Features of the Lavender Plant

The botanical name of lavender (Lavendula officinalis) comes in part from the Latin "lavare," which means to wash or bathe. Lavender plants were historically used to hang clean laundry upon, thereby imparting its scent to the clothes. It is widely used to repel moths and is seeing a resurgence as a culinary herb.

Scent Soaps and Perfumes

The essential oil from lavender has long been extracted by distillation and added to soaps and perfumes. Throughout history, its scent has been said to be an aphrodisiac, a sedative and conversely, to ensure chastity.

Repel Bugs

Lavender is used to repel moths and other bugs in closets and dressers. Dried bunches hung among hanging clothes or sachets filled with the dried flowers also impart their scent to the clothes and linens which they protect. Lavender is also said to repel mosquitoes when set near patios and outdoor living spaces.

Cooking

The flavor of lavender is very complementary in ice cream and baked goods, especially sweet dishes like sugar cookies, fruit desserts, jellies or crème brulee. It is also used in savory meat, fish and cheese dishes, most often blended with mint, rosemary, sage and cinnamon.

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About this Author

Sharon Sweeny has a college degree in general studies and worked as an administrative and legal assistant for 20 years before becoming a freelance writer in 2008. She specializes in writing about home improvement, self-sufficient lifestyles and gardening.