How I fell in love with lavender
I promised to tell you more about my beautiful discovery during our trip to Avignon, about a fine lavender shop where I learned things I never heard before and fell in love with this plant.
Ok, everybody knows what is lavender and probably when you hear “Provence” you imagine endless purple colored lavender fields. But do you know the difference between lavender and lavandine? That was the question the saleswoman (a girl actually) asked me when I entered Le château du bois store in Avignon. I’ve never heard about this brand before, but later I got to know that The Lincelè family produce and distill fine lavender for many generations since 1890 at «Le Château du Bois» estate in Provence. On their website you can read all about the history of the brand, the concept, the producing and distilling process, their products and cosmetics. Everything is very interesting indeed! But let me briefly share with you what I learned about the difference between lavenders.
So, generally speaking, there are 3 types.
The most ancient one and authentic is Fine lavender, botanical name lavandula angustifolia, or lavandula vera, or lavandula officinalis. Fine lavender comes from Provence and grows only at high altitudes, between 800 and 1500 meters. Lavender flowery stems are short, without offshoots and carry floral ears the aspect of which varies in shape as well as color. The people of Provence call it true lavender, referring to its exceptional medicinal benefits.
lavandula spica, lavandula latifolia
Spike lavender grows on scrubland between an altitude of 0 and 600 metres. Spike lavender is a tall plant with several ramifications and has too strong camphor scent, that’s why it’s little used in France and mostly used in Spain and Portugal to dilute oil paint and porcelain paint.
lavandula hybrida, lavandula x intermedia
Lavandine is a tall plant with two ramifications and grows all over the world. Lavandine is a hybrid, a cross between lavandula angustifolia and lavandula latifolia made possible by pollinators, in particular bees. It’s sterile and in order to reproduce the plant the technique of clone cuttings was developed, which allows rapid growth of lavandine crops. If you take a look at the lavandine fields you’ll see unnaturally regular fields unlike the irregular and disparate lavender ones, because lavandines are simply clones! funny:)
This is maybe too much encyclopedic information, but I was really impressed when the girl told me all of this and showed me the plants of lavender and lavandine. That moment I thought “Which oil do I have at home and been using all this time?!” I realized I’ve never read the botanical names of the ingredients on oil bottles but always trusted the labels, hmm.. The problem is that the quality of lavandine oil, of course, is by far inferior to that of fine lavender, although its cost is more attractive. Lavandine has stronger smell and largely used in fragrance and in industry, in cleaning products and detergents.
When I felt the smell of lavender oil there in the shop I suddenly got the difference, lavender scent is much more delicate.
Well, call it the marketing trap or whatever, but I believe in plants power and couldn’t not to take a bottle of pure lavender essential oil and I’m happy I did! I’ve already had the chance to try the magical properties of this ancient plant.
I use 2 drops (on temples) against headache and tiredness and it helps less than in 5 minutes. You can also use 2 to 3 drops on your pillow to fight insomnia or take an anti stress bath with 5-6 drops of oil.
Lavender also disinfects and heals cuts and burns, fights infection and relieves pain. Isn’t it a wonderful natural substitution to many drugs and painkillers? This is a rhetorical question:) I’m not advertising or convincing, just sharing my thoughts, because I really fell in love with lavender, fine lavender!
I’ll be very happy to hear from you if you have any experience of using lavender oil or other essential oils in your home, let’s share!
Oh yes, and while being in France I crocheted some lavender stems:)