Lavender is one of the most researched essential oils, proven to help reduce insomnia and anxiety. Diluted topical use is effective to help with bug bites, itching, inflammation, and pain. Its antimicrobial action can help reduce wound infection. It has also been used for menstrual cramps and as an insect repellent.
Lavender comes from the Latin word lavare, which means "to wash."
Over 130 research articles have been catalogued on lavender. Multiple human studies have demonstrated reduction in insomnia and an anxiolytic effect of the aroma. It has also shown anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, analgesic, and insect repelling actions.
Latin Name: Lavandula angustifolium
Lavender is a semi-woody evergreen with grey-green leaves and purple spike flowers, growing up to three feet tall.
True lavender grows in high altitude, in dry soil. Spike lavender (L. latifolia or L. spica) grows at low altitutde and is easier to cultivate. Lavandin is a hybrid of spike lavender and true lavender (L. intermedia or L. hybrida). Spanish lavender (L. stoechas) is quite high in camphor, fenchone, and 1,8-cineole, with very little linalool and linalyl acetate.
Flowering tops are prepared fresh or dried. For making a tea, steep 1 Tbsp of dried herb, or 2 Tbsp of fresh herb in 2 cups of boiled water for five minutes. Strain and drink.
The oil is colorless or pale yellow with a sweet, floral, and herbaceous aroma. There is significant chemovariety based on growing conditions.