OK, here’s the problem as I see it. And, if you’re not an essential oil aficionado, I advise you to stop reading now. There is an oil produced from Ravensara aromatica, and it is known by the (somewhat uninventive) name of “Ravensara” or, occasionally, “ravensare” It is produced only in Madagascar, and the name derives from a Malagasy word meaning “fragrant leaf” – or something similar.

But, and here’s the rub, there is another Madagascan oil, this one produced from Cinnamomum camphora leaves, and it is known as “ravintsara” in the aromatherapy community. I guess there are a lot of fragrant leaves in Madagascar. But really, is this the best we can do? And what am I to think when I read someone blogging about “ravinsara” oil, as I did yesterday – which one are they talking about? And in a discussion, lecture, whatever, every time you say ravensara, or ravintsara, you have to stop and make sure your audience knows exactly which oil you are referring to. How to create confusion with minimum effort!

So please, can we stop this nonsense? Chinese Cinnamomum camphora leaf oil is known as “ho leaf” oil – it comes in several chemotypes, and the 1,8-cineole chemotype is the same tree that grows in Madagascar. So, I’m just saying…”ravintsara oil” is actually ho leaf oil – from Madagascar. Lots of essential oils come from different countries, and have corresponding minor differences. We still call them by the same name. I’m not saying it has to be called ho leaf oil – call it anything you like, call it Malagasy oil, Moonbuggy oil, Make-my-day oil, but please, not Ravintsara!

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