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aromatherapygirl

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There are several different lavender essential oils. I want one for my soap and lotion making. What are the differences?

Carolyn

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Yup, there are quite a few - and if you take a look at the list of essential oils here on the Auroma site, you'll see there are at least 7 to choose from here with 5 of those being Lavandula angustifolia - formerly known as Prince - sorry Lavandula officinalis. Although they're all the same genus and species, because they've been grown in different parts of the world, you'll find sometimes subtle (and maybe not so subtle, depending on what you're comparing) differences in the ratio of biochemical components, and therefore the fragrance profile and the fine-tuning of potential therapeutic indications. Prices also vary with geographic origin: Bulgarian and French Alpine L. angustifolia at around $55 for 100ml - and then the stunning L. angustifolia from Tasmania at $88 - worth every sniff/drop. The Population Lavender is for many considered to be 'the true' and the best lavender - simply because by definition it's been harvested from natural stands in the wild and will therefore contain a whole variety of types. Nature being what it is and the bees and things doing what they do, a population oil will be made of plants from the same genus - hopefully not too many dasies or dandelions in the pot - but a range of natural hybrid crosses. Fragrance wise it's thought of as having the closest to lavender in the wild and so plus the labor intensive harvesting, is slightly more expensive than the cultivated types. These natural hybrids can be cultivated too and so you'll find Lavandula x intermedia or L. x hybrida at a much cheaper price - not because it's inferior therapeutically, but because it's yield is much higher. Because it's a cross, you can find samples that take after the paternal line - which would according to Philippe Mailhebiau be the Lavandula spica or spike lavender - with the maternal line from Lavandula vera (Latin vera = true). In h is book Portraits in Oils, Monsieur - or is it Docteur - apologies - Mailhebiau describes the natural hybridization on the hillsides of Provence from these to parental species to create Lavandin. Fragrance wise, the L.spica is a rougher chap, with higher proportions of camphor and 1,8 cineole so smells rather medicinal, with a eucalyptus note and well, camphoraceously herby. By comparison, the true female L.vera is deliciously sweet and green and resembles the Tasmanian type to me. Therapeutically, there are references from various authorities who suggest that in some cases - such as for children, those with compromised immune systms and pregnant women, because of the camphor content one might want to avoid the L. spica and some even include the L. x intermedia. I think it depends more on whether you intend to ingest - or use high doses for long periods of time. But knowing the composition of these species does belie the popular belief that lavender is perfectly suitable for everyone anytime anyplace etc. You do need to know the correct biochemical profile to be responsibly sure. As far as including lavender in candles is concerned. I wouldn't personally go for the Tasmanian - as fantastic as it is - cost-wise - unless you can easily recoup your costs of course. You might need to support lavender with some synthetic fragrance fixative to get your tenacity and longevity - and you'd need to incorporate at about 5% I woud imagine - but don't hold me to that. The Lavandin would be your best bet - especially if you got one that leant more towards the maternal L. angustifolia/vera side fragrance-wise - although some can be abit harsh and you'd want to sweeten with some other eo or fragrance oil. Hope this helps - although there's much that can be said about Lavenders and I've only skimmed the surface here.

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