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Scented Geraniums

Scented Geraniums
This monograph is courtesy of
The Herb Growing & Marketing Network's HERBALPEDIA tm,
 
History: These geraniums are grown for the scent of their leaves as opposed to their flowers. Native to the Cape of Good Hope, they were first introduced into Europe in the early 1600s. And by the late 1800s there were over 150 varieties described in American catalogs. In their native habitat and parts of the south, these geraniums are perennials. In most of the country, they are treated as annuals or tender perennials. Some can reach a height of four feet and the scents range from rose,
pine, mint, fruity and spicy. Flowers are small.  Other uses are potpourri, paper making and body care products.

CULTURE: Scented geraniums are well suited for growing in containers, but can also be planted in the ground. They thrive in sunny location in evenly moist soil. They are occasionally grown from seed but do better from rooted cuttings.  Water them well several hours before taking cuttings. Cut “slips” 3 to 5 inches long with a very sharp knife or nurseryman’s clippers, sterilized with alcohol. The best cuttings are from a stem that “snaps.” Cut below an internode at an angle and remove lower leaves and stipules. Lay the cuttings out for 24 hours to “callus.” This stimulates the growth of new cells on the wound. Filtered light, a dry atmosphere, and no more than 70oF assures the best callusing. Placing cuttings in a frost-free refrigerator for 12-to 36 hours assures good callusing. It is not necessary to use a rooting hormone on geraniums. However, if you are going to root them in sand or soil, the fungicide contained in rooting compound may prove helpful. Stick the
callused cuttings upright into the soil medium. Put this in a warm place in filtered light. In two weeks or so the cuttings will develop roots. Certain varieties do better in a rich loam as opposed to ordinary potting soil: Mint (Tomentosum), apple, apricot, strawberry, Mabel Grey. Transplant to garden if desired, adding soil amendments if necessary. Remove any leaves as they yellow. They make excellent standards.

AROMATHERAPY USES:
P. graveolens used

EXTRACTION:
essential oil by steam distillation from the leaves, stalks and flowers of rose geranium. An absolute and concrete are also produced in Morocoo.

CHARACTERISTIC: The Bourbon oil is a greenish-olive liquid with a rosy-sweet, minty scent, preferred in perfumery work; middle note.

BLENDS WITH: lavender, patchouli, clove, rose, neroli, sandalwood, jasmine, juniper, angelica,
basil, bay, carrot seed, cedarwood, citronella, clary sage, grapefruit, lime, orange, petitgrain, rose, rosemary, bergamot and other citrus oils.

ACTIONS: antidepressant, anti-hemorrhagic, antiinflammatory, antiseptic, astringent, cicatrisant, deodorant, diuretic, fungicidal, hemostatic, stimulant (adrenal cortex), styptic, tonic, vermifuge, vulnerary

CONSTITUTENTS: citronellol, gernaiol, linalol, isomenthone, menthone, phellandrene, sabinene, limonene

USES:
Skin Care: acne, bruises, broken capillaries, burns, congested skin, cuts, dermatitis, eczema, hemorrhoids, lice, mature skin, mosquito repellent, oily complexion, ringworm, ulcers, wounds Circulation: cellulitis, engorgement of breasts, edema, poor circulation.
Respiratory System: sore throat, tonsillitis Genito-urinary and endocrine systems: andrenocortical glands and menopausal problems, PMS, tonic effect on the kidneys and a mild diuretic; balances the secretion of hormones and stimulates the lymphatic system and the pancreas.
Nervous System: nervous tension, neuralgia and stress-related conditions.
Other Uses: fragrance component in cosmetic products including soaps, creams, perfumes. Used as a flavoring agent in most food categories, alcoholic and soft drinks.

SAFETY: non-toxic, non-irritant, generally nonsensitizing. Possibly contact dermatitis in hypersensitive individuals.

BLENDS:
Urinary: 6 drops geranium, 4 drops juniper, 3 drops rosemary
Reproductive: 6 drops geranium, 3 drops neroli, 2 drops lavender
Skin: 4 drops geranium, 3 drops rose, 2 drops bergamot
Emotion: 5 drops geranium, 4 drops grapefruit, 2 drops ylang-ylang

COSMETIC USES: Vinegar for the bath: 2 oz rosemary, 2 oz rose petals, 2 oz lavender, 2 oz mint, 2 oz rose geranium leaves, 6 cups apple cider or white vinegar, 1 cup rose water. Mix herbs and flowers together; add vinegar. Bottle and steep in refrigerator for 3-6 weeks. Strain and rebottle. Add a few fresh herb sprigs and the rose water.

RECIPES:

SWEET ‘N’ TANGY BARBECUE SAUCE

SCENTED GERANIUM JELLY

ROSE GERANIUM RASPBERRY LIQUEUR

ROSE GERANIUM PUNCH

RHUBARB PEAR CRUNCH SCENTED WITH ROSE GERANIUM

TEATIME ROSE GERANIUM BISCUITS

GERANIUM CAKE

GERANIUM-DATE COOKIES

ROSE GERANIUM MUFFINS

SCENTED-LEAVED GERANIUM ICE CREAM

FRESH PEACHES GRATIN WITH ROSE GERANIUM

CAROLEE'S SCENTED GERANIUM CHIFFON PIE

SCENTED GERANIUM CAKE

REFERENCES:
A Kitchen Witch’s Cookbook, Patricia Telesco, Llewelyn, 1994
Along the Garden Path, Bill and Sylvia Varney, Fredericksburg Herb farm, 1997
Aromatherapy Blends and Remedies, Franzesca Watson, Thorsons, 1995
The Best of Thymes, Marge Clark, Thyme Cookbooks, 1997
Edible Flowers: A Kitchen Companion, Kitty Morse, 10 Speed Press, 1995
Edible Flowers: a Recipe Collection, Marilyn Lande, Lan-Design Publications (12202 East 203rd St., Raymore, MO 64083)
Cooking with Flowers, Jenny Leggatt, Fawcett-Columbine, 1987
Flowers in the Kitchen, Susan Belsinger, Interweave Press, 1991
The Complete Geranium, Susan Condor, Clarkson N Potter, 1992
The Culinary Gardener, Peoria Area Herb Guild
Edible Flowers From Garden to Palate, Cathy Wilkinson Barash, Fulcrum, 1993
Growing & Using Scented Geraniums, Mary Peddie & Judy & John Lewis, Storey Publishing, 1991
Flora’s Dictionary, Kathleen Gips, TM Publications, 1990
Today’s Herbal Kitchen, Memphis Herb Society, 1997

 
 


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