Just recently my wife, Gavina, had a patient come to the clinic where she works, and my wife happened to be wearing lavender essential oil.
The patient asked what fragrance my wife was wearing. When Gavina told her it was lavender, the patient remarked that Lavender made her feel sick and
nauseous. Gavina didn’t respond to this. Half an hour later, nothing happened, even though my wife remained in her presence. The patient completed her
tests without experiencing any sickness or ill feeling. I’ve heard similar stories to this from other people. Now lavender is an essential oil, whose main
benefits are that it’s calming, relaxing and excellent for dealing with mild headaches and head-colds. It should not be making people sick.
The Use of synthetics and adulterated oils.
If I had to make an educated guess, I would say the patient in the story I just related, had prior to meeting my wife, either used or been exposed to a
lavender essential oil that was mixed with synthetics or lavendin. The lavender oil my wife uses is pure and unadulterated. Hence why the patient didn’t
get ill in her presence.
Lavendin is a hybrid of true lavender (lavendula angustifolia). In Southern France, where much of the world’s production of lavender has traditionally come
from, lavender is no longer being grown. Farmers are planting lavendin because it yields up to 6 times the amount of oil that lavender does. Much of this
demand comes from the perfumeries who take up as much as 56% of the production. Aromatherapy and home use unfortunately only accounts for about 1%. So guess
who is going to dictate the growing priorities of the French farmer?
Some of you might say “So what? What’s wrong with lavendin? It’s a hybrid of lavender”. Well it’s true that lavendin has it’s uses. It’s got great anti-fungal
, anti-bacterial and antiseptic properties. However unlike Lavender it contains the compound camphene (camphor), which depending on the quantity in the oil,
can be caustic to the skin. Now lavender is an essential oil known for its ability to alleviate and heal burn damage; it’s a great oil for skin care. So if
you go to apply some lavender on a burn, which has been adulterated with lavendin…OUCH!!!
Add to this the fact that many perfumeries and producers of essential oils add synthetic linolol (linalol is the compound that gives Lavender its distinct
fragrance) to the lavendin, and you end up with a cocktail that’s not very pure and not very natural. You might be lucky to have as much as 5% pure lavender
in your bottle of essential oil.
Pure, unadulterated and therapeutic grade
What you should be using needs to be pure, unadulterated and therapeutic grade in quality. This means you need to do a little bit of homework, researching what
you buy; which in this day and age we need to do with most of the things we buy anyway.
What are the qualities of a therapeutic grade essential oil?
Here are some things you need to find out before you start buying (and using) an essential oil:
- As we’ve already mentioned, the oil should be 100% pure and undiluted and not contain ANY synthetics.
- The source of the oil, which includes both the plant and the land it’s grown on, should be free of any toxic materials and residues, e.g. pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers, i.e. something that is truly wild-crafted. If the producer of an essential oil simply buys the plant from a producer, then the chances are they will not only have no control over this, they probably won’t even know the quality and standard of what they’re buying.
- If the producer of the oil doesn’t grow their own plants, do they have the oils tested in a lab to verify their composition? Do they visit the farms of those suppliers regularly to observe if the herbs are grown organically?
- The essential oil needs to be distilled at the right temperature. Often very high temperatures are used to extract the most oil from the plant in the least amount of time. This unfortunately will damage the essential oil, which is made up of very volatile or sensitive molecules. You might have a very pure oil but which is totally devoid of any therapeutic quality.
- If the producer or supplier makes a mistake in the distillation or harvesting processes that results in an inferior grade of oil, do they go ahead and sell the oil anyway or do they get rid of it?
The quality of your essential oil is important if you want to experience a therapeutic benefit and avoid any harmful effects that come from using something that has synthetic chemicals or has been diluted with other products.
Use only Therapeutic Grade Essential oils , March 14th 2010, Essential oils for living
Can Essential oils be toxic? Part One February 28th 2010, Essential oils for living
Can Essential oils be toxic? Part two March 7th 2010, Essential oils for living
The Lavender Deception May 19th 2011, Gary Young’s blog
The Lavender Deception (Continued) May 26th 2011, Gary Young’s blog