As an aromatherapist, I will sometimes refer to the oils I use by their common name such as, “Lavender” and sometimes by their Latin or botanical name e.g. “Lavendula Angustifolia.” Or broad leaved Lavender. The latter is much more precise and defines which of the many lavender species is being referred to. Yet this isn’t always enough, there is, “High altitude Lavender.” This has markedly different chemical make up and therapeutic properties from the same grown at sea level. This does not imply that one is necessarily better or worse than the other, just different.
Sometimes even the Latin name is not sufficient. The wild carrot has the same botanical name as the domesticated version that we eat though most seeing the two roots together would not recognise them as the same plant. (It is fair to assume that if, “wild carrot” is not specified then it is the seed of the culinary variety that is being sold. Again the two have very different chemical make ups and therapeutic properties.
There are many other words used by aromatherapists and oil suppliers. These include, pure, natural, organic and many others. Some have specific legal meanings but do not always imply quality. It is possible to have poor quality organic or wild crafted oils that are not as good as some made with conventional farming practices. This may be due to the particular season, the distilling process or many other factors. This also means that high quality oils will vary in price from season to season. There are around eight or ten high quality suppliers in UK that I am aware of from whom I have always gotten high quality oils from though even there, sometimes for a particular oil one supplier will excel over the others.
I only use certified organic or wild crafted oils from sustainable resources and stick to just a few of the high quality suppliers that I know of here in UK, one of which is conveniently located close to my Cambridge practice!
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