Words by Jessica Peace
We are splattering The Chelsea Flower Show with geraniums this year, but did you know that as well as making Blighty beautiful, geraniums can be knocked back, rubbed in and sprinkled on?...
GET YOUR GERANIUM RIGHT
There are two species you’ll want to whack in your floral first aid box: the Pelargonium, the ‘bedding plant geranium’ - the one bursting out of plant pots and window boxes;
and Geranium maculatum, the ‘wild geranium’- the little pink one you find in lawns and on grassy verges (ahh the summer!). Both plants are members of the same ‘Geraniaceae’ family (or ‘genus’, every day’s a school day) and share similar medicinal properties.
WHICH PART DOES WHAT?
Nips and tucks - the geranium root has astringent properties, so it tightens the skin, reduces your wrinkly bits and keep your teeth in!
Ooh throbbing feet after a hard day’s graft? You could chuck your feet over your head for twenty minutes OR you could gnaw on the geranium root as it deflates swollen veins.
Got the cramps after that adventurous curry last night? Reach for the geranium root with its gastro soothing abilities, packed full of tannin - the thing in tea, geranium soothes the digestive tract.
The leaf is the principle hoarder of all the good stuff - it’s the part you want to shove in your teapot. Its biggest asset is its stress busting and depression bashing ability. The geranium stabilises hormones and is so effective that it is used to balance those particularly raging ones during menopause and menstruation due to its mighty effect on the adrenal cortex.
Infected? Bleeding profusely? Geranium is antibacterial and an anticoagulant, slap it on or knock it back to prevent hemorrhaging and spreading infection.
Tired eyes? Geranium is used in natural treatments of sight problems and eye infections including conjunctivitis.
Been sitting on a cold step? Slap it on your hemorrhoids. (Ahem)
The petal, particularly of the ‘rose scented’ geranium, Pelargonium 'Graveolens', is crushed for its scent and oils. The scent is used to batter stress and beat the blues. Distilled as an essential oil, drop it in the tub or rub it on your skin - or someone else's (!). Rub it on in the morning as a deodorant - especially before a day’s digging.
The petals have a sweet, rosey/citrusy flavour - great to toss on your ice creams and buns.
DOWN THE HATCH
How to make geranium tea…
Pick a handful of leaves.
Drop them in your pot or straight into a mug.
Put the kettle on but let it rest a second before pouring over your leaves - don’t watch to scorch ‘em.
Leave for a few minutes to brew.
Strain, pour, knock back and relax.
BEST GERANIUMS FOR YOUR CUPPA
Pelargonium 'Mabel Grey', Pelargonium 'Graveolens', Pelargonium ‘Tomentosum’ and Pelargonium 'Lemon Fancy'.STEER CLEAR of geranium if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
Fancy seeing our Chelsea display? The more the merrier, tickets available here.