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What is Lavender?

Levender is a popular ingredient in perfumes.
Lavender is a fragrance found in many bath salts.
Lavender can be used in salad dressing.
Lavender flowers.
Men should avoid products that contain lavender oil, as it may result in gynecomastia.
Lavender oil is used as a fragrance ingredient in bubble baths and other products.
Lavender oil is used as an antiseptic and as an ingredient in many other products.
Lavender oil is used to make incense and other aromatic products.
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  • Written By: Mary Elizabeth
  • Edited By: Niki Foster
  • Last Modified Date: 30 September 2014
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Lavender, or Lavandula, is an herb in the mint family that is primarily employed for its fragrance in the garden and in personal care products, but also finds its way into culinary use. The different varieties are sometimes categorized as English, French, Italian, and Spanish lavender.

Cultivation

This plant grows to a height of one to three feet (30 to 90 cm). Its blue to lilac-colored flowers bloom from July to September. It does best in light soil and with plenty of sun, and can be easily grown from seed, or from cuttings or seedlings. To dry, harvest the buds when barely open and spread in a dark, well-ventilated place.

Culinary Uses

Lavender used to be considered characteristic only of Provencal cuisine, and is included as one of the constituents of Herbes de Provence, along with chervil, marjoram, rosemary, savory, tarragon, thyme, and sometimes fennel. Innovative cooks have recently extended its reach in the kitchen. It can be used to make many different types of desserts and other sweet items, including jellies, lemonade, crème brûlée, ice cream, and cookies. It can also be used in savory dishes as well as in salad dressing, in goat cheese tarts, and as a seasoning for poultry.

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Other Uses

Outside the kitchen, it can be used to scent linen and clothes in sachets, pomanders, and other dried arrangements. As a general air scent, it's also available as incense. Lavender oil is also used as a fragrance ingredient in shampoo, hair gel, soap, bubble bath, bath salts, perfume, and other products. It is also used as an antiseptic.

Cautions

It's important to mark culinary lavender clearly and to not substitute personal care products or other lavender products in recipes. Also, it has been recommended that young boys should avoid personal hygiene products that contain lavender oil, as it has resulted in gynecomastia, the abnormal development of breasts in boys. Please check with a health professional for any concerns.

History

The name lavender is derived from the Latin lavare, meaning “to wash.” The Romans used this plant to scent their baths, and also discovered its medicinal properties. They introduced it to Britain during their early times there. This nursery rhyme, first printed in the late 17th century, reportedly bears references the growing of this herb near London at the time:

Lavender’s blue,
dilly, dilly,
Lavender’s green.
When I am king,
dilly, dilly,
You shall be queen.

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Discuss this Article

anon120281
Post 4

Lavender is tasty, but Spanish lavender is toxic.

sputnik
Post 2

Lavender is quite effective against some garden pests.

Sachet with lavender are used to repel moth.

anon3144
Post 1

Can Spanish Lavender be used as a houseplant?

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