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Herbs 101: Lavender

Jordyn is a freelance writer who has written a variety of content. She earned her Bachelor's degree in Communication Studies.

Bundles of Lavender

Bundles of Lavender

History and Cultivation

Lavender is a common flower that is used for more than just observing. Lavender is a light, aromatic plant that is used mainly for calming and relaxation. The parts used from the lavender plant are the leaves and flowers. This beautifully fragrant plant is also known, scientifically, as Lavandula.

History:

Dating back over 2,500 years, lavender has been utilized since the Egyptians when they dipped the shrouds of those passed in lavender for their spirits. From the Romans to the times of the Renaissance, lavender has been placed on a pedestal of preciousness. Originating from Cape Verde and the Canary Islands, lavender comes from warmer climates and has been traveling around since. To date, there are thirty-nine species of lavender; the flower's scientific name is Lavandula.

Lavender is associated with Hecate, Saturn, and snake goddesses, but was most popular in the days of ancient Greece.

Cultivation:

Lavender is a perennial that flourishes in warmer climates yet grows most efficiently during late summer and fall. When growing lavender, these delicate flowers need plenty of drainage; a raised bed would help tremendously in growing them domestically. Lavender grows in zones five to eight in the United States. Watering the plants should be infrequent, once every two weeks. Another bit of information to consider is the pH balance of the soil you are planting with; the pH balance for lavender is 6.7 to 7.3.

If growing lavender indoors, plant sprouting buds or seeds in twelve to sixteen-inch deep containers. This should be a reasonable pot size since lavender grows into a small shrub. To improve the drainage process, fill the bottom of the container with an inch or two of loose gravel

There are several varieties of lavender in the world, with over thirty types of lavender. The most common variety is the English Lavender, also known as Lavandula Angustifolia. Other varieties include Spanish lavender, Fringed lavender, Egyptian lavender, and so on. English lavender also has subspecies, featuring Hidcote, Munstead, and Loddon Blue to name a few.

Uses and Benefits

Aside from the brilliant color and blossoms each of these varieties produces, lavender has been used in alternative medicine for centuries. It is most commonly known for its relaxation properties to help one's nerves relax and in hopes of inducing sleep, but this relaxation tendency can also be used to ease certain areas of the body.

Uses:

  • Dry the leaves and use them to make a relaxing tea
  • Infuse a couple of drops of lavender oil into candle wax to make lavender scented candles or infuse lavender buds into the wax
  • Make lavender scented soap, use lavender oil or leaves
  • Add lavender oil to lotions and creams for a calming effect before bed
  • Adding five to ten drops of oil to warm water can soothe the scalp and has been used as a hair rinse for lice.
  • Add a few drops to a diffuser for a relaxing aromatherapy session
  • Bake a loaf of lavender bread with lemon glaze
  • Stir into a pitcher of lemonade for lavender lemonade
  • Used to bring calmness, peace, and clarity
  • Can heighten psychic abilities

There are many more uses are out there, including in cleaning products and culinary recipes!

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For instance, try lavender in a cup of tea as an easier way to reap the benefits before better. Paired with valerian root, honey, and a dash of milk, you will be easily fall asleep. Lavender can also be baked with; if you're familiar with lavender honey bread or muffins, then you'll know that lavender is a fragrant yet sweet addition to most baked goods, as well as a beautiful edible flower for decoration.

Benefits:

Lavender is considered to be an antidepressant and antiseptic. Lavender helps to relieve anxiety, relieve pain, disinfect the scalp and skin, enhance blood circulation, treat respiratory conditions.

This plant is also used as a bug repellent, a sleep aid, an acne reducer, treatment for urinary disorders, helps treat lice, might have a positive effect on cancer, digestion aid, and an immune booster.

Other beneficial actions for lavender include antispasmodic, circulatory stimulant, antibacterial, and carminative.

Warnings:

Women who are expecting and/or breastfeeding should avoid using lavender oil. Patients with diabetes should avoid lavender oil. May cause allergic reactions to people with sensitive skin. Some people may feel queasy, vomit, or experience headaches from excessive lavender oil use.

Do not consume lavender oil.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

© 2016 Jordyn Lee

Comments

Jordyn Lee (author) from United States on February 26, 2016:

Thank you! Hubpages is my beginning into the writing world so I will posting much more!

Jackie Lynnley from the beautiful south on February 26, 2016:

I love lavender!

Looks like I am your first follower. Welcome to Hubpages. Sure you will enjoy it!

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