Provence and lavender are an essential combination, they immediately make you think of the immense fields of the Plateau de Valensole .... what a show! The first time we went there it was a real vision! Unforgettable! So much so that we've been back every year, so it's been almost 20 years that we don't miss this appointment between the end of June and the beginning of July, the best period for flowering.
How many things we have discovered and learned, the first of all was to distinguish, by characteristics and properties, the essential oil of fine lavender from lavandin.
The first is extracted from the medicinal or fine lavender plant "la vrai", Latin name lavandula angustifolia, a plant of the lamiaceae family like thyme or sage, already used by the Romans to perfume baths but "christened" lavender only in the 18th century century by the naturalist Carl Von Linné.
It grows from an altitude of 600 meters, has a single flower on each stem and it takes about 130 kg of flowers to distill 1 liter of essential oil. One hectare of plantation can produce up to 50 liters of essential oil in the best years, this justifies the cost of an authentic medicinal lavender oil.
For both lavender and lavandin the distillation processes are identical: the traditional one, i.e. stems and cut flowers are not pressed but collected after at least one day of drying in the fields and then distilled or the conventional one where flowers and stems are pressed and distilled quickly.
This oil is edible, whereas lavandin oil is not, so be aware of the proper use of the two oils. Always having it at hand can be the solution to many small everyday ailments. It has solved for me the annoying problem of lip herpes, always lurking on every occasion, as soon as I feel the slightest annoyance I dab it with one/two drops and magic....herpes doesn't come out!!!!!
Lavandin oil is extracted from the "hybrid" lavender plant, a cross obtained between lavender augustifolia and lavender latifolia and therefore cannot reproduce naturally. It grows between 200 and 800 meters above sea level, measures from 60 to 80 cm in height and its ears are very dense and form those beautiful large and regular bushes, the much admired and photographed "bulles". It is the most common species in Provence (80% of cultivated areas) and the yield per hectare is even four times higher than fine lavender.
This cheaper oil is mainly used in perfumery and aromatherapy. In the diffuser, in addition to perfuming, it becomes an excellent anti-mosquito and thanks to its antibacterial properties it is very useful added in drops to floor detergent, for cleaning in general, for laundry, to remove bad smells or as a pesticide for our furbabies.
It is known that the best known property of lavender is the calming effect for which both oils are suitable for these uses: a few drops on the temples for headaches, a spray on the pillow to induce sleep, in the bathtub as a final of stressful days, in the hot water for the vapors and to release stuffy nose. Added to a good body cream it is excellent in case of burns, insect bites, contractures and muscle pain.
I hope this information has been useful, if you want on our site you can buy these two precious oils and use them as you prefer, you can find them in the Essential Oils category together with many other essences, but we will talk about these in one of the next articles. See you soon!!!