Lavender is a perennial aromatic evergreen shrub with violet-blue spike-like flowers. It is often found and therefore believed to have been adapted to dry climate. It is commonly found in western half of Mediterranean. Historically there is evidence that its existence is recorded as far back as Roman times and that Roman and Benedictine monks might have introduced it to the rest of the Europe. Its name is derived from Latin Lavare, which means “to wash”, due to its aroma and natural cleansing properties. Lavender essential oils scent is floral, fresh, sweet, herbaceous and sometimes slightly fruity.
There are several varieties of Lavender which can cause confusion over the names of the various species. The favorite and most widely used is Lavandula officinalis, also called Lavandula angustifolia, or Lavandula vera. Lavender essential oil potency varies with terrain altitude and dryness. Higher altitudes produce sharper and fresher oil while lower produce sweeter and softer oils. The finest quality lavender oils are grown in dry conditions at altitude between 700 and 1400 meters.
Lavender essential oil is obtained by distillation from the flower spikes of certain species of lavender. Two forms are distinguished, lavender flower oil, colorless oil, insoluble in water, and lavender spike oil, a distillate from the herb Lavandula latifolia, each with its distinct benefits and applications. Each is a variable mix of linalool (51%), linalyl acetate (35%), α-pinene, limonene, 1,8-cineole, cis- and trans-ocimene, 3-octanone, camphor, caryophyllene, terpinen-4-ol and lavendulyl acetate, which give lavender its natural benefits and heady scent.
The benefits of lavender essential oil include its ability to relieve nervous tension, pain, disinfect scalp and skin, enhance blood circulation and treat respiratory problems, which is why it is used in the production of perfumes and in aromatherapy. As strong antiseptic and antifungal agent lavender essential oil is also used to treat various skin disorders such as acne, wrinkles, psoriasis, and other inflammations. It heals wounds, cuts, burns, and sunburns, reduces scar tissue formation and is very effective in treating eczema. All this is the reason why lavender essential oil has followed its natural evolution to favorite bath and beauty product additive.
As with many other essential oils, moderation is the key and pregnant and breastfeeding women should avoid using lavender essential oil. It may also cause allergic reactions to people having sensitive skin.
And did you know that lavender essential also repels mosquitoes? It does! Next time you feel like taking a nice leisurely walk, dab on some lavender scented product, relax and enjoy your walk and forget heavy expensive chemical based insect repellents.
To hear more about beneficial properties of natural essential oils, read Nina Bella Collection weekly updates and try our very own lavender products, today.