Scientific name: Lavandula officinalis, L. angustifolia
“especially good use for all griefes and paines of the head and brain.” – John Parkinson (1640)
Lavender is commonly known for its relaxing, stress-relieving and uplifting properties, even working as a mild antidepressant. It can also aid with headaches and migraines when mixed with Feverfew.
- Volatile oils (linalyl acetate, cineole, linalool, nerol, borneol)
- Antibacterial: can be used to treat staph, strep, colds, and flus
- Antiseptic: use to disinfect minor scrapes, wounds, and burns.
- Digestive aid
- Antispasmodic: used with other herbs to relieve indigestion and calm stomach muscle spasms (caused by IBS and Crohn’s disease).
Lavender can be used as a cooking herb, and fresh flowers are great in desserts
(consult a doctor if experiencing any serious conditions)
- Fungal infection (eg. ringworm, nail fungus): alone or mixed with tea tree oil, apply directly to the skin daily until healed.
- Yeast infection: formulate into a douche and use as needed.
- Bee sting or painful bug bite: apply essential oil right on it for awesome relief.
- Strained eyes: stitch together an eye pillow, and stuff lavender flowers inside. Heat gently in a microwave if desired, and sleep with it, in bed or on an airplane is even better!
- Hair loss or other low hair qualities: lavender-based shampoos will help in these situations. Ensure there aren’t other harmful chemicals mixed in though.
- Colic: create an infusion and give a 1-2 tsp of a 25% diluted mixture to babies before eating.
How to Grow
Where do you live?
Lavender is grown best in zones 5-8.
- Sunny, warm
- Can tolerate some shade
- Can tolerate some cold – will need some protection in the winter
- Some types do better in zone 3-4 eg. Hidcot, Munstead, Grosso
- Well drained
- Slightly sandy
- pH 6-8.3
Put em in the ground
It’s difficult to start these from seed, so to speed up your efforts you might consider buying a few plants that a nursery or store has already started. When they become established feel free to take cuttings and expand your garden!
- Plant each 12-24″ apart
- Remove faded flowers
- Harvest when 1/3 – 1/2 of the buds are open
- Medicinal properties are not as strong when the flowers are fully open
- Root rot: ensure you have well drained soil and this shouldn’t be an issue