Lavandula angustifolia, or lavender, is an evergreen shrub and part of the lamiaceae or labiatae family. It is found in dry grassy areas and prefers hilly terrain and full sunlight (it cannot grow in the shade). Lavender is recognizable by its purple bud-like flowers and distinctive scent.
While lavender is better known for its aromatic qualities than its medicinal ones, its relaxing effects on the nervous system are well documented. The flowering spikes can also be dried and used to make a tincture, as well as the more widely known essential oil. The flowers and leaves of lavender can be added to salads, soups, and stews, as well as baked goods. The flowers can also be crystallized in sugar as a sweet treat. Additionally, lavender is often used as an aroma in a number of household items, most commonly soap and shampoo.