Geranium Oils of Various Origins

Geranium Oils of Various Origins

Geranium Oil is one of the most wanted essential oils in the Aromatherapy Market,, as well as Food (Flavor) and Fragrances (Natural Cosmetics) in EU and Americas. The demand for rose geranium oil (Bourbon), has been steadily growing. There are well developed and mature markets of Aromatherapy in France, Germany, Austria and Switzerland, United Kingdom and the Netherlands.

SPECIES/GENOTYPE– The essential oil is primarily produced by distilling Pelargonium Graveolens (Geraniaceae family).Rose geranium (BOURBON) is native to South Africa, Zimbabwe and Mozambique. The Bourbon rose geranium oil comes from Réunion Island (formerly, Bourbon Islands). This is considered to be of the highest quality. The NAME, BOURBON, is thus, because of its origin. The above genotype (of Bourbon origin) is now cultivated in many regions, include South Africa and Madagascar.

Many other countries have established commercial production of geranium oil – France, Spain and Italy (EU); Algeria, Morocco and Egypt in North Africa; Congo in Central Africa and Kenya in East Africa; Madagascar and Réunion in the Indian Ocean; Russia (the Black Sea coast and Crimea); India; and China. Kenya has also developed commercial production, but of a different type (termed Oil of Mawah), from either a hybrid of P. graveolens x P. radula, or a variety of P. radula (P. raduta var. quercifolium). These Oils, of CLOSELY RELATED SPECIES (but NOT BOURBON), are slightly different in their chemistry and aromatic signature (GCMS varies).

PROCESS- Essential oil is extracted by steam distillation. The oil is a clear, colourless liquid and has a rose-like smell. For that reason, rose geranium oil was traditionally produced to replace the more expensive rose oil.

Nomenclature– Chemical Abstract Service (CAS) Registry numbers- 90082-51-2 and 8000-46-2

Market- According to industry sources, demand for rose geranium oil is growing and currently outstripping the growth in supply. World market demand for the various geranium oils is estimated at 400 tonnes per year. Of that, the market for rose geranium oil is about 100 tonnes. The market for organic rose geranium oil has also increased in recent years, now accounting for 10–12% of the total market. Réunion Island produces around 10 tonnes, S. Africa about 20–25 tonnes.

Egypt and China are the main players, currently producing about 280 to 350 tonnes, against a world total in the range 350 to 400 tonnes. Over the past 5 to 6 years Egypt has substantially increased its production into the range 200 to 230 tonnes, whereas China has remained in the range 80 to 100 tonnes, India 25 to 35 tonnes, Madagascar around 5 tonnes, South African 5 to 10 tonnes, and other Central and Southern African origins providing another 10 tonnes. Morocco, Congo, Ethiopia, Uganda, Kenya have made recent attempts to re-establish production.

Bourbon Geranium is currently trading around €230 per kg, Chinese around €170–180 per kg and the Egyptian around €90 per kg. This oil is less popular compared to rose geranium oils as it has a different, sharper scent.

France, UK, Spain, Italy, Netherlands, and Russia are said to be the largest importers.

The aroma of rose geranium oil depends on the proportions of its main compounds:
alcohols (55-65%): citronellol, geraniol and linalool
esters (15%)
ketones, such as isomenthone (1-8%).

The compounds citronellol and geraniol give the oil its rose-like odour. The European perfumery and fragrance industries prefer rose geranium oils where the ratio of those two compounds is close to 1:1 (Only Bourbon has this ratio).


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