Lavender, English lavender, is a herbaceous perennial flowering shrub. The botanical name is Lavandula angustifolia. It’s good to know the botanical name because some plants share similar common names but are completely different plants. For lavender, however, you will know it by the smell of its sweet relaxing fragrance. Lavender is used as a herb, a decorative border in landscaping and it is also great for attracting pollinators to your vegetable garden. Lavender is also one of the most studied herbs regarding the ability of the smell of lavender oil to induce sleep.
Lavender grows easily in most parts of the USA. Plants require full sun and well drained soil. Lavender grows better in soil with a slightly alkaline pH but will tolerate a soil pH between 6.4-8.2.
Some popular uses for lavender include
· Sleep Aid
· Insect deterrent
If you are a new mother, you might be most interested in using lavender to help your baby sleep. “Lavender inhalation aromatherapy is widely believed to impart a hypnotic effect, act as a mood stabilizer, and enhance the positive feelings of mothers toward their infants.”  When combined with good sleep hygiene, lavender improves sleep quantity and quality.
Do not put large amounts of lavender on yourself or your baby. Consider adding a few drops to a clean cloth and place where baby can smell the fragrance. Only 100% pure lavender oil has been documented to induce sleep. You can purchase essential oils from local health food stores or on-line. If you have time, consider making a lavender infused oil. Here’s how:
How to Make Lavender infused body oil
1-2 cups fresh lavender buds
1 cup of olive oil
2 Coffee filters
2 glass jars with lids
Place the lavender buds in a mortar and gentle crush to release lavender oil and fragrance. Do not over crush the buds. Pour olive oil into one small glass jar and add crushed lavender buds. Put the lid on the jar. Place the jar on a window ledge that gets plenty of sunshine. Let it sit for at least one week.
Now it is time to pour off the oil.
Place coffee filter over the opening of the second glass jar. Pour infused oil onto the filter and let oil drip into the glass jar. Put the lid on and you have yourself wonderful lavender infused oil. Apply a few drops onto a cloth square and place the cloth on the bed where you or baby can easily smell the sweet scent of lavender oil.
 Chen S, Chen C (2015) Effects of lavender tea on fatigue, depression, and maternal-infant attachment in sleep-disturbed postnatal women. Worldviews Evid Based Nurs Dec;12(6):370-9
 Lillehei A, Halcón L, Savik K, Reis R. (2015). Effect of inhled lavender and sleep hygieneon self-reported sleep issues: A randomized conttrolle dtrial. J Altern Complement Med Jul;21(7):430-8