ESSENTIAL OIL QUALITY – Ravensara/Ravintsara

ravensaraI wrote in an earlier post about an essential oil I picked up: Ravintsara (cinnamomum camphora). I couldn’t really get this oil out of my head so I have been doing some research. As usual there is plenty of misunderstandings between different oils, popular names, botanical names and the chemical properties. What continues to confuse me are the different Latin names but this is what I have found:

Ravensara, (Ravensara aromatica / Ravensara anisataLauraceae family) Is a a leafy evergreen tree 18 to 20 meters high with a reddish-grey bark indigenous to the moist forests of Madagascar, in Malagasy called Havozo. The essential oil is steam-distilled from the stem-bark (Ravensara anisata) or the leaves & branches (Ravensara aromatica)

The main chemical constituents of R. aromatica are: 1,8 cinèole (up to 49%). The main chemical constituents in R. anisata are: anethole (approx. 85%) and methyl chavicol. This makes these two oils completely different.  Ravintsara (Cinnamomum camphora – Lauraceae family) is steam-distilled from the leaves. It is also high in 1,8 cinèole.

The problem is that I cannot find any information on the Ravintsara (c. camphora). All info I can find reverts back to Ravensara aromatica/anisata. So the question is; Is it really the same plant? Or is it a mixup of the names? One source states: “Cinnamomum camphora is also named Ravintsara in Madagascar; hence Ravensara camphora is seen on price lists mistakenly as ravensara but no true species exist; various qualities abound”.

So you see the confusion around essential oils; this is why it is so important to make sure that the oil you buy is good quality and has a Latin (botanical) name on the label. In the case with the Ravensara, I would go for the botanical name Ravensara aromatica.

to be continued…when I have more information.

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3 responses to “ESSENTIAL OIL QUALITY – Ravensara/Ravintsara

  1. She says to add five drops to a warm (not hot) bath, soak for ten minutes and apply a soothing body oil. Tracy Moist

  2. Hello Anna,

    First of all I must say I love your blog – it’s very well written and researched. And this particular article is a subject close to my heart – getting to the bottom of things!

    As an aromatherapist I have spent 20 years trying to cut through the fairytales and get the facts straight. I’ve discovered that it’s no easy challenge.

    My recommendation would be to invest in a couple of good botanical books, rather than those from the aromatherapy world, since most authors just recycle the same misinformation.

    Getting close to a reputable supplier can also help, but that’s easier said than done too. Those companies that have been around the longest are always a good place to start.

    You might find the information on http://www.aromatherapylifestyle.com interesting; their essential oil profiles are excellent.

    Do keep up with the good work, and good luck with your research.

    Jane

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