There are about 25-30 different species of lavender belonging to the Labiatae family and we only use a few of these. French lavender oil (Lavandula angustifolia) comes from Provence. Lavendin oil (Lavandula hybrida) comes from a hybrid plant, developed by crossing true lavender and lavender spike.
Lavender oil is the most versatile essential oil. It is obtained from the flowering tops of the plants by steam distillation. It is used medicinally for burns, sunburn, muscular pain, skin complaints, cold sores, and insect bites.
Lavender is often used to calm the mind, aid restful sleep and as a relaxing oil.
Lavender may also help heal damaged skin. An early 20th century French chemist, Rene Maurice Gattefosse, once burnt his arm during an experiment and accidentally put it in a vat of pure lavender oil, thinking it was a vat of cool water. He was later amazed at how quickly his skin healed and how little scarring was left. As a result, Maurice became extremely interested in the properties of essential oils and studied the topic more deeply. He is credited as