Botanical Name: Lavandula angustifolia, L. officianalus, and other varieties | Family: Lamiaceae

Common name(s): Lavender, English Lavender, French Lavender, Spanish Lavender, Alhucema (Spanish)


  • Perennial; woody subshrub | Zones 5-9, depending on the species | 24″ tall, varies per species, grows in mounds | Soft, fragrant leaves | Flowers can be hues from purple to deep blue, but also pink or white
  • Full sun or afternoon shade | Dry, well-drained soil (and it likes it hot, like its native Mediterranean region)


Stems, leaves, and flowers can all be used. Cut stems to 3″ above the ground when harvesting the whole plant. You can snip off leaves and flowers anytime during the summer.


Infusion: Add 1 cup boiling water to 1 teaspoon dried herb. Let infuse for 10 minutes. Drink up to 3x/day.

External: the essential oil is used externally and should not be taken internally. The oil can be inhaled, rubbed on the skin, or used in the bath.

Cautions: Lavender has a slight estrogenic effect and may not be appropriate for teenage boys.


Constituents: Volatile Oil, including linalool, lavandulyl acetate, borneol, camphor, limonene, cadinene, coumarins, ursolic acid, flavonoids, geraniol, sesquiterpenes

Actions: Anti-depressant, anti-spasmodic, aromatic, carminative, rubefacient

Uses: Depression, strengthening tonic for the nervous system, sleep aid, rheumatism pain relief, headaches

Also, culinary and cosmetic and an insect repellant.

Matthew Wood, in his Earthwise Herbal, Volume 1, mentions a lot of additional uses, including a history of herbalists ‘ usage of lavender.


  • Spicy, fragrant, mildly bitter, cool


  • Holistic Herbal, David Hoffman
  • The Way of Herbs, Michael Tierra, L.Ac., O.M.D.
  • The Earthwise Herbal, Volume I, Matthew Wood
  • Homegrown Herbs, Tammi Hartung
  • photo credit: Pixabay

Lavender is a member of the mint family. I’m pretty sure the mint family is my favorite family of herbs – lemon balm, peppermint, spearmint, bee balm, catnip, basil, holy basil, oregano, rosemary, sage, thyme. Not my beloved dandelions, though. Dandelions are part of the daisy family.

When I first brought lavender to my property, I tried planting it in a microclimate where the sun reflected off the cinderblocks of our cold frame. It was also a sheltered spot. I knew it was a heat-loving, Mediterranean plant. But lavender was not happy there and now it is part of my regular garden, with other flowers and herbs and a birdbath. The plants tell you where they want to grow. You can follow all the instructions in a book, but sometimes a plant wants to defy book logic.

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