For thousands of years, one of the many uses for lavender has been for purification. In fact, the word lavender literally means “to be washed” or “to wash”. During World War I lavender was widely used as an antiseptic. It was also used to treat wounds and burns. Like with many plants, there are many different species of lavender. Some are more suited for certain applications than others. (Kind of like people!) For example, three of the most common species of lavender are Lavandula angustifolia (“true lavender”), Lavandula latifolia (“spike lavender”), and lavandin (Lavandula x hybrida). Lavandin is a hybrid plant developed by crossing true lavender with spike lavender. Lavender, in general, is antiseptic. Lavandin, however, has a higher percentage of the molecule camphor which makes it a stronger antiseptic than the others. It has been used to sterilize animal cages in veterinary clinics and hospitals throughout Europe.
A side note is because of the higher level of camphor, lavandin is NOT suited for treating burns. Frequently, lavender essential oil sold in the United States is actually distilled from the hybrid lavandin. The 5 – 12% camphor content in lavandin would actually irritate a burn instead of take the pain away and assisting healing as would Lavender angustifolia. The reason why I mention this is that sometimes well intentioned people have heard that lavender is good for burns, so they get some at their local healthfood store. When applied to the burn, it actually made it worse. What happened?! The lavender in the bottle was likely the hybrid lavandin!
Lavandin has its good points. It is in a blend that I love called Purification. This antiseptic blend is great for cleaning and deodorizing. I have even eradicated a few pimples by using Purification on location. I would never consider Purification for a burn. It is also in the blend Release. Young Living does not sell Lavandin as a single oil. The lavender that we carry is from the Lavandula angustifolia species.
Antiseptic Essential Oils:
Single Oils: Thyme, clove, oregano, rosemary, tea tree, mountain savory, eucalyptus (all types), lavandin, cinnamon, cassia, ravensara
Blends: Purification, Melrose, Christmas Spirit, Thieves, ImmuPower, Raven, RC