If you’ve ever walked past a lavender plant, you’ll know that the smell of lavender is one of the richest, most soothing scents there is. Lavender is a fragrant herb laden with small, purple flowers. It’s perhaps one of the most well-recognized scents, and it’s commonly grown to harvest its fragrant essential oil. So, what are the top lavender plant uses?
Before we talk about how to use it, what even is lavender? The plant itself is native to Northern Africa and the Meditteranean. There are many species, all in the genus Lavandula. Lavender is very closely related to other fragrant herbs such as sage, rosemary, and thyme (but not parsley – sorry Simon and Garfunkel). The purple flower has been used for millennia – in fact, the Ancient Greeks even used the plant for bathing and put it in perfumes. Nowadays, people use lavender in similar ways that some of our ancestors did.
Lavender is one of the most common plants you can find in a garden. The plant makes a perfect choice for any flower bed, as its intense aroma can sweeten anyone’s day. It’s also incredibly easy to grow! Its durability allows you to harvest the flowers to use in floral arrangements, potpourri, and more. Because it grows in dense, low stands, it can even be planted to make informal hedges.
Lavender is a common ingredient in folk medicine and herbalism. Many believe that lavender essential oil can treat and cure a wide variety of ailments. Some of these are clinically tested and proved, and the results are published in scientific journals. Most of the time, it’s the essential oil you want.
The smell of lavender is a common part of aromatherapy. The rich smell of lavender essential oils can treat anxiety, lower stress levels, and possibly even relieve mild headaches. By putting lavender flowers under your pillow at night, they can also help you fall asleep and get a good night’s rest.
When applied on the skin, lavender essential oil can help fight off fungal infections. Eczema and athlete’s foot are just two examples of skin ailments that can be treated or at least soothed by using lavender. Aside from healing the skin from infection, lavender oil simply smells good. So, it’s commonly used in perfume, soap, shampoo, lotion, and countless other cosmetic products.
Perhaps one of the most unique lavender plant uses is in cuisine. More and more, cooks at home and in restaurants use lavender as an additional flavor to sweeten up a dish or pastry. Not only does a hint of lavender taste great, but it also has anti-bacterial properties that can settle an upset stomach. For this reason, you’re feeding two birds with one seed by adding lavender to your diet!