Herb and Spices – Lavender
Find out more about this beautiful, calming herb!
Common Name: Lavender
Latin Name: Lavandula angustifolia
Other Names: English lavender
Parts of the plant used – Buds, leaves and stems
Lavender is a flowering plant of the mint family known for its beauty, sweet and calming fragrance. Native to Northern Africa and mountainous regions of the Mediterranean, this aromatic perennial plant is is best planted with small plants from a nursery after any threat of frost. Space 1-1 ½ feet apart and keep mulch from the crown of the plant to avoid rot. Water once or twice a week after planting.
Harvest lavender stems by cutting them from the plant. Flowers will keep their perfume for months by harvesting before completely open. To dry flowers, gather stems into a bunch and tie with twine and hang upside-down in a dark, well-ventilated place.
Research indicates lavender may be useful to treat anxiety, insomnia, depression and restlessness. Other research suggests lavender tea may be helpful for digestive issues, headaches, sprains and sores. Known for purifying skin, lavender is often added to many fragrances, lotions and shampoos and is being studied for help with fungal infections and wound healing.
Fresh flowers and buds are delicious added to sauces, marinades, cocktails, baked breads and desserts. The flowers are beautifully added to salads, over ice cream and as a cake topping. The flavor is potent so start slow and build to the flavor level desired. Dried flowers are used in teas.
Pairs well with:
- Other herbs such as oregano, sage, rosemary and thyme
- Citrus flavors such as orange, lemon and grapefruit as well as berries and stone fruit
- Hot and cold beverages – think cocktails and teas
Any interesting factoids:
- Southern France is known for its beautiful fields of lavender
- Lavender has a wonderful ability to withstand heat and drought
- Dried flowers are also used in potpourri, sachets, and other crafts such as eye pillows.