Choosing a Lavender Essential Oil for Your Needs
Lavender Essential Oil is a staple in aromatherapy collections of both the novice as well as the professional aromatherapist. It is without a doubt one of the most popular and distinctive scents on the market and one that many of all ages reach for the most frequently. We hope this Choosing a Lavender Essential Oil Guide will prove useful to you.
A lot of people don’t realize that there are quite a few varieties and species of Lavender Essential Oil. Although some share important properties and constitutions, they can be quite different from a chemical makeup and therefore diverse in their reported uses, safety recommendations and therapeutic benefits.
What Are the Primary Differences Between Lavender Varieties?
The difference between Lavender Essential Oil varieties can be attributed to 3 key factors:
- Botanical Species of the lavender plant used to distill the essential oil which represent variations of strength, aroma, and overall quality. Species are identified by their botanical name and in the case of Lavender, Lavender angustifolia is the most popular.
- Country of Origin is subject to unique conditions which impact the composition of the essential oil (its “terroir“). For example, Lavender Oil from Bulgaria will have somewhat unique and differing characteristics of Lavender Oil from United States even if they come from the same species. While there are many countries where lavender is grown, Europe is still considered the pillar or ‘heart’ of Lavender cultivation.
- Local Climate Conditions including geography, time of harvest and extraction method, all of which can affect the quality of the oil as well as the scent.
What Are the Key Constituents of Lavender Oil?
Linalool, Linalyl Acetate, Camphor, 1,8-Cineole, Lavandulyl Acetate, Terpinene-4-ol, and beta-Caryophyllene. Therapeutically, a higher proportion and good balance of Linalool and Linalyl Acetate esters is reported to be beneficial in bringing out Lavender’s relaxing and sedative properties. However, these calming constituents can be negated if there is a considerable concentration of the more stimulating 1,8-Cineole and Camphor. Therefore, the higher the concentration of 1,8-Cineole and Camphor, the more invigorating and energizing the Lavender Oil may be.
The quality of certain Lavender Oils is sometimes talked about in terms of its camphor content; the lower the camphor, the sweeter smelling it tends to be. Linalool emits a refreshing, floral aroma and the esters Linalyl Acetate and Lavandulyl Acetate are characteristics of sweet, fruity notes. Considerable amounts of Camphor and 1,8-Cineole are described as spicy, herbal and a bit woody.
Lavender is a great example as to the importance of knowing the botanical name of the plant used to create your essential oil. Common names can be similar and redundant while botanical names are a clear reference. Knowing both as they relate to each other will ensure that you are selecting the right product for your needs.
Also known as Lavender Population or ‘True’ Lavender, this variety sourced from France is exceptionally high-quality known as having a clean, distinctively floral, and fresh aroma. Due to its high Linalool concentration, it’s known for its calming and relaxing therapeutic benefits and is also a good choice to help combat insomnia. This is the one to have in your first aid kit to soothe bug bites and irritated skin conditions. When applying directly onto the skin, always perform a patch test and with many essential oils, diluting with a carrier oil such as Jojoba Oil is necessary to avoid adverse skin reactions.
Like the Lavender Population variety, this one has an intense and pleasing floral scent and is also classified as a top note. It’s rich in Linalool and Linalyl Acetate (yet slightly less than its French cousin) and can be used for its calming benefits. This type is suggested by some aromatherapists as a great holistic option to have on hand to treat minor cuts and burns to potentially prevent scarring.
This variety is sourced from Spain and evokes a clean, invigorating aroma. It is less floral with camphor-like nuances. Therefore, it has somewhat different properties than that of ‘True’ Lavender Oil. Aromatherapists describe Spike Lavender as a bit stimulating and therefore, not as well-suited to promoting relaxation or reducing stress. On a therapeutic level, it may be used for easing moderate aches and pains and for addressing respiratory discomfort. Lastly, it is said to have stronger antiseptic properties than ‘True’ Lavender.
We offer 7 varieties of Lavender, all offering slight variations in scent profile and chemistry:
- Lavender 40/20 Essential Oil, France
- Lavender Essential Oil, Wild
- Lavender Essential Oil, Bulgaria
- Lavender Essential Oil, France
- High Alpine Lavender Essential Oil
- Organic Lavender Provence Essential Oil
- Lavender, USA
Lavender Essential Oil is a pillar of every aromatherapy collection, and we hope this introductory guide serves to peak your curiosity in exploring the nuances of each variety to help you choose one or more that are right for you!
To explore multiple varieties of Lavender with your own nose, try our Lavender Flight with 6 variations in 5ml bottles.