Rose geranium essential oil as a source of new and safe anti-inflammatory drugs

Libyan J Med. 2013 Oct 7;8:22520. doi: 10.3402/ljm.v8i0.22520.


Background: Since the available anti-inflammatory drugs exert an extensive variety of side effects, the search for new anti-inflammatory agents has been a priority of pharmaceutical industries.

Aims: The aim of the present study was to assess the anti-inflammatory activities of the essential oil of rose geranium (RGEO).

Methods: The chemical composition of the RGEO was investigated by gas chromatography. The major components were citronellol (29.13%), geraniol (12.62%), and citronellyl formate (8.06%). In the carrageenan-induced paw edema, five different groups were established and RGEO was administered orally in three different doses.

Results: RGEO (100 mg/kg) was able to significantly reduce the paw edema with a comparable effect to that observed with diclofenac, the positive control. In addition, RGEO showed a potent anti-inflammatory activity by topical treatment in the method of croton oil-induced ear edema. When the dose was 5 or 10 µl of RGEO per ear, the inflammation was reduced by 73 and 88%, respectively. This is the first report to demonstrate a significant anti-inflammatory activity of Algerian RGEO. In addition, histological analysis confirmed that RGEO inhibited the inflammatory responses in the skin.

Conclusion: Our results indicate that RGEO may have significant potential for the development of novel anti-inflammatory drugs with improved safety profile.

Keywords: anti-inflammatory effect; carrageenan; citronellol; croton; essential oils; histopathology; rose geranium; skin inflammation.

MeSH terms

  • Acyclic Monoterpenes
  • Animals
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / chemistry
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / pharmacology
  • Chromatography, Gas / methods
  • Edema / drug therapy*
  • Geranium / chemistry*
  • Hindlimb
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Monoterpenes / chemistry
  • Monoterpenes / pharmacology
  • Oils, Volatile / chemistry
  • Oils, Volatile / pharmacology*
  • Phytotherapy*
  • Plant Preparations / chemistry
  • Plant Preparations / pharmacology
  • Rosa / chemistry*
  • Skin / drug effects*
  • Terpenes / chemistry
  • Terpenes / pharmacology
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Acyclic Monoterpenes
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Monoterpenes
  • Oils, Volatile
  • Plant Preparations
  • Terpenes
  • citronellyl formate
  • geraniol
  • citronellol