Recently I was asked what the difference was between Lavender, Lavandin and Spike Lavender essential oils.
Well to start with, while they all belong to the Botanical Family Lamiacea, and all have Lavender as part of their name, they are in fact three quite different species of the plant.
True Lavender is Lavandula angustifolia (sometimes called L. officinalis or L. vera); Lavandin is Lavandula x intermedia and Spike Lavender is Lavandula latifolia.
As the x in Lavandin’s Latin name indicates, this plant is a hybrid, and was created in the 1920’s by crossing Lavandula angustifolia and Lavandula latifolia, so it would probably be fair to say, that as a hybrid Lavandin will probably have some properties from both of these essential oils.
One of the best ways to see and understand those similarities and differences would be to look at the chemistry of each of these oils. Although it won’t give you the whole picture, this is what you can tell about these three oils by looking at their chemistry.
As you can see True Lavender has the largest amount of Esters which means that it will have the largest degree of the balancing, calming, cell regenerating, anti-inflammatory at the primary phase of infections properties of the three. It also has a significant amount of Alcohols which bring with them antifungal, antiviral, strong bactericidal, balancing and immunostimulant properties.
Spike Lavender has a significant amount of Oxides which bring antiviral, decongestant, mucolytic, immune stimulating and stimulant properties to the oil. It doesn’t have as much Alcohol as True Lavender so while it will share the antifungal, antiviral, strongly bactericidal, balancing, and immunostimulant properties they will not be available in the oil to the same degree.
As can be expected from a hybrid, Lavandin will have elements from both oils. Lavandin has the largest amount of Alcohols of the three which means that its antifungal, antiviral, strong bactericidal, balancing and immunostimulant properties are likely to be the strongest of the three too. It has Esters like True Lavender but not to quite the same degree so it’s balancing, calming, cell regenerating, anti-inflammatory at the primary phase of infections properties won’t be as strong.
As always working with different oils, in ‘the real world’ is where you really can observe the benefits of one over the other and increase your knowledge.