Importance of Latin Names

          It is important to know the Latin names of essential oils to make sure you are using the correct oil to produce the desired effects, especially if you are using the essential oil therapeutically. “You need to know the Latin binomial to ensure that the oil you purchase has been produced from the correct plant or botanical” (Petersen, 2017).

          Lavender is an example of an essential oil that can be misused unless the individual knows the Latin name. Lavandin Lavandin intermedia is an example of a species of lavender that is commonly labeled as lavender but does not contain the same amount of esters in lavender Lavandula angustifolia which produces the calming, relaxing and sedating effects. Sometimes linalyl acetate is added to help preserve the oil, which is another reason understanding the Latin name is very beneficial.

          Eucalyptus is another example of why knowing the Latin names of essential oils is important. There are four main types of eucalyptus essential oil, each of them contain different amounts of active constituents. They are Eucalyptus globulus, Eucalyptus dives, Eucalyptus citriodora and Eucalyptus smithii.

         The essential oil from eucalyptus can be divided into three classes:

·         Medicinal oil that contains substantial amounts of eucalyptol, also known as 1,8 cineole

·         Industrial oils that contain substantial quantities of terpenes

·         Aromatic oils, such as E. citriodora, a lemon-scented eucalyptus (Petersen, 2016).

           Luckily, Eucalyptus E. globulus is made up of 250 different active constituents so it is hard to reproduce synthetically. This is another reason it is important to know the Latin name of the oil to make sure you are purchasing the quality oil you expect.

            “Only if you can be sure you have the correct botanical can you be confident that an essential oil will produce a particular physiological and emotional action” (Petersen, 2017). In conclusion, it is very important to know what you are putting in and on your body. To know the Latin name of an essential oil is like understanding the ingredients in food, very beneficial for your health and wellbeing.



Petersen, D. (2016). Aromatherapy Materia Medica: Essential Oil Monographs (1st ed.). Portland, Oregon: American College of Healthcare Sciences. (p. 260)

Petersen, D. (2017). A Refresher of Key Concepts in Aromatherapy [Online lecture]. Retrieved from