Lavender is the common name for a wide variety of aromatic plants belonging to the genus Lavandula. This set includes, without counting hybrid species, more than 30 varieties.
From the lamiaceae family, like thyme and rosemary, these plants with perennial stems and purplish flowers are native to the Mediterranean basin, the Middle East and India, growing in dry and sunny soils.
Its enormous popularity made it spread rapidly to other parts of the world such as England, where they were believed to have been introduced by the ancient Romans, since it was common for them to use lavender for healing, soothing and repellent properties.
It is said that its name comes from the Latin lavare (to wash), referring to its uses to perfume clothes and baths, although there are also theories that relate the etymological origin of its name to its color.
Among the most popular kinds of lavender we can find the botanical species Lavandula angustifolia which, in Spain, is grown mainly in Guadalajara, Aragon and Murcia. In France, its cultivation in Grasse is especially famous since this place is known as the “world capital of perfume”.
This French town was not always famous for its aromatic crops since, until the 16th century, it was known in Europe for its leather production. However, the fact that plants such as lavender were used in techniques to hide the characteristic smell of leather, together with the increase in taxes on this raw material, would end up causing, over time, the famous Grasse tanners to be completely dedicated to the world of the fragrances.
The characteristic olfactory notes of lavender, which combine its floral and fresh nuances like no other plant, make it easy to imagine why the popularity of its scent dates back thousands of years.
CURRENT USES OF LAVENDER ESSENTIAL OIL
Lavender Essential Oil is, in addition to being essential in the world of perfumery, increasingly in demand in industries such as food, cosmetics or pharmacy.
This increase in demand is due, in part, to the growing popularity of natural raw materials and their applications in personal care products.
Another important reason is the increase in knowledge about the qualities that lavender essential oil possesses. Various recent studies give its aroma calming and anxiolytic effects that help reduce stress and promote a relaxed state of mind.
LAVENDER ESSENTIAL OIL: DIFFERENCES AND PROPERTIES
Among the most appreciated lavenders for its essential oil, we can find:
- Lavandula angustifolia: It grows from 800 meters above sea level. It has narrow leaves and, unlike other Lavandula species, only has one stem. Its delicate cultivation requires very precise conditions. 150 kg of plants produce around 1 liter of essential oil that has a light-yellow color and floral, fresh and herbaceous olfactory notes.
- Lavandula latifolia: Larger than Lavandula angustifolia, it has more flowers and fairly narrow leaves.Its cultivation is easier than the previous one and the smell of its oil is very fresh. It is reminiscent of the aroma of Lavandula angustifolia, with certain camphor and cineolic nuances.
- Lavandula hybrida: It is a sterile species obtained by hybridizing different species of Lavandula. The varieties of lavandin abrialis, grosso and super are recognized for their essential oil. They have broad leaves and are easier to grow than other lavender species.Its essential oil contains a high amount of camphor, thus presenting a camphoraceous and strong smell. Its aroma is more herbaceous than that of Lavandula angustifolia.
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