Die-hard fans of fruity or sweet-floral scents like berries or roses may not be aware that they have an affinity for a terpene called geraniol, which is also found in cannabis and a variety of other plants, herbs, and fruits. As the name suggests, it occurs naturally in geraniums, as well as in roses, lemongrass, peaches, passion fruit, blackberries, blueberries, coriander, nutmeg, bergamot, lemon peel, and even carrots. Bees also naturally produce geraniol in their fragrant glands and use the aroma of it to mark their territories against other colonies.
Geraniol is a key ingredient in rose oil, palmarosa oil, and citronella oil. The aroma and taste have a range of sweet notes from sugary and rosy to citrus. Its flavor is widely used in various foods as an enhancer and flavoring agent to reproduce the taste of several fruits in desserts such as candy and ice cream. The smell is common in all types of bath, body, and beauty products from lotions, creams, and perfumes to soaps and detergents.
The terpene also has a wide variety of medicinal and therapeutic uses. It is a natural antioxidant with anti-cancer and anti-tumor properties that can be useful in treating many different types of cancer. The International Journal of Oncology published a study showing that geraniol can inhibit the growth of tumor cells in cancers of the mouth, colon, lung, prostate, breast, pancreas, and liver. In addition, it has antibacterial and anti-fungal properties that can help reduce infections. In a study published by a Medical Trip called Lipids, geraniol was shown to be effective in inhibiting the growth of certain types of fungi.
Geraniol has also been shown to be antiviral, anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, and has great potential as a neuroprotective agent. A study published by the Journal of Neuroscience showed that the terpene may be useful in treating neuropathies that are common in people with diabetes or those who are pre-diabetic. The condition damages the peripheral nerves and causes numbness, weakness, pain, or loss of sensitivity in the hands and feet. In the experiment, geraniol was able to lower elevated cytosolic calcium levels and acetylcholinesterase activity, lower levels of protein carbonyls and nitrates, and restore the activities of enzymes.
It is common for strains with high linalool profiles to be also rich in geraniol. Some strains that contain geraniol are Afghan (a calming hybrid that is good for a euphoric, balanced buzz), Headband (a pain relieving hybrid that helps with depression, anxiety, and headaches), and Amnesia Haze (a citrus sativa strain, uplifting) and energizing), great white shark (a powerful sativa that reduces stress and improves bad mood), and sweet skunk (a potent hybrid that leans more towards a brain high).
According to Steep Hill Labs, geraniol is also closely related to another terpene called citronellol, which “has been used as a natural mosquito repellent for over 2,000 years.” Because geraniol is used by honeybees to mark nectar-containing flowers and find their way back to their hives, it attracts them, but it’s also used as an effective insect repellent for things other than mosquitos, including flies and cockroaches, fire ants and ticks . So if you ever smoke outside in the summer and wonder why bees are buzzing around you, it may be because they are getting a touch of geraniol, the kind you enjoy. But at least it could hold the mosquitos and fly away for a bit.