Making rose geranium essential oil is very easy and requires very little equipment. When done, you will have pleasant rose smelling oil that has uses ranging from treating skin conditions to tick repellent. (Ref 3 & 4) When applied to the skin, the oil can help soothe dry skin, acne, boils and eczema. (Ref 7) Rose geranium oil has a calming effect without being sedative. It has been used to reduce anxiety, depression, menstrual cramps and hot flashes. (Ref 7)
The vital ingredient in essential rose geranium oil is the leaves of the rose geranium plant. Rose geraniums are not roses at all, but are a perennial shrub. The leaves of the shrub are pointed with serrated edges. Collect the leaves of this shrub. The more leaves you use, the more oil you can make.
The first step is to locate a source of rose geranium leaves. Rose geraniums are sensitive to frost and grow in garden zone 9. They will also grow in containers and greenhouses or may be obtained from suppliers. The best leaves are collected when the volatile aromatics of the leaves are at their highest. This time is just before the plants flower until the time the flowers are half open. Harvest before the sun is fully up, and just after the dew has dried. (Ref 5)
Collect about 5 handfuls of rose geranium leaves. Rinse and dry the leaves. Remove dirt and bugs.
Put about 1/5 of the total amount of leaves you have into a glass jar and add oil until leaves are covered. This should take about 400 mls or 1 3/4 cups of oil. (Ref 5) Unscented carrier oils like sunflower and jojoba work best because they have no smell to compete with the rose geranium essence. ( Ref 1 and 5) Using a wooden spoon, make sure all of the herbs are submerged. Close the jar and and shake gently to mix ingredients.
Leave jar in a warm spot.for a week. The jar may be left outside on a warm day, but should not be put in direct sunlight. (Ref 5)
Place funnel into another clean glass jar. Line the funnel with at least four layers of gauze or cheesecloth. Pour the leaves and oil through the cheesecloth into the glass jar. It is important that all leaves and plant particles are removed from the oil. If left in, these will cause the oil to sour. If particles go through the gauze, add couple of layers of gauze or cheesecloth and re-filter the oil.
More infusions of leaves and oil will have to be made to create a stronger essential oil. To do this, add another handful of leaves to the oil made in the previous step. Push the leaves under the surface of the oil with the wooden spoon and if there is not enough oil to cover the leaves, add a small amount more oil. Repeat steps 4 and 5. Do this until all the leaves have been used.
For the final filtering, strain into a decorative bottle and cover tightly for storage.
Store essential oils in the dark or in dark bottles to block out light. It is best used within one year.
Very lightly scented or unscented oils, such as sunflower or jojoba oil should be used so as not to mask the smell of the rose geranium.(Ref 5)
Make sure that no bits of the rose geranium plant matter remain in the oil after the last straining because they can decompose and ruin your essential oil. You may have to strain it more than once at any step to be certain all plant material has been filtered out.
Use a lid with a rubber ring liner because a metallic ring can contaminate the oil. (Ref 1)
Emmy-award nominated screenwriter Brynne Chandler is a single mother of three who divides her time between professional research and varied cooking, fitness and home & gardening enterprises. A running enthusiast who regularly participates in San Francisco's Bay to Breakers run, Chandler works as an independent caterer, preparing healthy, nutritious meals for Phoenix area residents.