Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) is a foundational aroma that has become one of the most popular essential oils due to its calming nature and relaxing effect.
Lavender is a beautiful, small shrub that is a member of the Lamiaceae (mint) family. The fragrant bluish- purple flowers are steam distilled to produce essential oil. There are several different species of lavender used to produce the essential oil; Lavandula angustifolia, also known as true lavender, produces the classic essential oil that we associate with calm and relaxation. Spike lavender (Lavandula latifolia) has a higher cineole and camphor content than traditional lavender, which makes it more stimulating and purifying (think chest rubs and saunas rather than pillow sprays and meditation). Lavandula intermedia, also known as lavandin, is a hybrid of true lavender and spike lavender and has a more herbaceous uplifting and energizing aroma.
Aura Cacia lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) comes from Bulgaria, one of the top lavender-producing countries in the world. Lavender is harvested annually near or just after the summer solstice. The flowers only bloom for about two weeks, so the harvesting and distillation is often done all day and night. Lavender is harvested with a combine and immediately taken to the distillation facility.
Lavender is produced more than any other essential oil sold for aromatherapy purposes, and has a longer history of use than most other essential oils. In fact, the term "aromatherapy" was coined by Rene-Maurice Gattefosse after his experiments with lavender. In addition to its capacity to inspire calm, lavender essential oil is easy to use. Mixed with a skin care oil, lavender makes for a calming massage oil, body moisturizer or bath oil. A few drops can be placed on your pillow before bed, or diffused throughout the day to create a calm and peaceful atmosphere. Lavender blends wonderfully with so many other essential oils, particularly citruses like bergamot and sweet orange, floral aromas like rose, and even the herbaceous or resin-y aromas of rosemary and frankincense.