Summer is a time for floral aroma ingredients and nothing brings to mind the calming scent of a summer’s meadow quite like lavender.
This ever-popular fragrance ingredient has become the hallmark of everything from household cleaning products to feminine fragrances and is a favourite among many consumers regardless of gender.
And while it is used all year round, the summer lavender harvest season makes this a particularly relevant time of year to talk about this beautiful and delicately fragrant plant.
Many people don’t realize that there are over 450 varieties of this popular flower. The two widely-used varieties are Lavandula Angustifolia (referred to as ‘lavender’) and Lavandula Intermedia (known as ‘lavandin’) which was developed as a cross between Lavandula Angustifolia and Spike Lavender, Lavandula latifolia, in the early 1900’s.
To confuse matters, lavender is also commonly referred to as “English lavender” because historically it was developed for the English perfume industry while lavandin is commonly referred to as “French lavender” because it was the flower of choice for the French perfume industry. However, both are grown wherever the climate and topography allow so it is not restricted by borders.
The choice between Lavender and Lavandin is really down to personal preference, although there are a few slight differences between the two.
Lavender is known to be sweeter, floral and more delicate and its essential oil is used in balms, perfumes, cosmetics and topical applications (did you know it can be used as a mosquito repellent?…). Well diluted, it is safe to use for children’s minor cuts and scrapes because of its anti-bacterial properties.
Commonly known for its sedative properties, it helps to calm and relieve anxiety and helps to promote sleep at the of a busy day.
Lavandin, on the other hand, contains a higher percentage of camphor resulting in a stronger, herbaceous and medicinal scent. As it is more stimulating, it is preferred for applications intended for respiratory, circulatory and muscular conditions.
Lavender can be harvested by hand – stems are cut, the flowers stripped from them and the lavender essential oil extracted – although this approach is labour intensive.
An alternative for largescale lavender essential oil production is to use a harvester to cut the stems, which means the crop can be harvested in full at the best time for essential oil yields.
Ideally, harvesting is done when the flower buds have not yet quite opened as this helps them to keep their colour and fragrance for longer. It also makes it easier to remove them from the stem once it has dried.
French lavender, or lavandin, typically grows significantly larger than English lavender, and one plant can yield greater quantities of lavandin essential oil.
However, both are farmed commercially in many locations worldwide, making both lavender and lavandin essential oils widely available in bulk quantities for all applications. Think about this the next time you light a fragranced candle, put a load of washing in your machine or apply a soothing lavender-scented body lotion.
Zanos sources lavender and lavandin oil and other 100% natural and organic ingredients from our trusted suppliers. We have also been trading in competitively-priced aroma chemicals for nearly 20 years.
We are happy to help you find what you are looking for. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or speak to our Sales Specialists on 01565 755899.