Did you know there are over 45 species of lavender? Each one is unique, with its own distinct floral aroma and therapeutic benefits. While lavender is usually associated with relaxation, some species are actually energizing. Some are great for pain relief, while others are excellent for supporting open breathing. How can all these lavenders be so different? It’s because each species has its own unique chemistry.
Let’s compare two of the most popular species of the lavender plant:
“True” lavender: Lavandula angustifolia vs. Spike lavender: Lavandula latifolia
True lavender essential oil
“True” lavender (usually just called “lavender”) is famed for its relaxing properties.
Research shows it can profoundly calm the nervous system while also soothing physical tension, such as achy muscles and joints. Its scent is floral, sweet, and relaxing.
Lavender oil is versatile—a true “powerhouse” essential oil! Along with helping you relax and sleep, lavender is especially potent in blends to repair the skin. Use it for daily skin health, or if you have acne, sun damage, mature skin, or even acutely sore, tender issues. It is particularly great to use for sensitive skin, especially when applied topically in a carrier oil like coconut oil or jojoba oil.
Lavender is also a kid-friendly essential oil with no known safety issues. We recommend using it with children five years or older. (New to essential oil safety when using oils with children? Take a minute and read our blog "Essential oils and kids: what you need to know" to ensure you're blending essential oils safely)
Lavender essential oil benefits include:
- Relax & improve sleep
- Soothe irritation and promote healthy skin
- Relieve stress
- Reduce inflammation
- Calm redness & acne
Spike lavender essential oil
Spike lavender essential oil is more energizing.
While it does soothe tension in muscles (like true lavender essential oil), spike lavender essential oil also perks up your mental and physical energy so you feel more alert. Its scent has crisp, energizing notes that may remind you of eucalyptus.
Spike lavender can bring more energy to your head and deepen your breath. It also has strong antioxidant properties. Use it in blends to cleanse skin, clean your home naturally and make it smell great, and boost immunity during cold season.
Spike lavender essential oil is too strong for babies and children under 10 years old. Pregnant women and people with asthma should use spike lavender essential oil with caution. These safety factors are due to the presence of strong components like 1,8-cineole and camphor (you’ll learn more about those below!)
Spike lavender essential oil benefits include:
- Sharpen your mental energy
- Ease tight muscles
- Open your breath
- Ease headaches
- Boost immune strength
Latin names are here to help
When you’re buying lavender oil, pay attention to the Latin name!
For these two types of lavender, the genus is the same: “Lavandula”. The species is where they diverge. Lavender is “angustifolia” and spike lavender is “latifolia.”
Recognizing their Latin names means you’ll know which type of lavender oil you’re getting, and you can use it for its scientifically verified benefits.
Sourced for Aromatherapists
At Aromatics, every bottle of essential oil includes the Latin name on the label, as well as each oil's top 2 chemical components. We know this information is valuable when making the most therapeutically beneficial essential oil blends!
Chemistry: lavender essential oil vs. spike lavender essential oil!
Lavender essential oil and spike lavender essential oil actually have a lot in common.
They both contain the component linalool, which has been widely studied. Research shows that linalool can soothe muscles and joint pain, comfort irritated skin, calm redness, and deeply relax both the body and mind.
Since they both contain linalool, lavender essential oil and spike lavender essential oil are both soothing and comforting.
But they also have some impressive differences, which come from their other natural chemical components:
Spike lavender essential oil also contains camphor.
The camphor content is a stimulating, sharp, penetrating ketone component!
Conclusions: lavender essential oil vs. spike lavender essential oil
When you consider that lavender essential oil contains both linalool and linalyl acetate, it makes perfect sense that it’s such an all-round soothing lavender oil! These two components work together to make lavender world-famous for relaxation on mental, physical, and emotional levels.
Spike lavender essential oil, on the other hand, contains 1,8-cineole and camphor.
1,8-cineole is also known as “eucalyptol,” since it occurs in such high percentages in eucalyptus essential oil. It’s also why you might notice hints of eucalyptus in spike lavender’s aroma.
The 1,8-cineole and camphor content not only gives spike lavender’s scent a fresh, crisp, penetrating note—it also balances linalool’s relaxing effects. Instead of being calming, spike lavender is brisk and energizing.
But 1,8-cineole and camphor also work hand-in-hand with linalool, because all three components can soothe muscles. That makes spike lavender an excellent choice for sports massage blends!
Shop the Lavender essential oils
A must-have essential oil for any aromatherapy practice! With a soft, floral, fresh aroma, lavender oil is gentle, yet effective enough for nurturing tender areas through a challenging recovery process. Our certified organic lavender essential oil is steam distilled from flowers grown in cascading purple fields in the Bulgarian countryside.
While spike lavender oil's floral aroma resembles lavender’s, it’s more energizing, camphor-like, and herbaceous. In skincare blends, spike lavender is suited to easing acutely uncomfortable or itchy issues, as it can purify skin and calm irritation. Our certified organic spike lavender essential oil is steam distilled from rich purple blossoms harvested from fields dotting the rural Spanish landscape.
Lavender oil recipes
Spike lavender oil recipes
Other Lavender oils and products
At Aromatics International, we have several different types of lavender essential oils. Each high quality product has its own strengths and benefits.
- Artisan Lavender Oil
- Artisan Lavender Hydrosol
- Greek Lavender Oil
- Lavender Blood Orange & Spearmint Hydrosol
Learn more about lavender!
Become an expert in all things lavender!
Aromahead Institute’s Lavender Essential Oil Spotlight takes you deep into the science of lavender (Lavandula angustifolia).
Taught by Aromahead’s co-founder, Andrea Butje, this 3-hour video class reveals the chemistry of lavender essential oils, therapeutic properties, safety considerations, which oils it blends well with, and more. If you’re already a fan of lavender essential oils, this is a great way to learn new sides of an old favorite. And if you’re still discovering all of lavender essential oil's talents, this is the perfect introduction!