4 August, 2016 Charlena Edge 0 Comment

During my “Quality Assessment and Microscopy” class we did an extensive module on detecting the differences between True Lavender (Lavendula angustifolia) and Lavandin, a hybrid variety produced by crossing angustifolia with latifolia, better known as spike lavender.

In class, we used a microscope in an attempt to detect the minor differences in the bud structure. It was HARD. The best way to distinguish true lavender from lavandin was using our noses. The differences in chemical makeup were apparent. Lavandin has a higher camphor content than true lavender. Since camphor is a stimulant, this could be problematic if you are purchasing lavender essential oil for its relaxation properties.

The best way to avoid adulterated lavender oils is to buy from a reputable source. They will have required or conducted testing to ensure identity and quality. The article below is courtesy of Frontier Coop. I’m not saying lavandin is bad, just be sure to do a bit of research to ensure the properties you want, are what you will get in your essential oils.

QUALITY ASSURANCE TECHNICAL BULLETIN

LAVENDER ESSENTIAL OIL PURITY — 11/15/04

The Quality Assurance Department has prepared the following report to inform Frontier/Aura Cacia staff and customers of the industry-wide problem of adulterated/mislabeled lavender essential oil and the purity testing we use to detect it.

True Lavender ( Lavandula angustifolia Mill.) oil is obtained by steam distillation of the flowers. A burgeoning demand for lavender oil has created supply problems for many essential oil suppliers, and this has led to the widespread presence of adulterated and mislabeled lavender products in the marketplace. We have been testing bottles of lavender oil obtained from natural product stores around the country for the last four years. Our results show that of the 25 different brands we have tested, only three–other than Aura Cacia–have avoided selling adulterated lavender oil.

  • Lavender

  • Lavandin

The three types of adulteration we see most often are: 1) lavender and lavandin oil spiked with synthetics, 2) lavandin sold as lavender oil and 3) lavender oil stretched with solvents. Lavandin ( L. intermedia ), also known as Dutch lavender, is a sterile hybrid of L. angustifolia and L. latifolia (spike lavender). Lavandin oil is chemically different from lavender oil and is used in perfumery, crafting and in aromatherapy (although its aromatherapy benefits are different than lavender). The most common (and most difficult to detect) adulteration is to take lavandin oil and boost the aroma profile by adding synthetic linalool and linalyl acetate to make it smell more like lavender. The second most prevalent adulteration is to simply sell lavandin as lavender. Because of the differences in aroma profile, this ploy is one an educated “nose” can detect. Stretching true lavender oil by adding solvents isn’t easily detected by the aroma, but is immediately apparent with GC analysis.

 
Why is Aura Cacia committed to selling true lavender oil?

The FDA has made it clear that selling lavandin oil or adulterated lavender oil as true lavender oil constitutes adulteration and mislabeling. As a matter of both law and integrity, Aura Cacia is determined to stay in stock with 100% pure and natural lavender oil that offers true aromatherapy benefits. Years of commerce with the top essential oil suppliers and a reputation for quality leadership backed by rigorous testing give us a significant advantage purchasing pure oil in this environment.

How do we ensure Aura Cacia lavender oil is unadulterated?

In order to avoid purchasing lavender oil that is really lavandin oil or lavandin oil spiked with synthetic versions of the sweet-smelling linalool and linalyl acetate constituents, the Aura Cacia Quality Department analyzes samples with a series of scientific tests, including gas chromatography (GC), chiral GC (a specific GC analysis to determine the presence of synthetic compounds), refractive index, specific gravity, and optical rotation. The chart below shows how GC analysis is used to distinguish between pure lavender oil and ( ) lavandin oil, ( ) lavandin oil spiked with synthetic linalool and linalyl acetate and ( ) lavender stretched with the solvent dipropylene glycol. Specifications for the pure lavender show the industry-accepted ranges; the adulterated values are actual readings from GC tests done in our lab on oils labeled as lavender.

 
Pure Lavender
(1) Lavandin
(2) Lavandin with Synthetics
(3) Lavender with Solvents
Camphor (GC) Max. 1.5% 3.5% 2.5%
R-(-)-linalool (chiral GC analysis) align=”left”>90% 72%
S-(+)-linalool (chiral GC analysis) 10% 28%
R-(-)-linalyl acetate (chiral GC analysis)
99%
80%
S-(+)-linalyl acetate (chiral GC analysis) 1% 20%
Dipropylene glycol (GC) 0% 15%

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Charlena Edge

Charlena Edge

Hi, welcome to my humble abode! I’m Charlena, wife, mother of two, pet mommy, full-time worker, sporadic crafter, former floral designer, trial and error gardener, future chicken owner, and wanna be farmer. I have a Master’s degree in Therapeutic Herbalism. In between my disjointed, seemingly unrelated posts, I hope to share some of what I’ve learned. Thanks for stopping by!

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