What's the Difference Between Lavender and Lavandin?

When shopping for Lavender essential oil, it’s important to make sure that you’re getting true Lavender. A common question people ask us is, “Is Lavandin the same as Lavender?“

It is nearly impossible to find actual Lavender essential oil in stores, brands adulterate oils in many ways unfortunately, to cut costs and liability. A common way is by replacing ‘Lavandula angustifolia’, or English Lavender, with one of thirty-five other types of Lavender plants (such as Hidcote, Munstead, Peter Pan and Royal Purple). The most common adulterant is ‘Lavandula Intermedia’, commonly referred to as ‘Lavandin’, which is the most similar to English Lavender, but also includes its own varieties (such as Grosso, Super, Sussex, Soumian and Abrialis). [1]

Lavender essential oil can technically be derived from all/any of these, so why is it important to know what the differences are between ‘Lavandula angustifolia’ and other lavender varieties?

The Different Types of Lavender Plants

Lavandin is less expensive, and and quite a different oil with its own unique and different uses from Lavender (Lavendula angustifolia) Essential oil. The Lavandin variety can still be 100% natural, but ‘Lavandin’ is not 100% Pure Lavender Essential Oil.

Buying something with Lavandin essential oil will be noticeably less expensive than buying Lavandula angustifolia essential oil, because the yield of ‘Lavandula angustifolia’ is less than half of the yield of the Lavandin variety.

This might not matter much to you if you are just looking at Lavender for it’s aroma, but if you care about purity and are looking to purchase Lavender for its therapeutic benefits, Lavandula angustifolia shows the ability to reduce inflammation and pain. 

Lavandin oil contains a much higher percentage of camphor. Typically English Lavender essential oil contains between 0%-0.6% camphor, whereas Lavandin oil contains between 6%-10% camphor. This makes Lavandin scent stronger and more pungent like medicine, whereas English Lavender oil produces a more subtle, sweet, floral aroma that is sought after.

However, the higher camphor content means that Lavandin oil can be more effective at clearing congestion, effective bug spray, and freshening rooms and deodorizing than English Lavender essential oil. It should not however be used on cuts or burns (which is one of the benefits of using ‘Lavandula angustifolia’) because of the high levels of camphor, which can further cause tissue scarring.

There is a legend that the French scientist Gattesfosse burnt his hand in a chemical experiment a few decades back, and accidentally dipped his hands in the oil of Lavandula angustifolia during his panic and he was able to feel relief from his severe burns, leading to the invention of this sub-sect of science, Aromatherapy.

If Gattesfosse had dipped his hand in a bucket full of Lavandin oil instead, the high camphor content would definitely cause more harm to his hand. And worse, perhaps Aromatherapy would never have been discovered. This is why it is so important to understand the science behind essential oils and educate ourselves on the subtle difference between the variety of crops available to us. 


Which Lavender Essential Oil is Best?

At the risk of oversimplifying the situation, one might choose among the types of Lavender varieties in the following manner to figure out which lavender essential oil is best:

Lavandula Angustifolia

Calming effect from esters in the monoterpenol-ester synergy, making it the go-to oil for soothing and calming anxious or busy thoughts, soothing stress-related symptoms like headaches, occasional sleeplessness, restlessness, and agitation. soothe bug bites and ease discomforts in the body. Lavender essential oil may soothe burns and help rejuvenate the skin. As a general rule of thumb, lavender works to harmonize blends, is one of the safest types of lavender essential oils, and is unarguably one of the most important essential oils to have in a first aid kit.

Lavandula Latifolia (spike lavender)

May be a good choice for respiratory support and to address head aches. It can also help support the musculoskeletal system and be used in case of muscle or joint discomfort. It should be used with care around children due to its 1,8 cineole and camphor content, and best not to be used at all with pregnant women due to its camphor content.

Each Lavandin oil variety will have its own balance of constituents, hence its own chemical and therapeutic profile. Quality report results are the most important factors to rely on when comparing the Lavandin varieties with ‘Lavandula Angustifolia’ to determine what the essential oil’s therapeutic properties and safety recommendations might be, and which might be right for you to use. Stay tuned for our next blog post about how to read these tests!

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