Maria Fiordalisi

3 Reasons to Always Use the Botanical Name with Essential Oils

Essential oils are everywhere. And if you use them, using them safely, effectively and responsibly is important.

Here are 3 reasons to always use the botanical names when referring to and shopping for essential oils:

1. To Avoid Confusion

Every essential oil has a Botanical name and a common name. Most people will refer to the common name. This becomes a problem when different plants share the same common name. For example, Lavender. There are many types of Lavender essential oil that have a different chemistry, aroma and therapeutic properties. Add to that – different safety considerations.

Using the botanical name, aka latin name, will give you the exact plant and name of the oil we are talking about.

2. For Safety & Therapeutic Reasons

Let’s stick with Lavender. Did you know there are over 70 species of Lavender? Let’s looks at two, (True) Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) and Spike Lavender (Lavandula latifolia).  There are significant chemical differences between these two Lavenders. Both contain linalool which provides that calming and sedating feeling but it’s the differences that are interesting.

Lavandula angustifolia contains a significant percentage of ester and linalyl acetate and is great for the nervous system, has amazing skin healing properties and can be helpful to relieve muscular aches and pains.

Lavandula latifolia contains a much higher amount of camphor and 1,8 cineole and is my go-to essential oil when I’m blending to clear up respiratory issues such as congestion and coughs or when I want a stronger blend for muscular aches and inflammation.

Both are Lavender, both have excellent therapeutic properties but I would use these oils at very different times.

3. For Conservation

Sadly, some essential oil bearing plants and trees are endangered or are close to being endangered. As the use of essential oils increases it is our responsibility to be aware and understand what we are supporting and consuming. Essential oils are precious!

Some of the more popular endangered plants/trees include:

Palo Santo (Bursea graveolens)

Juniper Berry (Juniperus communis)

Spikenard (Nardostachys jatamansi or syn. N. grandiflora)

Sandalwood (Santalum album)

Atlas Cedarwood (Cedrus antlantica)

Rosewood (Aniba rosaeodora)

I’m constantly learning and striving to give the best service. If you need help choosing the right essential oils for you or are looking to learn more please let me know. I provide full-service aromatherapy consultations and hold beginner aromatherapy workshops several times a year. I’m here to help!