include Headband, Island Sweet Skunk, Afghani, Lavender and Amnesia Haze. In addition, varieties that have high levels of the terpene linalool also tend to be high in geraniol. Cannabis with a dense concentration of geraniol will often present with a pleasant floral aroma and a sweet, fruity taste. Afghani, for example, is known for its sweet earthy aroma reminiscent of fresh fruits.

geraniol cannabis

Geraniol-rich cannabis strains

Many may not know this, but the terpene geraniol is abundant in a lot of different types of cannabis. Among them we can mention the cannabis strain Headband, Island Sweet Skunk, Afghani, Lavender and Amnesia Haze. In addition, cannabis strains with high levels of the terpene linalool also have high levels of geraniol.

Not only that, cannabis with a high concentration of geraniol also provides a nice floral fragrance as well as a smooth and fruity taste. The Afghani variety, for example, has a sweet earthy fragrance, very similar to the aroma of fresh fruits.

Side effects of geraniol

We cannot fail to mention the potential side effects of geraniol. In this regard, the important thing to note is that anecdotal evidence indicates that allergic contact dermatitis, or more commonly, skin irritation, may be one of the main side effects of topical geraniol use.

Therefore, whether you have sensitive skin or not, it is essential to read the directions on cosmetic geraniol products before using them.

geraniol cancer


Its rose-like aroma, as well as its sweet taste, are superficial benefits of geraniol, of great importance in the cosmetic industry. However, the benefits of geraniol are much more profound thanks to its anti-inflammatory, antibacterial properties, and its potential use in the treatment of cancer.

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