LAVENDER (Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia), Spike lavender (Lavandula latifolia), Lavandin (hybrid of L. angustifolia and L. latifolia))
Names: True lavender, garden lavender, or narrow-leaved lavender (L. angustifolia), broad-leaved lavender, Portuguese lavender and aspic lavender (L. latifolia)
Botany: Lavenders are aromatic evergreen sub-shrubs with linear or lance-shaped leaves. It grows up to 0.9 m high. They are native to the Mediterranean region, but are cultivated elsewhere (France is the major producer). The parts used are the fresh flowering tops from which the essential oils are obtained by steam distillation and extracts by solvent extraction.
Biochemistry: Lavender contains 0.5-1.5% volatile oil, tannin, coumarins, flavonoids (e.g. luteolin), triterpenoids (e.g. ursolic acid), and others.
Lavender oil has been reported to contain more than 100 components, including linalool, linalyl acetate, lavandulyl acetate, and others. It contains high concentrations of linalyl acetate but only traces of 1.8-cineole and camphor, while spike lavender oil contains large amounts of 1.8-cineole and camphor with only small amounts of linalyl acetate. The linalool concentration is usually higher in spike lavender oil than in lavender oil.
Lavandin is reported to have a higher volatile oil content than lavender and spike lavender. Due to its hybrid nature, the composition of its essential oil is much more variable than either of its parents.
Ursolic acid, also known as urson, prunol, micromerol and malol, is a pentacyclic triterpenoid compound that naturally occurs in lavender and many other plants. Ursolic acid and its alkali salts (potassium or sodium ursolates) were formerly used as emulsifying agents in cosmetic preparations. Its anti-inflammatory, anti-tumour (skin cancer), and antimicrobial properties make it useful in cosmetic applications. Ursolic acid may be of relevance in hair tonics to encourage hair growth.
Lavandula angustifolia essential oil, Lavender
Lavandula latifolia essential oil. Lavender, Spike
Lavandin, abrialis - is a lavender oil derived from a hybrid plant that combines the properties of Aspic and true lavender.
Lavandulin, grosso - is a hybrid between L. Officinalis and L. Latifolia and has a more herbaceous smell (some would say harsher) than some lavenders.
Lavandulin, sumian - is hybrid lavender which is camphoraceous with a stimulating woodiness. It is more rounded and smoother than some lavandins.
Lavender oil has been reported to have anti-microbial (anti-bacterial, anti-fungal) and anti-parasitic activities.
Lavandula angustifolia essential oil, Lavender oil
A few drops in a foot bath can relieve fatigue. Applied to the body it will act as a strong stimulant and may relieve various neuralgic pains, sprains and rheumatism, while in France it is used to treat painful bruises.
Lavandula latifolia essential oil, Spike lavender oil
It yields a higher quality of the oil but is perhaps inferior in odour. The oil has all properties associated with lavenders.
Lavandin, abrialis - is said to be more effective than any of the other lavender types in reducing skin redness. Good for muscle aches and sprains and said to improve skin circulation.
Lavandulin, grosso - has the same skin calming properties as all lavenders.
Lavandulin, sumian - the soft oil has the same calming properties associated with lavenders.
All types of lavender products (especially essential oils) are used as a fragrance ingredients (some extensively) in cosmetic products, including soaps, detergents, creams, lotions, and perfumes (e.g., lavender waters and other colognes), spike lavender oil being more extensively used in soaps and detergents. The maximum use levels in perfumes are respectively 1.2, 1.0, and 0.8% reported for lavandin oil, lavender absolute, and spike lavender oil.
Lavender is irritating to skin and eyes. May cause sensitisation by skin contact.
Available data from one source indicate spike lavender oil, lavandin oil, and lavender absolute to be non-irritating and non-sensitizing to human skin, though lavender absolute has been reported elsewhere as a sensitizer. No human phototoxicity data were reported.
One source reports that the oil cause dermatitis and that more toxicological studies are needed.
Not assessed for safety in cosmetics by the industry panel.
LEMON OIL (AND LEMON PETITGRAIN OIL) (Citrus limon)
Botany: Citrus limon is a small evergreen tree with very fragrant flowers and stiff thorns, which can grow up to 6 m high.
Parts used are the peel as well as the leaves and twigs together with undeveloped fruits.
Products: Lemon oil is produced from the leaves and twigs, sometimes including undeveloped small fruits by steam distillation. Lemon oil contains about 90% monoterpene hydrocarbons, composed mainly of limonene (ca. 70%), with lesser amounts of γ-terpinene, β-pinene, sabinene, α-pinene, and myrcene; 2-6% aldehydes (mainly citral, neral and geranial); alcohols and esters (linalool, geraniol, etc.); small amounts of sequiterpene; waxes; and 0.41%-0.87% coumarin.
Some components in the waxes have been reported to have antioxidant properties.
Used as a fragrance ingredient in soaps, detergents, creams, lotions, and perfumes. Lemon petitgrain oil is used in creams, lotions, and perfumes.
Citrus medica limonum essential oil
Refreshing, revitalizing and stimulating. This oil is used wherever a fresh and invigorating property is needed in foam baths, shower gels or massage oils. Lemon oil is stimulating, calming, carminative, astringent, detoxifying, antiseptic, disinfectant, sleep inducing and has antifungal properties.
Lemon oil has been reported to have phototoxic effects, most likely due to its coumarins.
Lemon petitgrain oil is non-irritating, non-sensitising and non-phototoxic to human skin.
LEMON GRASS (Cymbopogon citratus and C. flexuosus)
Botany: Cymbopogon citratus and C. flexuosus are perennial grasses both native to tropical Asia. C. Citrates is known as West Indian lemongrass and is cultivated in the tropics worldwide (major producers are Guatemala, Madagascar, Brazil, Malaysia, the Comoro Islands and Vietnam. C. flexuosus is known as cochin, East Indian, or British Indian lemongrass and has similar properties to C. Citrates. C. Flexuosus is cultivated mainly in western India and nearby countries. Leaf blades are linear, long, attenuated toward the base tapering upward to a long setaceous point ca. 90 x 0.6 cm, glaceous green more or less smooth, less rough upward. Parts used are the freshly cut and partially dried leaves of cultivated plants.
Products: Volatile (essential) oil is obtained by steam distillation of freshly cut and partially dried leaves. It has anti-microbial properties, especially against Gram-positive bacteria and fungi. It has analgesic, antinociceptive, and antioxidant properties. The antioxidant activity is displayed by some components such as citral and phenolic constituents.
C. citrates usually contains 0.2-0.4% volatile oil and C. Flexuosus about 0.5%. The oils contain citral as the major component (C. citrates contains about 65-85% and C. Flexuosus about 70-85%).
Cymbopogon citratus essential oil
Lemongrass oil is an excellent general skin tonic and antiseptic, with a lemony aroma. It is also believed to soothe fevers, and to help relieve migraine. It is said to normalise overactive oil glands, and is therefore good for acne and open pores.
Lemongrass oil (especially C. citratus) is used extensively as a fragrance component in soaps and detergents. It is also used in creams, lotions, and perfumes, with maximum use level of 0.7% reported for both types of oil in perfumes.
Available data from one source indicate the oil to be mildly to moderately irritating to the skin of experimental animals but non-irritating and non-sensitising to human skin. Its phototoxicity on human skin has not been determined.
Citral has been reported to produce sensitization reactions in humans when applied alone but to produce no such reactions when applied as a mixture with other compounds.
LEMON BALM (MELISSA) (Melissa officinalis)
Names: Balm, Lemon Balm, Melissa, Balm mint, Bee Balm, Blue Balm, Cure-All, Dropsy Plant, Garden Balm, and Sweet Balm.
Botany: An aromatic perennial herb with yellowish or white flowers, growing up to approximately 1 m in height, mostly in the Mediterranean region, western Asia, SW Siberia and northern Africa. It is widely cultivated. Parts used are the dried leaves often with flowering tops.
History and/or folklore: The lemon scent attracts the bees, hence the Greek name Melissa for “bee.” This was the favoured herb of the great medicinal herbalist Paracelsus, who sold the remedy to kings as an elixir of life. The plant is said to safeguard against early senility and impotency. The Arabs loved this plant and extracted a pungent oil, from which they made a perfume. It is a well-known monastery herb, and monks and nuns use it to prepare a fragrant cologne and healing salves.
Melissa officinalis botanical extract:
Melissa officinalis Leaf Extract is an extract of the leaves and tops of the balm mint, Melissa officinalis.
Melissa officinalis essential oil:
An essential oil is obtained from dried leaves and flowering tops by steam distillation. It is probably one of the most frequently adulterated essential oil.
Biochemistry: The major characteristic constituents are hydroxycinnamic acids (rosmarinic [up to 6%], p coumaric, caffeic and chlorogenic acids), and an essential oil (0.02-0.37%) composed of more than 40% monoterpenes and more than 35% sesquiterpenes. The most significant terpenoid components are citral (a mixture of the isomers neral and geranial), citronellal, geraniol, nerol, linalool, farnesyl acetate, humulene (α-caryophyllene), β-caryophyllene and eremophilene. Other constituents include flavonoids, tannins and acidic triterpenes (e.g. ursolic and oleanolic acids).
Melissa officinalis botanical extract
Traditional use: Historically Melissa was used for sores, insect bites and to aid soothing in creams and lotions. Melissa is used externally for the treatment of wounds, rheumatism, headaches and abscesses.
It is classified as Skin Conditioning Agent – Occlusive. Melissa officinalis leaf extract offers soothing, antiseptic, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. It is used in skin care.
It is used as a component in perfumes, and is commonly used in lip balms. Leaf extract is useful for bath preparations and for skin care applications for blemished and sensitive skin.
Melissa officinalis essential oil
It can be used in creams or lotions as it is useful to fight fungal infections, and to check blood flow from wounds. In some quarters it is used to counteract baldness and hair loss.
Melissa officinalis essential oil
Xi - Irritant
Irritating to skin and eyes
May cause sensitisation by skin contact.
Avoid contact with skin and eyes.
Melissa is extremely potent and should be used with caution. Melissa oil is non-toxic but could cause sensitization and irritation and should always be used in low dilutions. Melissa oil may cause an allergic reaction in some individuals, because of the high aldehyde content.
There is a concentration restriction in the fragrance compound. This applies to the supply of fragrance compounds (formulas) only, not to the finished products in the market place.
LIME (LIME OIL) (Citrus aurantifolia)
Botany: Lime is an evergreen tree of the genus Citrus (family Rutaceae) with stiff sharp spines. It grows up to about 4.5 m high. The leaves are medium sized, ovate, bluntly pointed, at tips, rounded to cuneate at base. Flowers are large and fragrant. Fruits are small, oval to round, with a thin rind. If they ripen on the tree, the fruits are golden-brown to slightly orange colour, but normally the fruits are collected when they are green and are more tasty and juicy. Slices are very fragrant with a sour taste, as they contain up to 6% citric acid. While all other citrus trees are subtropical crops, the lime tree is a real tropical tree, native to southern Asia (Malaysia and India). Today it is cultivated mainly in Southeast Asia, south Florida, Central America (Mexico) and the West Indies (e.g. Cuba).
The parts used are the fresh peel of the green unripe fruit, or the whole crushed fruit.
History and/or folklore: The rind of immature fruit, beaten into a pulp, may be applied to the eyelids to cure sore eyes. The juice was used as an antiseptic by the Creoles of the Antilles. Arexa (Waimiri Atroari), a drink made from fruits, is recognised as a cold cure. The Wayapi Indians of French Guiana rub the mashed leaves on the forehead for headaches.
Lime (as with other citric fruits) is an antiscorbutic. ‘Limey’, an old slang nickname for the British, originally referring to their sailors, is believed to derive from the practice of the Royal Navy and Merchant Navy of supplying lime juice to British sailors to prevent scurvy.
Biochemistry: Distilled lime oil contains large amount of terpene hydrocarbons (e.g. δ-limonene), oxygenated compounds (citral, terpineol, cineol, and linalool), and germacrene B (and important fragrance component with a sweet, wood-spicy, geranium like note).
Expressed (cold-pressed) lime oils contain similar constituents as the distilled oil, but also anthranilates and substituted coumarins (such as limettin and bergapten).
Citrus aurantifolia essential oil – Lime oil
Lime oil is obtained by cold expression (expressed lime oil) of fresh peel of the green unripe fruit, or steam distillation of the whole crushed fruit, or juice of the crushed fruit (distilled lime oil). Centrifuged lime oil is obtained by centrifuging the pulp and the mixture of the fruit in high speed centrifuge thus separating the oil from the pulp.
Lime oil acts like lemon and other citrus oils. It has antiscorbutic activity and it is a refrigerant. Lime juice is a traditional source of vitamin C but limes are used more as a flavouring than medicinally.
Citrus aurantifolia essential oil
Rich in essential fatty acids, lime oil gives emollient and protective properties to skin care products. The aroma enhances and enlivens the mood, energizes and can help relieve fatigue and stimulate mental activity and memory. Lime oil is extensively used in food flavouring.
The expressed oil is used as fragrance components and fixatives (coumarins). It is used in creams, lotions, soaps, detergents, perfumes and massage oils at a maximum level of 1.5 %.
Lime oil has a mosquito repellent effect that lasts up to 5 hours; it also has insecticidal activity against mosquitoes, cockroaches and houseflies.
Do not use lime oil on the skin in direct sunlight; however, if essential oil of lime is distilled rather than expressed, then it does not have a phototoxic effect.