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What’s in a name?

Quite a lot when it comes to essential oils! As a student clinical aromatherapist, one of the first things I was taught was to only buy essential oils that had the Latin name as well as the common one, but why? Many essential oils have at least one, sometimes several common names. Immortelle may also be known as helichrysum or everlasting and its Latin name is helichrysum italicum. Some essential oils go by as many as 5 common names, however it doesn’t stop here. Let’s take a plant like eucalyptus of which there are over 600 different types. I typically have up to 5 types in my practice at any given time, they are all subtlety and chemically different and all have different names e.g. Eucalyptus globulus, Eucalyptus radiata, Eucalyptus citriodora, Eucalyptus staigeriana, and Eucalyptus smithi.  There are also many different types of lavender. It is a mistake to think lavender is an essential oil that can be used for everything and everyone, as certain lavenders must not be used in pregnancy, with children or with some medical conditions. All sounds a bit complicated doesn’t it?   You simply don’t know which one you have unless you have the Latin name on the label.

All reputable suppliers will provide the Latin name on the bottle and should also state that this is 100% essential oil. The term ‘therapeutic grade’ is nothing more than marketing so don’t worry about that! In the meantime, enjoy your essential oils.

These blogs and any associated recipes are for education purposes only. Do not use essential oils without consulting a trained aromatherapist, especially if you have any medical conditions, are taking medication or are using with babies, children and the elderly. Please do not take essential oils internally or add to the skin undiluted. Please read introductory texts on the subject that explain safe and appropriate dilution.  Essential Oil Safety by Robert Tisserand and Rodney Young (2014) provides very detailed in depth safety information.

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