quantity in basket: none
code: 15164


Latin Binomial: Lavendula angustifolia
Plant Part: Aerial Part
Extraction: Absolute
Growing Practice: Ethical
Country of Origin: France


Odor Characteristic: Lavender absolute has a persistent, sweet-herbaceous, somewhat floral odor character with hay-like notes. Dryout retains some of the top note characteristics and has a muted sweet/herbaceous quality.

Refractive Index: 1.47200 to 1.48200 @ 20° C.
Specific Gravity: 0.92370 @ 20.00 °C.
Appearance: dark green or bluish green viscous, sometimes semi-solid material
BioChemical Class: Ester, Alcohol
BioChemicals: Mixture of linalylacetate, linalool, camphor, borneol and others.
CAS No: 84776-65-8

About the Plant

Scientific Name(s): Botanically, the genus Lavandula can be divided into 5 sub-generic groups. All the garden and common lavenders belong to the Stoechas and Spica groups. A number or rare species cultivated in Australia and New Zealand belong to the Pterostachys group. There are approximately 30 species. The sub-genus Spica includes L. angustifolia, L. latifolia and L. lanata, all collectively known as lavandin. True English lavender, L. angustifolia Mill, is the species from which the essential oil used in aromatherapy and perfumery is distilled. This species has also been known by the synonyms L. officinalis Chaix, L. vera DC, and L. spica L. The synonym L. officinalis indicates that this was the lavender specified for medicinal use. L. angustifolia is adapted to living in a dry climate and is native to the western half of the mediterranean, reaching altitudes of up to 1800 meters. It is also recognized as a separate type of lavender by the Welsh physicians of the thirteenth century who knew it as Llafant. Many garden lavenders are inter-specific hybrids between L. angustifolia and L. latifolia, and these hybrids are collectively known as 'lavandin', with the accepted nomenclature being L. x intermedia Emeric ex Boiseleur. This complex situation results in many incorrect names for lavandin.

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.


It is likely that the Romans or Benedictine monks introduced Lavender to England before the Norman conquest, and it was first recognized as a distinct form of lavender in the twelfth century by the Abbess Hildegard (AD 1098-1180) who lived near Bingen on the Rhine. Lavender has long found a role in folk medicine. The plant has been used as an antispasmodic, carminative, diuretic and general tonic. Extracts have been used to treat conditions ranging from acne to migraines. Although the plant has been known to increase bile flow output and flow into the intestine, its greatest value is not in the treatment of biliary conditions. Lavender has been used quite extensively as an antidiabetic agent in parts of Spain and is included in some commercial herbal antidiabetic preparations. Fresh leaves and flowers, as well as the diluted essential oil are applied to the forehead to relieve headaches and to joints to treat rheumatic pain. The vapors of steamed flowers are used as a cold remedy. Chileans drink the tea to induce or increase menstrual flow.

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.

Aromatherapy: Lavender absolute is not appropriate for aromatherapy skin applications, and not usually diffused or inhaled. It is a primary natural perfumery ingredient in perfumes and cosmetics..

Perfumery: The absolute can be used in addition to the steam distilled or CO2 extracted material in perfumery, but is often used by itself, imparting a full bodied herbaceous middle note. It blends well with labdanum, base notes of patchouli, cedarwood and vetiver; Conifers such as pine and fir, and for women especially, clary sage. If you are making perfumes based on energetic or emotional aromatherapy concepts, lavender absolute will add a strengthening and calming/balancing effect.

Because absolutes are produced from concretes made using benzene or hexane solvent and alcohol washed for finished absolute product, there could be trace amounts of these solvents, however miniscule. This will influence the safe use or dilution in cosmetic products or perfumes. We include safety information about the essential oil here, as this also applies to the concrete or absolute. Lavender absolute is used extensively in fine perfumery and cosmetics, and is relatively nontoxic. Most aromatherapy information touts Lavender and Lavandin as the safest essential oils in the aromatherapy palate. However, there have been instances of negative reactions recorded over the years, increasing since 1997 with the widespread use in commercial cosmetic products of both the essential oil and dried or extracted botanical. Lavandin shows no irritation or sensitisation at 5% and little or no irritation to human skin was shown (BIBRA Working Group 1994), however sensitisation has been caused in some individuals. Patch tests show a few allergies due to photosensitisatin and also pigmentation (Nakayama et al., 1976; Brando, 1986). At least one contact airborne severe allergic dermatitis through overuse by an aromatherapist is reported (Schaller and Korting, 1995). A friend and fellow aromatics products seller has been sensitized in the late 1990's.

It is now recommended that Lavandin be used with caution due to its sensitisation potential in pregnancy and lactation and because studies on the uterus in Vitro show decrease in intensity of contractions. It is extremely important to be accurately assured of the source and quality of the essential oil if used during pregnancy, childbirth or while lactating or breast feeding.

Lavender essential oil and its hybids are relatively safe to use except for the sensitisation issue. Most probably the incidence of adverse effects is due to adulteration, especially with synthetic components, rather than the essential oil itself.

The information provided on these pages is not a substitute for necessary medical care, nor intended as medical advice. Always keep aromatic extracts tightly closed and in a cool, dark place, out of reach of children. Never ingest aromatic extracts. Always dilute aromatic extracts when applying topically and avoid areas around eyes or mucous membranes. If redness or irritation occurs, stop using immediately and contact your health provider if necessary.