Lavender, a member of the mint family, is originally native to the Mediterranean and other dry sandy regions. Its usage has been traced back to ancient Greece. Lavender grows well in cool moist winters and hot, dry summers. It is drought tolerant, and bug resistant. One of the major lavender production centers in the world varies around Provence, France.
Lavender Field near Manosque, France
Picture courtesy of Chef Richard Barth
Commonly, lavenders, only been found in soaps, perfumes, but it is also one of the main ingredients of Herbes de Provence. It can also be found in baked goods and sweets.
Herbes de Provence (erbs-day-pro-vanss) is a mixture of oregano or marjoram, thyme, basil, sage, savory, lavender flowers and rosemary- all dried. Some also include chervil, or fennel seeds as well.
There are approximately 28 varieties of Lavender; English, spike, Spanish, French, woolly, and lavandin, being among the most common. English lavender is sweet scented. Spiked lavender attracts insects. Lavandin lavender is a hybrid between Spiked and English lavender. Spanish lavender has a pine fragrance.
Lavender’s scent is widely used for fragrances and natural recedes, including soaps and lotions and oils. Its scent is used to induce calmness and reduce anxiety. It helps with nausea, headaches, insomnia, depression, and stomach woes. Steeping the flowers in hot tea