The Lavender Deception (Continued)

aromatherapy book by Jean Valnet, MDOne of the chemical compounds in lavandin is camphene, which is known for its antiseptic, antibacterial, and analgesic properties. When used for these purposes, it is very valuable, as in the essential oil blend of Purification. However, camphene can burn the skin, which is why some people are uncomfortable using straight lavandin. Any burning sensation should be the first clue in discovering the mislabeling, since pure lavender does not contain camphene.

Lavandin may or may not be a little caustic to the skin, depending on its percentage of camphene, but when properly blended with other essential oils, it becomes pleasant to the skin and yet still has its same therapeutic effect. Obtaining this desired result is all in knowing how to formulate.

That also explains why some people complain about not getting the results they want with the lavender they buy from various retail outlets. They don’t know they are actually buying lavandin with camphene and not pure lavender. However, when lavandin is diluted with sufficient linalol, the camphene becomes undetectable to the end users, who then, unfortunately, think they are buying pure lavender.

There is a great example of how adulterated lavender causes problems. In Jean Valnet’s The Practice of Aromatherapy, he writes about a man being treated with lavender for a problem in his “sit-down area.” The man went on a journey but forgot his lavender, so he purchased a fresh supply. Valnet then writes about what happened. “Unfortunately this essence was neither natural nor pure: one single installation was followed by a painful inflammation of such severity that the unfortunate person was unable to sit down for more than a fortnight” (14 nights).

While I was visiting one of the distilleries in France, I watched the synthetic solution being put into the extracted oil that was poured into the barrels. I was very surprised when I saw the export tags on the barrels showing they were going to a new company in Utah. I even took a photo of the tag. I’m sure the people in Utah had no idea what they were getting, which is typical of most buyers.