Archive for the ‘Lavender’ Category

The History of Lavender

Saturday, September 26th, 2009

In the olden days, say, going back a few thousand years, Lavender was not used as an essential oil.  Rather, the ancients worked with Lavender as an Infused Oil.  An infused oil was made by putting  flowers in a vat of  cooking oil, and placing a tight cover on it.   The whole vat was then placed in a pan of hot water and simmered for 1-2 hours.   When cooled, it was  strained and put into airtight containers for storage.

While the Egyptians used Lavender for the mummification process, other ancient peoples used it for massaging painful joints, muscular aches and promoting healing during illness. Roman soldiers used Lavender for bathing.  And in fact, the word Lavender comes from Latin: “lavare” meaning to wash.  During Medieval times Lavender was one of the scents used to ward off infections and diseases, such as the Black Plague.  Glove makers would actually scent their gloves with Lavender for this very purpose.  In fact, this is how the perfume industry began; to ward off illness.  Lavender was one of the prime ingredients of the famous Eau de Cologne.

How else did the ancients use Lavender?

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The Adulteration of True Lavender

Wednesday, September 16th, 2009

With the great popularity of Lavender, one would assume that thousands of tons of Lavender Angustifolia essential oil would be produced every year to meet the demand.  Not so.  Unlike peppermint or other essential oils used in the food industry, only around 200 hundred tons of True Lavender are produced yearly.    Lavender essential oil yield can also vary depending on when it was grown, picked and processed, and what kind of weather it was subjected to.

Another way Lavender Angustifolia can be adulterated is by spraying an inferior crop before it is picked, with the Ester, Linalyl Acetate.  Labeling laws say that if a plant is tampered with after it is picked, it must be labeled as an inferior essential oil.  However, if it is sprayed before it is picked then it does not have to be reported.  A common way to stretch the amount of True Lavender is to add Lavadin.

This is why much of the Lavender in products today are either synthetic or adulterated with Lavadin.  I cannot stress enough, that who and where you buy your Lavender from is vital to it’s quality. Know your supplier and when in doubt as to origin, ask questions.  The bottom line though, is let your nose do the walking.  You may not be able to tell the difference between an essential oil that has added Linalyl Acetate and one that has not, but you will be able to tell if it has been cut with something synthetic or Lavadin.  It will simply have a strong camphor odor.  True Lavender should have very little camphor in it and have more of a clear and sweet smell.

Buy True Bulgarian Lavender at AromatherapyCelebrations.com.

Tell us about your experiences with Lavender!

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Different Kinds of Lavender

Thursday, September 10th, 2009

When you go to the store to buy Lavender essential oil for a therapeutic project, you always want to  check the label on the bottle.  This is because there are three different kinds of Lavender. You need to make sure you are buying Lavender Angustifolia or True Lavender. True Lavender only grows in  high altitudes of 700-1500 meters, and it’s scent is sweeter and more refined than other Lavenders.  Chemically speaking, it has  more Linalyl acetate (Ester) and very little Camphor (Ketones).

Another type of Lavender is called Spike Lavender which has a high level of Camphor (Ketones) and can be toxic.  It is only used in very small quantities, if used at all, for respiratory tract problems.  This plant grows at lower altitudes in France and Spain.

Interested in soap making? Then Lavandin will be  your Lavender of choice.  It is a hybrid of True Lavender and Spike Lavender and is much less expensive.   Sometimes it is used to adulterate True Lavender to fool the public and make more money.  Lavandin also has a strong camphor odor and has far less sedative properties than True Lavender.

Share your experiences with True Lavender and Lavadin!

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Working with Bulgarian Lavender Essential Oil

Friday, September 4th, 2009

I love working with Bulgarian Lavender.

One of my favorite uses for this essential oil is cleaning my toilet bowl.  Bulgarian Lavender has super antibacterial properties.  A few drops and swishes with the brush is all it takes for a fresh, clean smell.  It’s also great for eliminating strong unpleasant bathroom odors.  On the same note, you can also place a couple of drops in a small bowl of water in any room to have it smelling clean and crisp in a matter of moments.

Professionally,  I enjoy using Bulgarian Lavender, by blending it into many of my essential oil formulas.  Although, Lavender in general, will integrate or mingle  other essential oils in a blend, you need to take care that it’s addition will also complement the blend’s intent. As an anti-inflammatory, Lavender can also act as a formula balancer or to eliminate stress on many levels.

Share with us your favorite use of Lavender!

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Finding Bulgarian Lavender Essential Oil

Thursday, August 27th, 2009

As you can well imagine, when I began working with essential oils, I was more than a little hesitant to use Lavender again.  It took me quite a while to build up enough courage  to experiment with it.  I found that Lavender essential oils did not bother me as profoundly as the flowers did.  However, there was still some raspiness happening.  After much experimentation and expense, I finally found Bulgarian Lavender essential oil.  Although, I certainly wouldn’t want to stick my nose in a vat of it, Bulgarian Lavender  is the only Lavender I can work with, without side effects.

What’s so special about Bulgarian Lavender?

People in the know say Bulgarian Lavender is more medicinal than other Lavenders.  To me it smells clearer, sharper, and sweeter. The differences of climate, water,  soil, and geographical location can greatly change the qualities of any essential oil.  So hat’s off to Bulgaria for producing such an outstanding plant!   Bulgarian Lavender’s chemical composition is simply different than other lavenders.  I actually did a bunch of research to find out the exact differences, but alas, could not find what I was looking for.

AromatherapyCelebrations.com sells Bulgarian Lavender for an excellent price!

What types of Lavender do you prefer?

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My First Encounter with Lavender

Tuesday, August 11th, 2009

I first got to know about Lavender when I was living in a duplex that was situated in the woods.  The back door was level with the ground and there were numerous hidden holes allowing many types of small creatures into the house.  Although, most people would probably freak out with the snakes and huge wolf spiders, the most annoying animals to me were the mice.  As most of you probably know,  mice get into everything! They chew holes in your linens and cardboard boxes filled with food.  And all the while they leave their little droppings all over the place.

I tried everything to get rid of them.  Traps, cages, talking to them, etc.  All would work for a while, and then they would start  coming back in.  Then a friend told me that mice did not like lavender.  All I had to do was to go to my favorite natural foods store, buy some bulk lavender flowers and sprinkle them in all the nooks and crannies of my kitchen.  I did so, and left the room for about 15 minutes.  When I returned, I realized why mice do not like lavender.  They probably felt the same thing I did!  My entire respiratory system was beginning to close down.  Luckily for me, my mind was still awake.  I immediately got my vacuum cleaner and sucked up all those little lavender flowers and pretty soon everything returned to normal.

Tell us about a favorite story you have had with a plant or essential oil.

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