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Essential oils, their Names and more!

by Penny Keay

Ever wonder how essential oils got their name? Well there is more to the name of an essential oil than most people are aware of.

Daily we receive inquiries about essential oils. Most folks just ask by using their common name, such as Lavender, Orange, Geranium or Eucalyptus, etc.

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In the practice of Aromatherapy and particularly therapeutic aromatherapy you need to know a little more information.

So, when we are asked if we can find Immortelle, for example, we really need more information.

First thing, Immortelle or Everlasting is one of the old, common names for Helichrysum but what botanical name is it.

Botanical or Latin names are the names given to plants and animals by the scientific community. Often times they were given the name of the person that first discovered them. Yep, they get to name them, the variety or sub species may also be included.

The correct term used in the naming of plants is “Botanical Taxonomy”. When used in written materials, ideally, the Botanical name should be shown in italics.

The common name in regular type. Such as Lavender. It is just a common name. When speaking (writing) about a specific species then you should use Lavandula angustifolia.

Upon looking in our references, we find that Helichrysum “Immortelle” is not a species name. But Helichrysum “Immortelle” could be Helichrysum angustifolia, Helichrysum italicum, Helichrysum arenarium just to name a few different species.

So next, we need to know even more. Are you looking for the essential oil from a specific country?

Again, many essential oils can come from many different countries. Some essential oils are better when they are produced in certain countries. Helichrysum italicum from Corsica & Italy is considered some of the best in the world.

Lavandula angustifolia is produced in many countries. Bulgaria, France and the United States. Again, depending on the usage you might want Lavandula angustifolia. from one of these countries specifically.

Lavandula angustifolia from Bulgaria, we feel will give you better therapeutic results, Lavandula angustifolia from France is great when used for scenting personal care products.

What part of the plant the essential oil is extracted from and was it steam distilled, hydro distilled or is it an absolute? Again, all important questions when asking about essential oils.

Most information about the essential oils available should contain the following on their bottle labels.

Common Name: Thyme, White
Botanical or Latin Name: Thymus vulgaris
Chemo type (ct) if relevant: ct Linalol
Country of Origin: France
Part used: Whole Plant
Extraction Method: Steam Distilled

In conclusion, when you are using essential oils it is helpful to know not only the common names but also the botanical name.

Even though they may have similar common names, the botanical name can better identify an essential oil. It can be more specific since some species will have different properties and will produce different results than that of an a commonly named essential oil

A quick example here would be the Eucalyptus oils. Some are better at pain relief Eucalyptus globulus or Eucalyptus polybractea (Eucalyptus Blue Mallee), others at congestion Eucalyptus globulus and Eucalyptus radiata , or for insect repellent Eucalyptus citriodora commonly called Eucalyptus Lemon and yet there are others that are better around children Eucalyptus radiata.

So that which we call a "Rose will smell just as sweet" when we call it by Rosa Damascena !!  (The most common Rose Essential oil.). But then again, what about the other rose species? Hmmmm!

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© 2016 Penny Keay All rights reserved Worldwide.
Please do not use my information without my permission.

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