Spontaneous vs cultivated lavender – differences and therapeutic benefits for the skin

Dr. Pharm. Ioana-Adina Oancea harvesting spontaneous lavender
Dr. Pharm. Ioana-Adina Oancea harvesting spontaneous lavender

Plant characterization

 

Spontaneous lavender or Lavandula officinalis (synonym of Lavandula angustifolia) can grow up to 1 m high and presents purple blue flowers. In countries such as France or Italy, lavender is one of the most precious plants as it is used in perfume making and as a decorative plant. Throughout history, spontaneous lavender used to be namedherba nardusby the Greeks, ornard, coming from the name of Naard city. The plant is also mentioned in king Solomon’ canticle as one of the holy herbs used in the biblical temple to heal the body and prepare the holly essence. The miracle of this plant does not only stand in its divine energy but also in its biochemical composition. Spontaneous lavender is widely spread in the Romanian Subcarpathian areas, in gardens and next to forests. From my studies, I realized that the plant is not very demanding but has a sensitive biochemical composition. The flowers release a fresh, slightly minty and camphor-like fragrance, that differs from the scent of cultivated lavender. It starts blooming in June and is surprisingly tall.

Cultivated lavender or Lavandula officinalis (synonym: Lavandula angustifolia) is a crawling shrub part of the Lamiaceae family that adores moderate temperatures. This Mediterranean species originates from India and southern Europe. The aromatic and medicinal herb looks like a shrub of 30 to 50 cm high, with small, narrow leaves, and fragrant blue-violet flowers. In Romania it is cultivated and blooming all summer. The aerial parts contain the largest amount of active biological compounds and consists of the flowers that are detached from the stem or of all the flowers if not in full bloom.

Harvesting

 

We harvested spontaneously growing lavender in the last week of June from our own land in the Buzau county Subcarpathian area. I was surprised to see that despite the drought, this species did grow although on smaller areas. I had waited and searched for it quite a long time util I managed to gather that glorious bouquet you see in the picture. As for cultivated lavender, we harvested it at the beginning of Jun, in the first two weeks of the month, from our own farmed land in Topraisar, Constanța county. This years’ drought was visible in this case too. The crop did not reach its potential but I learned to appreciate each stem growing on Romanian soil.

Chemical composition

 

The main compounds of this plant are tricyclene, linalool, borneol, camphor, camphene, eucalyptol, a-pinene, b-pinene, a-tujen, b-phellandrene, myrcene, sabinene, limonene, lavendulan, terpineol, a-bisoprololand b-caryophyllene.

 

Pharmacological effects

Both plants have an antiseptic effect at pulmonary level and are part of whooping cough treatments. They also have diuretic, sudorific, tonic cardiovascular, vermifuge and hypotensive effects. They are used in treating migraine, melancholy, neurasthenia, hysteria, asthma, paralysis sequelae and cystitis. At external level, lavender extracts are used on any kind of wound, gangrenes, insect bites and help treating snake bites (through massage in order to neutralize the venom). In specific dosages, the essential oil inhibits TB bacilli, destroys hemolytic staphylococcus (that results in streptococcic pharyngitis) and pneumococcus (a germ part of the normal flora our superior respiratory ways) within 24 hours or even faster.

Spontaneous and cultivated lavender in the beauty industry

 

Both plants are therapeutic and we use them in our lab in various cosmetic formulas intended for dry, sensitive or combination skin. They play a huge part in hydrating, reinvigorating, and regenerating the epidermal tissue and de-tensioning collagen fibers. At the same time, lavender extracts have healing, antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties.You can read about Careless Beauty dermato-cosmetic formulas that include these plants.Simply press search (click on the magnifying glass and type lavandula officinalis) on https://www.carelessbeauty.ro/lavandula officinalis”.

Other studies

 

According to literature, other researchers have confirmed that Lavandula angustifolia, also known as lavender, is an aromatic and medicinal herb growing everywhere in the world.[Hajhashemi și colab., 2003; Cavanagh and Wilkinson, 2002]. Scientists have looked into the essential oil and confirmed its therapeutic features, carminative, anti-flatulent, and colic relief effects.

Aromatherapy also uses this oil for its relaxing action. Further research found that lavender oil acts as a depressant of the central nervous system, anticonvulsant, sedative, spasmolytic, anesthetic local, antioxidant, antibacterial and inhibitor of of mass cell degranulation [Cavanagh and Wilkinson, 2002; Kim and Lee, 2002; Lis-Balchin and Hart, 1999; Ghelardini and colab., 1999; Hohmann and colab., 1999; Tisserand, 1985].

The antiparasitic activity of Lavandula angustifolia leaves’ essential oil against Giardia duodenalis, Trichomonas vaginalis and Hexamita inflata was also explored (Moon and colab., 2006) together with its’ antischistosomiasis effect (action against infections with certain parasites), as detailed in a study published in the Brazilian Journal of Pharmacognosy 23(2013), pages 877-884, by a team of researchers led by André L.L. Mantovani.