Lavender, an Herbal Profile
Lavender, the queen of all herbs at this day and age! One of the many herbs and herbal oils that have been used throughout time and is now significantly shared as an overall healer on the internet, lavender has been beloved by all who use it for thousands of years. This herb is no new discovery, and its uses have not much differed from their origin stories. This plant is beautiful to grow and attracts many pollinators throughout the flowering months, attracting bees from far and near to come sip at its nectar. Lavender has hundreds of uses in the home, and is a definite staple when it comes to growing your own herb garden. You can purchase naturally grown, dried lavender in our online herbal apothecary and peruse our many herbal wellness recipes using lavender flowers and the essential oil.
Lavandula x intermedia, commonly known as Lavender, is part of the mint family. It is native to Europe, Africa, and Asia and was grown even as far as the Canary Islands and southeast India. Most varieties of lavender grow as short-lived perennial plants. They are shrub-like and create a a wide variety of leaf shapes. The flowers grow in whorls, or around the base of the stem, and may be blue, violet, or lilac colored. It grows best where winters are mild and the summers are hot, which originates heavily upon its native habitat. Most lavender plants can bounce back fairly easily. They require minimum maintenance and usually prefer to be pruned every autumn after a couple of years of established growth.
The flowers and leaves of this herb have been used for over 2,000 years. The Ancient Romans were in use of it and named it as one of the strongest smelling plants they had ever encountered. They used it in their public baths and laid their drying clothing over the bushes to take in the scent. In the Middle Ages, lavender was linked with the plague where people would create a mixture of lavender and vinegar to spray to prevent themselves from getting sick called Four Thieves Vinegar. It was also during this time that lavender was added to congregational solstice fires to ward of evil spirits and bring about love and protection.
Medicinally, lavender has so many uses that its almost impossible to nail down every single one! No wonder it has been popularized over the centuries as the perfect solution to most ailments, especially for simply soothing the pain. It has sedative properties which are in thanks to its components: linalool and linalyl. These are present when diffusing lavender essential oil as well! The healing constituents that make lavender what it is can help to balance your mood, improve sleep, soothe nerves, alleviate depression, kill bacteria, and relieve pain. It is a carminative and anti-inflammatory so it makes a great treatment for gas, irritable bowel syndrome, and nausea. It is most often used as a treatment for headaches and migraines, internally as a tea and externally as an oil. I love to use it in lip balm, bath teas, baking, a calming chest rub, and a snack for my chickens!
If you are an herbal tea drinker, I put lavender into a few of our mixes that you might enjoy. If you are a beginning herb gardener, lavender is a must have and perfect for the first time gardener to try growing. I recommend purchasing a lavender start rather than seeds. You will have flowers to harvest much sooner! Plus starting lavender from seed can be a little tricky.