Geranium (Tian Shu Kui)

Geranium (Tian Shu Kui)

Botanical Name: Geranium robertianum (Herb Robert), G. pelargonium odoratissimum (Apple), G pelargonium (Rose).

There are many varietals of geranium. Beyond being a lovely garden flower the many varieties exhibit similar healing properties and the leaves and flowers of rose geraniums can also be used in the kitchen as a culinary herb. (NOT all geraniums are edible, but the rose geranium is one that is!)

Below is an overview of geranium, combining and interpreting the best of Western Science, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Shamanism, Folklore and more. Gain a balanced and thorough understanding of the healing properties of geranium.

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Western Name: Geranium

Also Known As: Cranesbill, Herb Robert, Red Robin, Death Come Quickly, Doves Foot, Cranesbill, Apple Geranium

Organs/Systems: Stomach, Skin, Intestines, Urogenital Organs, Kidney

Key Western Actions & Medicinal Uses: Astringing, Demulcent, Tonic, Antispetic, Vermifuge, Diuretic, Antidepressant, Aromatherapy, Vulinary, Coagulant/Hemostatic, Insecticide.


Pin Yin: Tian Shu Kui

Also Known As: N/A

Meridians: Spleen, Kidney, Liver

Key TCM Actions & Medicinal Uses: Dries Damp/Stops Discharge/Stops Bleeding/Reduces Swelling: chronic diarrhea, white leucorrhea, nose bleeds, hemorrhage of internal organs, excess breast milk, intestinal infections, inflamation of mouth, throat, and eyes. Heals Wounds/Relieves Pain/Moistens Skin: skin ulcers, abscesses, boils, burns, tumors, stomach cancer, rashes, herpes, ringworm, eczema. Removes Stagnation/Supports Spleen/Lifts Shen: abdominal pain, fatigue, depression, uterus blood defeciency with dry skin. Promotes Urination/Soften Stones: jaundice, edema, urinary stones.

Basic Habitat/Botany:

Found throughout the world in temperate zones, mostly in the Eastern part of the Mediterranean Region. Geranium is a genus of 422 species of flowering annual, biennial and perennial plants in the Geraniaceae family. Long, palmately cleft leaves are broadly circular in shape.  Flowers have five petals, in white, pink, purple or blue often with distinct veining.The apple geranium is an evergreen, bushy perennial with an apple aroma. Other varities can smell like rose, lemon, citrus, mint, fruit or spices.

Geranium (Tian Shu Kui) Parts Most Frequently Used: Whole plant, Leaves, Oil, Roots

Flavors/Temps: Bit Sweet, Bit Pungent, Bit Bitter, Astringing, Warm and Cooling

Caution: Not recommended for acute infections of any kind that exhibit damp heat conditions.

History/Folklore: In herbalism mainly the root is used, though leaves can be used too. Roots are harvested in the early Fall. The name geranium is derived from the Greek word meaning “crane,” hence the nickname “cranesbills.” In South African cultures the plant has been a traditional medicine for healing wounds, sore throats, abscesses and infections. The French perfume industry uses the rose smelling geranium as a compliment and substitute for the more expensive pure rose Oil.

Geranium promotes estrogen and can aid with menopausal disorders. Geranium Pelargonium odorantissimum (Rose Geranium) is generally only available in essential oil form which is extracted from the whole plant.  It is used both internally and externally. Geranium has the distinct advantage of treating diarrhea and leucorrhea without drying out the tissues, even thought it is more astringing than Witch Hazel.  It is also less strong than Oak bark or Walnut leaf.  Geranium has both astringing and demulcent properties.

It is a symbol of prosperity in Egypt, immortality in China and longevity in Japan.

Key Constituents:

Essential oils (including Geraniol, Citronellol, Linalol, Terpineol, Phenylethylic alcochol), Tannins, Resin.

Did you know?

Apple Geranium

The leaves of the Apple Geranium genus are used in deserts, fruit drinks and sauces for their apple aroma.



Geranium oil is often used in skin care and bath products because of its cleansing properties. Just add a few drops.

Fun fact!


Geranium can be used as an insecticide against head lice. As a tea it can be sprayed on other garden plants to help treat aphids.


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