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Latin Binomial: Lavandula angustifolia
Plant Part: Flower
Extraction: Steam Distilled
Growing Practice: Organic
Country of Origin: USA:Washington
Lavender Hydrosol from the Pacific Northwest has an herbaceous/floral scent with honey overtones.
BioChemical Class: Ester, Alcohol
Several Lavandula species have been used medicinally, including L. angustifolia Mill. (syn. L. officinalis Chaix. and L. spica, L. stoechas, L. dentata, L. latifolia and L. pubescens Decne.
Family: Lamiaceae (formerly Labiatae) Sub-Family: Nepetoidae, Tribe: Lavanduleae, Genus Lavandula
Common Name(s): Aspic, lavandin (usually refers to particular hybrids), lavender, spike lavender, true lavender.
Botany: Lavender plants are aromatic evergreen sub-shrubs that grow to about 3 feet high. The plants are native to the Mediterranean region. Fresh flowering tops are collected, and the essential oil is distilled or extracted by solvent extraction.1 The plant has small blue or purple flowers, sometimes white or violet. The narrow leaves are fuzzy and gray when young and turn green as they mature. Lavender is cultivated extensively for use as a perfume, potpourri and as an ornamental.
Morphology: Lavenders are herbs and shrubs (Hyptis). Young stems are often 4-angled with leaves opposite, whorled and simple, with no stipules. Flowers are bisexual, usually 2-lipped (upper lip with 2 lobes, lower lip with 3 lobes. Four stamens, in 2 sets (didynamous), with filaments partially fused to petals (epipetalous). Two partially fused carpels, each with 2 lobes, basal style with 2 lobed stigma. Fruit 4 nutlets. Calys usually persistent with 5 fused lobes or 2-lipped. Infloresence - main stem with flowers in whorls, flowers with or without stalks (infloresence a verticillate spike or raceme, flowers +/- pedicels). Often with short-stalked epidermal glands containing essential oils.
Distribution: Most species of lavender are native to the Mediterranean coastal region, but others come from islands in the Atlantic Ocean, tropical north-east Africa (Somalia) and the Indian sub-continent.
In herbalism, Lavender is usually administered orally in the form of an infusion, decoction and is either taken internally or diluted essential oil applied topically for relief of neuralgia. Today, lavender oil and extracts are used as pharmaceutical fragrances and in cosmetics. Spike lavender oil is often used in soaps because it is inexpensive but of lower quality than true lavender oil. Lavandin oil, lavender absolute (an extract) and spike lavender oil are used in concentrations of up to 1.2% in perfumes.1 Small amounts (0.002% to 0.004%) of the oil are used to flavor food.
Lavender's versatility is seen in its various applications as a fragrance in perfumes, bath and shower products, hair care products, toiletry soaps, detergents, typical formulations, synthetic derivatives and production.
Lavender flowers contain between 1% to 3% essential oil. Lavandin hybrids contain a higher volatile oil content, but its composition is extremely variable. The oil is a complex mixture of more than 150 compounds, the most abundant of which are linaloyl acetate (30% to 55%), linalool (20% to 35%), cineole, camphor, beta-ocimene, limonene, caproic acid, caryophyllene oxide and tannins (5% to 10%).1,7 However, the relative amounts of these compounds can vary widely between species.8,9 Perillyl alcohol, a distillate of L. angustifolia has been shown to exert anticancer effects.10 Several articles on lavender are available, discussing analysis methods,11-13 enantiomeric purity and distinctiveness, 14-16 variety deviation,17-20 essential oil quality, 21,22 GC retention indices,23 and lavender content in perfumes.
The information provided on these pages is not a substitute for necessary medical care, nor intended as medical advice. Always keep hydrosols tightly closed, refrigerated, and out of reach of children. If redness or irritation occurs when applied to the skin, stop using immediately and contact your health provider if necessary.
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