Lavender is an aromatic herb of the Lamiaceae family used in traditional medicine, cosmetics and the food industry. The use of Lavender dates from the earliest times. The collection of wild Lavender is already mentioned in Mesopotamia, and the first attempts at domestication in Arabia. The ancient Egyptians used it in their famous mummification practices. From ancient Greece and Roman times to the present day, evidence can be found that it has been used in traditional medicine, both for the prevention and treatment of numerous diseases. The ancient Greeks used it as a laxative for respiratory diseases, and the Romans for stomach disorders, kidney disease, wound dressing and insect bites. For centuries, Lavender has been used as a means of disinfecting and refreshing spaces, from cabinets and apartments to hospital rooms. The repellent action on insects is particularly well known in the people, as is the traditional use against the development of moths in clothing stored indoors. It has been used for many years in traditional medicine for use in the following diseases: headache, hysterical attacks, shivering, hoarseness, paralysis, toothache, joint disease, cough, etc. This plant is named after the Latin word Lavender. (meaning wash), thanks to the customs of the Romans who used it to smell their baths and bath water.
The most famous Lavender producers are France, USA, Japan, Argentina and Brazil. Today, Lavender is grown commercially in large areas in Spain, Italy, Switzerland, England, Ukraine, Australia, New Zealand and other countries. In addition to these, it is grown in many other countries, and can be found in deep continental regions and at higher altitudes.
The genus Lavandula comprises about 48 species, of which only 3 are of greater economic importance.
- Lavandula angustifolia (synonyms L. vera and L. officinalis) – French Lavender (syn., English lavender, true lavender…)
- Lavandula x intermedia – Lavender (hybrid of L. angustifolia x L. latifolia)
- Lavandula stoechas – Spanish Lavender (syn. L. latifolia or L. spica)
Lavender is a perennial, xerophytic, semi-bushy plant. As an arid plant, it develops a strong root system with many branches. Some root vessels can reach depths of up to 4 m and have a highly developed ability to absorb water and nutrients. The branches are blunt in the lower part, and the upper ones are greenish and end in bloom. Under natural conditions, Lavender bush has the shape of a half-layer. The leaves and branches are covered with silvery hairs, which gives the plant a gray-green color. In the first year of life it forms a smaller number of stems, and with aging their number increases. Plants grown under continental conditions in the 12th year of life can have over 2,000 flowering branches. Lavender is very resistant to low temperatures. It can withstand frosts up to – 30 ° C without damage. Vegetation begins already at an air temperature of 9 ° C. In addition to its high resistance to low temperatures, Lavender is also very resistant to drought. A powerful root system and resistance to extreme environmental conditions allow Lavender to be used successfully in protecting soil from erosion.
Lavender uses flower and essential oil. The dried flower contains about 3 percent of the essential oil, and the fresh about 0, 5%, although in some cases it was up to 0, 8 percent. Lavender essential oil contains more than 100 different components. Linalyl acetate and linalol are considered to be the main components for evaluating the quality of Lavender essential oil. The total content of these two components in the oil and their relationship with each other, as well as the content of other components of the oil depends on what type of Lavender is in question. Lavender essential oil shows sedative activity and has the effect of reducing gas and bloating. It is often used as a corrigent for the aromas and flavors of some pharmaceuticals, while externally used in baths. Essential oil is used industrially for the production of cologne, perfumes and toilet soaps, as well as for the manufacture of certain medicines, and has been found to have anti-inflammatory and bactericidal effects.