Geraniol, also called rhodinol, is a monoterpenoid and an alcohol. It is the primary part of oil-of-rose, palmarosa oil, and citronella oil (Java type). It also occurs in small quantities in geranium, lemon, and many other essential oils. It appears as a clear to pale-yellow oil which is insoluble in water, but soluble in most common organic solvents. It has a rose-like odor, for which it is commonly used in perfumes. It is used in flavors such as peach, raspberry, grapefruit, red apple, plum, lime, orange, lemon, watermelon, pineapple and blueberry.
Research has shown geraniol to be an effective plant based insect repellent. Although,it is also produced by the scent glands of honey bees to help them mark nectar-bearing flowers and locate the entrances to their hives.
In a 1994 report released by five top cigarette companies, geraniol is listed as one of the 599 additives to cigarettes, to improve their flavor. Geraniol and other flavor compounds are found naturally in well aged tobacco.
In acidic solutions, geraniol is converted to the cyclic terpene alpha-terpineol.
Health and safety information
Geraniol should be avoided by people with perfume allergy.
- Barnard, D.R., and Xue, R. Laboratory evaluation of mosquito repellents against Aedes albopictus, Culex nigripalpus, and Ochlerotatus triseriatus (Diptera: Culicidae), J. Med. Entomol. 41(4):726-730, 2004.
- Univ. of Florida. 1999. UF entomologist develops safe, effective alternative to DEET insect repellents. http://www.napa.ufl.edu/99news/nodeet.htm
- Survey and health assessment of chemical substances in massage oils