Sunday, 11 April 2010

Lavender Essential Oil

The active part of lavender is the volatile oil with relaxing, sedative, antispasmodic and antiseptic and insect inhibiting properties. In aromatherapy the whole oil shows synergies when used with other oils for particular specific effects in skincare and in the treatment of common ailments. The oil can be used topically, used in baths or inhaled from a diffuser or aroma stickIt is advised that topical preparations be tested on a small area of skin before widespread application.

Lavender has traditionally been used for pleasure, sleep disorders, anxiety, as well as to treat minor cuts and bruises and insect bites and is commonly found in cosmetics and toiletaries.Lavender contains substances which are being tested for cancer prevention.Source: Sp College Notes

A query today is what kinds of lavender Sp stocks. In fact we stock as many differant kinds as we can find and to suit all budgets!!!

1182 Lavandin (Lavandula x intermedia 'Super')
1183 Lavender Fine (lavandula angustifolia) F
1184 Lavender Fine Wild (lavandula angustifolia)* F O
1185 Lavender (lavandula angustifolia) F
1185 Lavender (lavandula angustifolia)* F O
1188 Lavender High Altitude AOC (L. angustifolia)* O
1189 Lavender Bulgarian (Lavandula angustifolia)* O
1190 Lavender Fine organic (Lavandula angustifolia)* O
1191 Lavender Officinalis (Lavender Angustifolia)
1193 Lavender Spike (lavandula latifolia)* O

For simplicity of marketing we sell conventional oil at £5.58 RRP and organic oil at £12.48 RRP

Lavender Fine is a conventional oil but has 40-50% ester content which is favoured by aromatherapists.

Harvest time will be soon upon us so I will be travelling around to see how the grower/distillers are getting on. The French farmers always complain of drought which has made English oils of more interest with sunny and wet growing conditions in recent years. England is at a little northerly latitude for the finest lavender and does not have the high altitudes we look for. English producers do produce some excellent oils which we will be showcasing this summer. Latitude plays a big part in Lavender production which is why Australian Tasmanian Lavender is so well regarded.

Lavender in history

The ancient Greeks called the
lavender herb nardus, after the Syrian
city of Naarda. It was also commonly
called nard.

Lavender was one of the holy herbs
used in the biblical Temple to prepare
the holy essence, and nard is
mentioned in the Song of Solomon

nard and saffron,
calamus and cinnamon,
with every kind of incense tree,
with myrrh and aloes,
and all the finest spices.

During Roman times, flowers were sold
for 100 denarii per pound, which was
about the same as a month's wages
for a farm laborer, or fifty haircuts from
the local barber. Lavender was
commonly used in Roman baths to
scent the water, and it was thought to
restore the skin. Its
late Latin name was lavandārius, from
lavanda (things to be washed), from
the verb lavāre (to wash). When the
Roman Empire conquered southern
Britain, the Romans introduced
lavender. The Greeks discovered early
on that lavender if crushed and treated
correctly would release a relaxing fume
when burned.

Chemical composition and antioxidant

The antioxidant activities and the
determined major components of six
popular and commercially available
herb essential oils, including lavender
(Lavendular angustifolia), peppermint
(Mentha piperita), rosemary
(Rosmarius officinalis), lemon (Citrus
limon), grapefruit (Citrus paradise),
and frankincense (Boswellia carteri),
were compared. The essential oils
were analysed by GC-MS and their
antioxidant activities were determined
by testing free radical-scavenging
capacity and lipid peroxidation in the
linoleic acid system. The major
components of the essential oils of
lavender, peppermint, rosemary,
lemon, grapefruit, and frankincense
were linalyl acetate (28.2%), menthol
(33.4%), 1,8-cineole (46.1%),
limonene (64.5 and 94.2%), and
p-menth-2-en-ol (34.5%), respectively.
The highest DPPH radical-scavenging
activity was obtained by the lavender
essential oil and limonene, with RC50
values of 2.1 +/- 0.23% and 2.1 +/-
0.04%, respectively.

The most expensive for us to buy is the Lavender Fine Wild Organic which I buy for my own family use and for use in our skincare creams. This is gathered at high altitude from bushes growing in the wild. They are naturally more fragrant as they have to work harder to attract insects. It costs £3.50 for every 10ml but I always tuck away a litre each season for those who love its high fragrance for diffuser use. You can find a similar fragrance without all the notes of wild lavender in Lavender Mailette. This is the oil I diffuse at exhibitions along with neroli and rose so you can always find our stand!!

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