The health benefits of lavender are well studied but it seems that people just can't get enough of this plant: it's rich, velvety, herbaceous aroma. The Latin name of lavender is Lavare, which means “to wash”, due to its aroma which has a particularly clean smell.
Lavender oil is extracted from the purple flowers of the lavender plant, primarily through steam distillation. The flowers of lavender are fragrant in nature and have been used for making potpourri and cosmetics for centuries.
Application to the skin (diluted) and inhalation are common applications for getting the most benefit from Lavender essential oil however some reputable naturopathic companies (https://nfh.ca/product/lavender-sap) have started producing high quality ingestible gel-pills with impressive results for the treatment of anxiety and insomnia. (*Please check with your physician prior to taking lavender internally)
Currently there are over 45 different species with over 450 varieties. More lavender species/varieties have yet to be classified. Lavender belongs to the genus Lavandula. In Northern latitudes the two most common species are angustifolia and x intermedia (also called lavandin).
In aromatherapy, the 3 most prized varieties used for their essential oils are:
Bulgarian Lavender Essential Oil (Lavandula angustifolia)
- strong assertive scent that's calming and uplifting
- helps support skin health, including soothing insect bites
High Alpine Lavender Essential Oil (Lavandula angustifolia)
- Highest level of Linalyl Acetate, making it the most powerful against viruses and bacteria.
- Highest sedative levels to allow you to relax to levels of deep relaxation and sleep.
Spike Lavender Essential Oil (Lavendula latifolia)
- Used primarily in cleaning products, soaps, deodorizers, and disinfectants.
- Makes a good expectorant, vaporizing rub and muscle salve.
At Maison Apothecare we select only the finest Lavender essential oils and every batch we bring in house has to pass multiple sniff tests. When we began making products 10 years ago, some of the essential oils we purchased came straight from the fields and to our surprise we discovered bees and twigs in the oils! We implemented a filtering process to ensure these 'elements' would not make their way into our products :)
One thing is clear: Lavender is here to help us heal and to help us stay healthy!