For our first blog post we thought we’d get back to the basics and discuss an old favourite, Lavender Oil.
Lavender is one of the most popular and easily recognised Essential oils and has been used in skincare, soap making, perfumery and medicine for a considerable time. Its botanical name – Lavandula – is derived from the Latin “lavare” meaning “to wash” given its wide use to perfume baths, to fragrance clothes and to keep insects at bay.
Lavender oil began its modern revival with the work of the French chemist, R. M. Gattefosse. After discovering its excellent pain relieving and healing properties of Lavender oil on his badly burnt arm he was inspired to give life to the practice of “Aromatherapie”. Gattefosse encouraged a number of physicians to use Lavender oil and they reported excellent results in treating various conditions, such as serious wounds and burns.
Nowadays Lavender oil can be found everywhere in products ranging from household cleaners through to high end perfumes.
So called ‘True’ Lavender, botanical name Lavandula angustifolia, originates from the alpine areas of Southern France and Northern Italy. Oil distilled from L. angustifolia is considered superior due to its higher linalyl acetate content. Linalyl acetate is thought to be the constituent most responsible for the relaxing and calming effects of Lavender and is also seen as an important marker for the quality of a Lavender Oil. L. angustifolia is now cultivated globally for oil production particularly in France, Russia, Bulgaria, China, Australia, India, Italy, North Africa and of course New Zealand.
Lavandin is a hybrid of L. Angustifolia and Spike Lavender L. latifolia.
The Lavandin plant is much larger and hardier than that of True Lavender and yields far more oil. Thus it is more suited to large scale, commercial cultivation and is commonly found in soaps, detergents and cosmetics. In fact the so called ‘Lavender’ scent most people are familiar with is in fact Lavandin.
To the trained nose, Lavandin can be easily distinguished from L. angustifolia by its stronger, more camphor-like scent. The two most common Lavandin varieties are Grosso and Super with Super being the lower in camphor than Grosso and thus closer in chemistry to L. angustifolia.
PureNature also offers the following Lavender products:
Properties and Uses
Part of the appeal of Lavender oil, aside from its agreeable scent, is its sheer versatility. If one reads widely enough it would appear that virtually any ailment can be addressed with this remarkable oil, however in general its main properties are considered to be:
Vulnerary (encourages healing)
Even just within these 3 main actions there is avast array of indications for Lavender oil including:
Irritated skin complaints
Minor cuts and scrapes
Strains and Sprains
Muscle and Joint pain
Check out our next post for some great recipes using Lavender…