Sunday, 6 February 2011

Lavender - whats in a name?

Sp run an aromatherapy college and supply oils to our students who have their own colleges and businesses.  Lavender is a key oil to study and use.

The community pages are on, theres a form to fill in then we mail a password, the oils are in good shape. we buy cooperatively from dedicated organic growers so the more folk join in the better deal we can do for the farmers. its always nice to see the field the oil comes from!

We choose the Shirley Price Lavender Organic to be the finest available. Much depends on the dedication of the farmer/distiller.

Pictured is Shirley Price's high altitude organic lavender in February 2011. You can see the stalks still on which will be trimmed in March. Distilling only the flowering heads produces a superior lavender in terms of fragrance and chemistry but of course this means working by hand in the traditional way. Sp takes the product of the whole farm which enables us to ensure stability of price and supply of this key oil.

 A good time to visit the area is in the spring. wild orchids grow on some slopes. this is a pollution free area surrounded by oak forest as far as the eye can see. You can see the footprints of wild boar from the forest around the farm.

A further bonus for us is the farmer's wife is a botanist and a gifted botanic artist.  We use line drawings on our oil boxes both to inform but also as a highly effective anti fake device for our authorised resellers use. Text and colour can be mimicked but a drawing never!

Conventionally farmed lavender.  The normal conventional lavender Code 1185 we have also supplied as an organic oil last year but this year 1185 will be a conventional oil.  For the last couple of years we have been able to secure this at a good price.  Sadly all good things must come to an end and the 'ordinary' lavender organic is now the same price as the Lavender Fine which we call Lavender Organic.

Lavender Fine France refers to a nice oil made from the flowers of lavender, Officinalis is an oil made from the flowers and stalks in the traditional way.  In a way officinalis is preferred as this is the traditional oil accorded therapeutic properties by the Aromatherapy Congress of Grasse. 

French lavender angustifolia unfortunately after recent pests and droughts is now mostly of the mailette clone chosen for its fragrance.  We stock the Lavender Angustifolia Miller grown for aromatherapy by the Golgemma cooperative.

Lavender Mailette can still give good chemical profiles.
Here is link to the Mailette from the Biolandes Cooperative.

Confusingly Lavender Mailette is also called Lavender Fine and sold as High Altitude Lavender

To further confuse the matter given the problems with the French lavender (using cloned plants and drought) Ive chosen a italian altitude organic fine lavender oil to use in the blends and skincare with outstanding chemistry, holding qualities and aroma.

heres a nice link to Lavender distillation in the UK
Again in the case of english lavenders the issue arises as to whether this is Lavender Angustifolia Miller or a happy mixture of clones more akin to Lavender Spike suited to resist the rigours of the english climates and mildew.  So Perfectly suited to cosmetics but some caution about the use in aromatherapy.  Always ask.

Latest lavender research

Lavender Oil Kills Off Fungal Infections

Lavendula species are important medicinal plants.
A recent study published in the Journal of Medical Microbiology shows that a Lavender Oil could be used to combat antifungal-resistant infections.
Portuguese scientists have tested oil distilled from the Lavandula viridis L'Hér shrub against a range of pathogenic fungi. They discovered that it killed a number of skin-pathogenic strains, known as dermatophytes, as well as various species of Candida.
They found that these oils work by destroying fungal cells by damaging the cell membrane. Lead researcher Professor Salgueiro said, "Lavandula oil shows wide-spectrum antifungal activity and is highly potent. This is a good starting point for developing this oil for clinical use to manage fungal infections. What is now required is clinical trials to evaluate how our in vitro work translates in vivo.”


I am very happy for lavender experts to contribute to this note of the current state of play


No comments:

Post a Comment