BAPP Publishes New Bulletin on English Lavender Oil

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Sunrise and dramatic clouds over Lavender Field

Austin, TX—The ABC-AHP-NCNPR Botanical Adulterants Prevention Program (BAPP) has announced the publication of a new Botanical Adulterants Prevention Bulletin (BAPB) on oil of English lavender, also known as common lavender.

English lavender oil is obtained by the distillation of the flowering tops of Lavandula angustifolia, a shrub in the mint family native to the Mediterranean area, according to a press release. The oil is widely used to help with anxiety and promote restful sleep, and has been shown to be safe and efficacious in published clinical trials.

Due to the high cost of English lavender essential oil, substitution with other, lower-cost species of Lavandula has been reported. One of the most frequently mentioned adulterants is lavandin oil, although the press release notes that lavandin is regarded as an acceptable substitute by some international authorities. Another type of adulteration includes the undeclared addition of other essential oils or oil fractions rich in the compound linalool, such as eucalyptus and white camphor oil fractions. The final type of adulteration mentioned is admixture of undisclosed purified or synthetic components or non-volatile diluents.

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The bulletin was authored by Ezra Bejar, Ph.D., an expert in medicinal plant research, and was peer-reviewed by 25 experts with expertise in lavender oil from academia, contract analytical laboratories, consulting services, trade organizations, and the botanical and essential oil industries, the press release says. The bulletin includes information regarding the production and market importance of English lavender oil, a review of the available literature on adulteration, data on adulteration frequency, and analytical approaches to detect adulterants.

Stefan Gafner, Ph.D., Chief Science Officer of the nonprofit American Botanical Council (ABC) and BAPP technical director, said in the press release: “Over the course of my tenure at ABC, several lavender growers and lavender oil manufacturers have raised concerns about the presence of relatively low-cost, adulterated materials in the marketplace. We hope that this new bulletin will be a useful educational resource for everyone with interest in the quality of lavender oil.”

Mark Blumenthal, ABC Founder and Executive Director and Director of BAPP, added: “There has been a surge in interest in the United States and worldwide in the personal and household uses of essential oils, with lavender being one of the most popular. The existing scientific literature and BAPP’s new research indicate that a significant amount of what is sold as ‘lavender oil’ in the marketplace is adulterated with undisclosed, lower-cost ingredients. As in all cases of botanical ingredient adulteration, industrial buyers are urged to employ significant caution and robust analytical methods to determine the proper identity and authenticity of material being considered for purchase for use in finished products.”

All bulletins and reports are available for free.

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