Lavandin is a hybrid plant, the result of a natural cross-pollination of true lavender and spike lavender. The oil has a woody, spicy-green, camphor aroma.
It is used in herbaceous colognes and blends well with numerous other oils including cypress, geranium, citronella, clove, cinnamon leaf, pine, thyme and patchouli.
The scent is not very tenacious and requires the addition of a fixative when it needs to last more than a few hours. Aromatherapy benefits: balancing, clarifying, purifying.
The first Lavandin to be cloned or propagated was Lavandula x intermedia Abrialii in the late 1920's. A natural cross between L. angustifolia and L. spica, Abrialii Lavender was the plant of choice for oil distillation until it was hit hard by a disease. Much of it was replaced by another Lavandin, Super. These two Lavandins closely resemble the harder to grow Lavandula angustifolia and gave more oil per plant. In the 1970's lavender grower Pierre Grosso developed the Lavandin, Grosso Lavender, which was more robust and is now the most widely cultivated Lavandula x intermedia.
Although it is rarely used for culinary purposes, it is frequently used as an addition to sachets and potpourris. One of the fattest budded Lavenders, purple-violet 'Grosso' is especially strong and vigorous.
It is used as an infusion, decoction, essential oil, bath and potpourri additive.
The 1997 Commission E on Phytotherapy and Herbal Substances of the German Federal Institute for Drugs recommends Lavender flower for 'Internal: Mood disturbances such as restlessness or insomnia, functional abdominal complaints (nervous stomach irritations, Roehmheld syndrome, meteorism, nervous intestinal discomfort). For balneotherapy (Bath): Treatment of functional circulatory disorders.'
As Grieve puts it, of Lavender's household uses, 'Dried Lavender flowers are still greatly used to perfume linen, their powerful, aromatic odour acting also as a preventative to the attacks of moths and other insects. In America, they find very considerable employment for disinfecting hotrooms and keeping away flies and mosquitoes, who do not like the scent. Oil of Lavender, on cotton-wool, tied in a little bag or in a perforated ball hung in the room, is said to keep it free from all flies.'
'Not only are insects averse to the smell of Lavender, so that oil of Lavender rubbed on the skin will prevent midge and mosquito bites, but it is said on good authority that the lions and tigers in our Zoological Gardens are powerfully affected by the scent of Lavender Water, and will become docile under its influence.'
Lavender is an effective herb for headaches, especially when they are related to stress.
Grieve's classic 'A Modern Herbal': 'Lavender was used in earlier days as a condiment and for flavouring dishes 'to comfort the stomach.' Gerard speaks of Conserves of Lavender being served at table.'
'It has aromatic, carminative and nervine properties. Though largely used in perfumery, it is now not much employed internally, except as a flavouring agent, occurring occasionally in pharmacy to cover disagreeable odours in ointments and other compounds.'
'Red Lavender lozenges are employed both as a mild stimulant and for their pleasant taste.'
'The essential oil, or a spirit of Lavender made from it, proves admirably restorative and tonic against faintness, palpitations of a nervous sort, weak giddiness, spasms and colic. It is agreeable to the taste and smell, provokes appetite, raises the spirits and dispels flatulence. The dose is from 1 to 4 drops on sugar or in a spoonful or two of milk.'
'A few drops of the essence of Lavender in a hot footbath has a marked influence in relieving fatigue. Outwardly applied, it relieves toothache, neuralgia, sprains, and rheumatism. In hysteria, palsy and similar disorders of debility and lack of nerve power, Lavender will act as a powerful stimulant.'