Gardenia essential oil: Everything you need to know

The benefits and risks of using Gardenia essential oil

By Aey
Gardenia essential oil: Everything you need to know

Introduction to Gardenia essential oil

Known for its floral and sweet scent, Gardenia oil is undoubtedly a treasurable oil. The subtle and gentle characteristics of Gardenia flower calls for extraction of essential oil by enfleurage. The delicate and extremely fragrant petals of Gardenia are first soaked in odorless animal/ vegetable fats. This is done in such a way so that the fragrance is absorbed by the fats which are then put into alcohol to be dissolved. Just a single ml of oil is made with several pounds of Gardenia petals and a lot of labor too. The scent created after this intense process is worth it because even though the oil goes through a number of processes, it doesn’t lose it strong aroma and benefits which we will later explore in the article.

Belonging to the Botanical family of Rubiaceae, Gardenia is a timeless and evergreen small tree or a bush. The bush grows up to 2 to 5 ft. tall and its leaves are light green and glossy. Native to China, the plant is mostly planted in Japan. The flowers that bloom on the plant are bright white and might exhibit various colors. In the US, the west and south are well-suited areas for Gardenia to grow in. This 43 species plant is labeled as ‘The White Angel’ due to its angelic beauty and heavenly smell.

Benefits of Gardenia essential oil

1. The 3 Antis

Gardenia essential oil amazingly has anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antibacterial properties.  It can be used to fight various bacterial infections including tetanus. These properties work together to effectively obstruct free radicals from making oxidative stress in our bodies. In the long run, diseases caused by toxins (even cancer) can be prevented through the use of this essential oil. 

2. Sedative Properties

It’s also claimed to have mild yet effective sedative properties, making it really useful in the prevention of epileptic seizures and other stress-induced medical or psychological problems. It could be used to help with insomnia.  

3. A Great Aphrodisiac

Its smell is seductive and is commonly used as a stimulant that helps the production of male sex hormones. A few drops of gardenia oil can be added to a bubble bath (mixing with water) for aphrodisiac purposes. 

4. Handles Respiratory Issues

You can inhale this oil through a diffuser, or simply from a warm wet cloth to get immediate relief from several respiratory issues. These include sore throats, inflammation, infections, and also clogged sinuses. 

5. Aromatherapy

There’s a reason why a wide variety of soaps, perfumes, candles, and other scented products include gardenia oils as a key ingredient. It’s a uniquely sweet smell, which relaxes the mind like nothing else. People suffering through anxiety and depression have reported feeling a lot better immediately after being introduced to its scent. 

Uses of Gardenia essential oil

1. Inhaling through Steam

You’ll need a towel, hot water, and a bowl to use gardenia oil through facial steam. Simply heat up some water (almost boiling hot), and place it in a bowl in front of you. Keep your face above the bowl, and place a towel over the back of your head to help contain the steam inside. Let the steam hit your face as you inhale it deeply through your nose, and exhale from the mouth. This usage primarily treats migraines, sinus issues (when you have the flu or a cold), and a stuffed nose.  

2. Calming Gardenia Scented Candles

Lighting scented candles in the room is a really common and effective usage of gardenia essential oils. Their characteristic scent feels amazing to have in your bedroom. Especially when this oil is burned through a candle, it produces a vibrant scent that never fails to stimulate your senses, producing positive vibes and inner calm. For even better effects, this oil works wonders when it’s used in association with a few other essential oils. To make better aromatherapy candles, you can use essential oils such as jasmine, orange, cinnamon leaf, and lemon to get the best scent out of it.

3. Massage with Gardenia Oils

One quicker, yet incredibly effective usage of gardenia essential oil is to add a few drops of it into your moisturizing lotion. Rub your hands to slightly heat them up before you take some of this lotion out and give yourself a short message to use it as a stress relief therapy. The effects are not to be underestimated; gardenia oil massages can move you mentally and physically. Try it yourself!  

Organic Gardenia essential oil

Since the oil comes through the beautiful gardenia petals, could we say it’s totally natural and not synthesized? Well, not exactly. This isn’t true for most branded gardenia essential oil products in the market, as they’re all processed or chemically treated in one way or another. The oil has to be refined and processed before it can be packaged and placed on the shelves of a mart, but it’s not necessarily extensively harmful to our bodies to use them. 

The benefits would typically outweigh the impact (if any) of the chemicals. However, it’s correct to say that when you’re applying oil directly to your skin, or even inhaling it through candles or steam, the safer option would be organic instead of inorganic gardenia essential oils. It just makes more sense to breathe in the vapor of oils that are totally chemical free and made without the processing involving any such steps. Therefore, organic gardenia essential oil can be extracted at home through gardenia petals using the following procedure as below.

How to make Gardenia essential oil and recipes

Follow these steps to make organic gardenia essential oil at home using gardenia petals!

  • Add tap water to an 8-quart pot until it’s half full and add 2 pounds of gardenia petals.
  • Drop a steam basket into the pot and make sure it’s not touching the water (just hovers above).
  • Place a fitting glass container in the middle of this basket.
  • Place the pot’s lid upside down on the top, and place the pot on the stove.
  • Turn on the stove at medium flame, and fill the upside-down lid with ice before you let it simmer for about half an hour.
  • When ice melts to water, keep replacing it with fresh ice for the whole duration (for condensation).
  • Since the lid is upside down, the knob of the lid is pointed right above the glass dish. The condensation causes the essential oils to get to the lid at first, and then drip down into the dish through the hanging knob.
  • Take the whole rig off of the stove and let it cool as it is without removing the lid. Give it about 6 hours.
  • If you’ve used 2 pounds of petals, you should end up with about one-ounce gardenia essential oil.

This oil is 100% pure and concentrated, and shouldn’t be applied directly. Mix it with a carrier oil or dilute it with water before you use it.

Safety and risks of using Gardenia essential oil

1. Always check for Allergies

Even though gardenia essential oils are super safe to use like any other product of mother-nature, it is hard to gauge as our bodies can be allergic to anything. It’s important to initially check if that’s true for you and the best way to do so is to dab it on your hand first and see if it causes irritation or any other issue. 

2. Careful with The Eyes

Additionally, do not apply it near the eyes, or any other sensitive zone for that matter. It’s not meant to be dripped into your eye, and other sensitive areas of our bodies may not be able to handle it so be cautious.

3. Not Recommended for Pregnant Women

Like many other essential oils, the gardenia essential oil isn’t recommended to be used when a woman is pregnant. It’s a whole complex discussion about why this could be dangerous, but it definitely can cause various different problems according to proven studies. 

4. Don’t Use it on Babies

Babies have sensitive skin all over their body and gardenia oils could harm them for the same reasons as apply to your sensitive skin zones. Wait till their older and their skin develops to be more resistant if you intend to use it on them. Similarly, do a skin test to make sure they are not allergic to it.

5. Always Dilute It

It can be too strong for you to handle if it’s not initially diluted with water or carrier oil (such as coconut oil). Diluted gardenia oils come in packaged too, but if you’re going for organic and making your own, make sure you dilute it well before using. Also, don’t use it in enormous quantities, which could be dangerous too.  


This article was dedicated to bringing to your attention the numerous benefits and uses of Gardenia oil. The oil is packed with fragrance and countless advantages but there can be side effects too. All you need to do is keep an eye for those side effects but other than that, you’re all good to utilize the goodness that Gardenia essential oil offers.


Dr Axe
Organic Facts