A fragrant bag of "Lavandula Croatica" or a bottle of etherical lavender oil is an ideal and practical souvenir that will remind your soul and every pore in your body of holidays in Croatia and of this beautiful landscape. Croatia is one of the largest producers of lavender, which, due to ideal climate and good soil, mostly grows on hills and rocky slopes of the mid-Dalmatian island of Hvar. Blooming period at the end of June and begging of July, when fields of lavender enchant by their fragrance and intensive purple blue colour is a special experience to a visitor. The Hvar lavender is of highest quality among all sorts of lavender grown throughout Europe. It ecologically produced, while sowing and harvesting are done manually. Colourful, fragrant bags, full of dried Hvar lavender flowers, by the name of "Miris domovine" - "Lavandula Croatica" can be bought in shops, souvenir-shops, hotels, pharmacies and perfume-shops all around Croatia. Croatian lavender was labelled as one of the main Croatian souvenirs, and as such it takes place in representing Croatia throughout the world. This souvenir is practical and useful and should have its place everywhere: in cars, in offices, in apartments, in wardrobes or by pillows for a good night sleep. Lavender was highly appreciated from olden time for its healing properties and intoxicating fragrance. It is recommended as a stress-relief, for head-ache, high-blood pressure, flu, rheum, some skin diseases, burns, insect bites, and for protection from moths and mosquitoes. These are just some of many other applications. Etherical lavender oil is produced by distilling lavender flowers, and it is used for warm baths, aroma lamps, as massage oil or for face and body care. If you want an original Hvar souvenir, a remedy and fragrance in one, then an ideal solution for you is a fragrant bag of "Lavandula Croatica" or a bottle of lavender oil.
The lavenders (Lavandula) are a genus of 39 species of flowering plants in the mint family, Lamiaceae. An Old World genus, distributed from Macaronesia (Cape Verde and Canary Islands and Madeira) across Africa, the Mediterranean, South-West Asia, Arabia, Western Iran and South-East India. It is thought the genus originated in Asia but is most diversified in its western distribution.
The genus includes annuals, herbaceous plants, subshrubs, and small shrubs. The native range extends across the Canary Islands, North and East Africa, Southern Europe and the Mediterranean, Arabia and India. Because the cultivated forms are planted in gardens worldwide, they are occasionally found growing wild as garden escapees, well beyond their natural range. However, since lavender cross-pollinates easily, there are countless variations within the species. The color of the flowers of some forms has come to be called lavender.
Etherical lavender oil from Island Hvar
The leaves are long and narrow in most species. In other species they are pinnately toothed, or pinnate, sometimes multiple pinnate and dissected. Flowers are borne in whorls, held on spikes rising above the foliage. Flowers may be blue, violet or lilac. The calyx is tubular, with five lobes. The corolla is often asymmetric.
Historically L. stoechas, L. pedunculata and L. dentata were described in Roman times (Lis-Balchin 2002). From the Middle Ages onwards, the European species were considered two separate groups or genera, Stoechas (LL. stoechas, pedunculata, dentata) and Lavendula (LL. spica, latifolia), until Linnaeus combined them, believing the name lavandula derived from the Latin 'lavare' to wash, referring to the use of infusions of the plants. He only recognised 5 species in the Species Plantarum (1753), L. multifida and L. dentata (Spain) and L. stoechas and L. spica from Southern Europe. L. pedunculata was included within L. stoechas. By 1790 L. pinnata and L. carnosa were recognised. The latter was subsequently transferred to Anisochilus. By 1826 de Lassaras described 12 species in three sections, and by 1848 eighteen species were known.
One of the first modern major classifications was that of Dorothy Chaytor in 1937 at Kew. The six sections she proposed for 28 species still left many intermediates that could not easily be assigned. Her sections included Stoechas, Spica, Subnudae, Pterostoechas, Chaetostachys and Dentatae. However all the major cultivated and commercial forms resided in the Stoechas and Spica sections. There were four species within Stoechas (Lavandula stoechas, L. dentata, L. viridis and L. pedunculata) while Spica had three (L. officinalis, L. latifolia and L. lanata). She believed that the garden varieties were hybrids between true lavender (L. angustifolia) and spike lavender (L. latifolia).
Currently Lavandula is considered to have 3 subgenera (Upson and Andrews 2004), Lavandula, Fabricia and Sabaudia. In addition there are numerous hybrids and cultivars in commercial and horticultural usage. A number of other species within Lamiaceae are closely related (outgroups) including Ocimum gratissimum, Hyptis pectinata, Plectranthus barbatus and Tetradenia fruticosa.
The first major clade corresponds to subgenus Lavendula, and the second Fabricia. The Sabaudia group is less clearly defined. Within the lavendula clade, the subclades correspond to the existing sections, but place Dentatae separately from Stoechas, not within it. Within the Fabricia clade, the subclades correspond to Pterostoechas, Subnudae, and Chaetostachys.
Thus the current classification includes 39 species distributed across 8 sections (the original 6 of Chaytor and the two new sections of Upson and Andrews), in three subgenera (see Table below).
Lavenders flourish best in dry, well-drained, sandy or gravelly soils in full sun. All types need little or no fertilizer and good air circulation; in areas of high humidity, root rot due to fungus infection can be a problem. Avoid organic mulches; use pea gravel, decomposed granite, or sand instead, as organics can trap moisture around the plants' bases, encouraging root rot.
The most common "true" species in cultivation is the common lavender Lavandula angustifolia (formerly L. officinalis). A wide range of cultivars can be found. Other commonly grown ornamental species are L. stoechas, L. dentata, and L. multifida.
The lavandins Lavandula × intermedia are a class of hybrids of L. angustifolia and L. latifolia. The lavandins are widely cultivated for commercial use, since their flowers tend to be bigger than those of English lavender and the plants tend to be easier to harvest, but lavandin oil is regarded by some to be of a lower quality than that of English lavender, with a perfume less sweet.
Flowers also yield abundant nectar from which bees make a high-quality honey. Monofloral honey is produced primarily around the Mediterranean, and is marketed worldwide as a premium product. Flowers can be candied and are sometimes used as cake decorations. Lavender flavors baked goods and desserts (it pairs especially well with chocolate), as well as used to make "lavender sugar". Lavender flowers are occasionally blended with black, green, or herbal tea, adding a fresh, relaxing scent and flavour.
Though it has many other traditional uses in southern France, lavender is not used in traditional southern French cooking. In the 1970s, an herb blend called herbes de Provence usually including lavender was invented by spice wholesalers, and lavender has more recently become popular in cookery.
Lavender lends a floral and slightly sweet flavor to most dishes, and is sometimes paired with sheep's-milk and goat's-milk cheeses. For most cooking applications the dried buds (also referred to as flowers) are used, though some chefs experiment with the leaves as well. Only the buds contain the essential oil of lavender, which is where the scent and flavour of lavender are best derived.
The French are also known for their lavender syrup, most commonly made from an extract of lavender. In the United States, both French lavender syrup and dried lavender buds make lavender scones and marshmallows.
Lines lavender flower - Island Hvar
Lavender is used extensively with herbs and aromatherapy.
English lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) yields an essential oil with sweet overtones, and can be used in balms, salves, perfumes, cosmetics, and topical applications. Lavandin, Lavandula × intermedia (also known as Dutch lavender), yields a similar essential oil, but with higher levels of terpenes including camphor, which add a sharper overtone to the fragrance. Mexican lavender, Lavandula stoechas is not used medicinally, but mainly for landscaping.
Essential oil of lavender has antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties. It was used in hospitals during WWI to disinfect floors and walls. These extracts are also used as fragrances for bath products.
According to folk wisdom, lavender has many uses. Infusions of lavender soothes, heal insect bites and burns. Bunches of lavender repel insects. If applied to the temples, lavender oil soothes headaches. In pillows, lavender seeds and flowers aid sleep and relaxation. An infusion of three flowerheads added to a cup of boiling water soothes and relaxes at bedtime. Lavender oil (or extract of Lavender) heals acne when used diluted 1:10 with water, rosewater, or witch hazel; it also treats skin burns and inflammatory conditions.
A recent clinical study investigated anxiolytic effects and influence on sleep quality. Lavender oil with a high percentage of linalool and linalyl acetate, in form of capsules, was generally well tolerated. It showed meaningful efficacy in alleviating anxiety and related sleep disturbances. In Germany, the capsules are available under the trade name Lasea.
These remedies should be used with caution since lavender oil can also be a powerful allergen.
Avoid ingesting lavender during pregnancy and breastfeeding.
In vitro, lavender oil is cytotoxic. It increases photosensitivity as well. Lavender oil is cytotoxic to human skin cells in vitro (endothelial cells and fibroblasts) at a concentration of 0.25%. Linalool, a component of lavender oil, may be its active component. Aqueous extracts reduced mitotic index, but induced chromosomal aberrations and mitotic aberrations in comparison with control, significantly. Aqueous extracts induced breaks, stickiness, pole deviations and micronuclei. These effects were related to extract concentrations.
However, according to a 2005 study "although it was recently reported that lavender oil, and its major constituent linalyl acetate, are toxic to human skin cells in vitro, contact dermatitis to lavender oil appears to occur at only a very low frequency. The relevance of this in vitro toxicity to dermatological application of Lavandula oils remains unclear."
In terms of photoxicity, a 2007 investigative report from European researchers stated that, "Lavender oil and sandalwood oil did not induce photohaemolysis in our test system. However, a few reports on photosensitivity reactions due to these substances have been published, e.g. one patient with persistent light reaction and a positive photo-patch test to sandalwood oil."
In 2007 a study was published in the New England Journal of Medicine which indicated that studies in human cell lines indicated that the two oils (lavender and tea tree oils) had estrogenic and antiandrogenic activities. They concluded that repeated topical exposure to lavender and tea tree oils probably caused prepubertal gynaecomastia in some boys.
The study has been criticised on many different levels by many authorities. The Aromatherapy Trade Council of the UK has issued a rebuttal 
The Australian Tea Tree Association, a group that promotes the interests of Australian tea tree oil producers, exporters and manufacturers issued a letter that questioned the study and called on the New England Journal of Medicine for a retraction (ATTIA). 
The New England Journal of Medicine has so far not replied and has not retracted the study.
Flower spikes are used for dried flower arrangements. The fragrant, pale purple flowers and flower buds are used in potpourris. Lavender is also used extensively as herbal filler inside sachets used to freshen linens. Dried and sealed in pouches, lavender flowers are placed among stored items of clothing to give a fresh fragrance and to deter moths. Dried lavender flowers have become recently popular for wedding confetti. Lavender is also popular in scented waters and sachets.
The ancient Greeks called the lavender herb nardus, after the Syrian city of Naarda. It was also commonly called nard.
Lavender was one of the holy herbs used in the biblical Temple to prepare the holy essence, and nard is mentioned in the Song of Solomon (4,14)
nard and saffron,
calamus and cinnamon,
with every kind of incense tree,
with myrrh and aloes,
and all the finest spices.
During Roman times, flowers were sold for 100 denarii per pound, which was about the same as a month's wages for a farm laborer, or fifty haircuts from the local barber. Lavender was commonly used in Roman baths to scent the water, and it was thought to restore the skin. Its late Latin name was lavandārius, from lavanda (things to be washed), from the verb lavāre (to wash). When the Roman Empire conquered southern Britain, the Romans introduced lavender. The Greeks discovered early on that lavender if crushed and treated correctly would release a relaxing fume when burned.
I. Subgenus Lavandula Upson & S. Andrews subgen. nov.
i. Section Lavandula (3 species)
* Lavandula angustifolia Mill. – Common or true lavender
subsppp. angustifolia, pyrenaica
* Lavandula latifolia [Medik] – Portuguese or Spike lavender
* Lavandula lanata [Boiss.]
* Lavandula × chaytorae Upson & S. Andrews nothosp. nov. (L. angustifolia subsp. angustifolia x L. lanata )
* Lavandula × intermedia Emeric ex Loisel. (L. angustifolia subsp. angustifolia x L. latifolia ) – Dutch lavender
ii. Section Dentatae Suarez-Cerv. & Seoane-Camba (1 species)
* Lavandula dentata [L.] – French lavender
var. dentata (rosea, albiflora), candicans (persicina) [Batt.]
iii. Section Stoechas Ging. (3 species)
* Lavandula stoechas [L.] – Spanish lavender
* Lavandula pedunculata Mill.(Cav.)
* Lavandula viridis L'Her.
Intersectional hybrids (Dentatae and Lavendula)
* Lavandula × heterophylla Viv. (L. dentata x L. latifolia )
* Lavandula × allardii
* Lavandula × ginginsii Upson & S. Andrews nothosp. nov. (L. dentata x L. lanata )
II. Subgenus Fabricia (Adams.) Upson & S. Andrews, comb.nov.
iv. Section Pterostoechas Ging. (16 species)
* Lavandula multifida L. – Fernleaf lavender, Egyptian lavender
* Lavandula canariensis Mill.
* Lavandula minutolii Bolle
* Lavandula bramwellii Upson & S. Andrews
* Lavandula pinnata L. – Fernleaf lavender
* Lavandula buchii Webb & Berthel.
* Lavandula rotundifolia Benth.
* Lavandula maroccana Murb.
* Lavandula tenuisecta Coss. ex Ball
* Lavandula rejdalii Upson & Jury
* Lavandula mairei Humbert
* Lavandula coronopifoliaPoir.
* Lavandula saharica Upson & Jury
* Lavandula antineae Maire
* Lavandula pubescens Decne.
* Lavandula citriodora A.G. Mill.
* Lavandula × christiana Gattef. & Maire (L. pinnata x L. canariensis)
v. Section Subnudae Chaytor (10 species)
* Lavandula subnuda Benth.
* Lavandula macra Baker
* Lavandula dhofarensis A.G. Mill.
* Lavandula samhanensis Upson & S. Andrews sp. nov.
* Lavandula setifera T. Anderson
* Lavandula qishnensis Upson & S. Andrews sp. nov.
* Lavandula nimmoi Benth.
* Lavandula galgalloensis A.G. Mill.
* Lavandula aristibracteata A.G. Mill.
* Lavandula somaliensis Chaytor
vi. Section Chaetostachys Benth. (2 species)
* Lavandula bipinnata (Roth) Kuntze
* Lavandula gibsonii J. Graham
vii. Section Hasikenses Upson & S. Andrews, sect. nov. (2 species)
* Lavandula hasikensis A.G. Mill.
* Lavandula sublepidota Rech. f.
III. Subgenus Sabaudia (Buscal. & Muschl.) Upson & S. Andrews, comb. et stat. nov.
viii. Section Sabaudia (Buscal. & Muschl.) Upson & S. Andrews, comb. et stat. nov. (2 species)
* Lavandula atriplicifolia Benth.
* Lavandula erythraeae (Chiov.) Cufod.
1. ^ L. H. Bailey. Manual of Cultivated Plants
2. ^ Mrs. M. Grieve, A Modern Herbal, Vol. II (New York: Dover Publications, Inc., 1971; ISBN 0-486-22799-5)
3. ^ Kathleen Norris Brenzel, Editor, The Sunset Western Garden Book, 7th Edition (Menlo Park, CA: Sunset Publishing Corporation, 2001; ISBN 0-376-03874-8).
4. ^ Mark Griffiths, Index of Garden Plants (Portland, Oregon: Timber Press, 1994. ISBN 0-333-59149-6.)
5. ^ National Non-Food Crops Centre. "Lavender". Retrieved on 2009-04-23.
6. ^  Purple Haze Lavender Farm - Cooking with Lavender
7. ^ It does not appear at all in the best-known compendium of Provencal cooking, J.-B. Reboul's Cuisinière Provençale (1910)
8. ^ Francis Laget, "From its Birthplace in Egypt to Marseilles, an Ancient Trade: ‘Drugs and Spices’" Diogenes 52:131 (2005) abstractdoi:10.1177/0392192105055941
9. ^ Kasper, S; Gastpar, M; Müller, WE; Volz, HP; Möller, HJ; Dienel, A; Schläfke, S (2010). "Silexan, an orally administered Lavandula oil preparation, is effective in the treatment of 'subsyndromal' anxiety disorder: a randomized, double-blind, placebo controlled trial.". International clinical psychopharmacology 25 (5): 277–87. doi:10.1097/YIC.0b013e32833b3242. PMID 20512042.
10. ^ Lavender: Precautions, Center for Integrative Medicine
11. ^ "Cytotoxicity of lavender oil and its major components to human skin cells" Prashar A, Locke IC, Evans CS
12. ^ "Cytotoxic and genotoxic effects of Lavandula stoechas aqueous extracts" Celik TA (Celik, Tulay Askin), Aslanturk OS (Aslanturk, Ozlem Sultan)
13. ^ Cavanagh H, Wilkinson J. Lavender essential oil: a review. Australian Infection Council, March 2005, Vol 10 Issue 1. http://www.publish.csiro.au/?act=view_file&file_id=HI05035.pdf
14. ^ Placzek M, Frömel W, Eberlein B, Gilbertz K-P, Przybilla B. Evaluation of Phototoxic Properties of Fragrances. Acta Dermato-Venereologica 2007: ISSN 0001-5555 doi: 10.2340/00015555-0251
15. ^ Derek V. Henley, Ph.D., Natasha Lipson, M.D., Kenneth S. Korach, Ph.D., and Clifford A. Bloch, M.D. Prepubertal Gynecomastia Linked to Lavender and Tea Tree Oils, n engl j med 356;5 www.nejm.org february 1, 2007 http://www.nejm.org/doi/pdf/10.1056/NEJMoa064725
16. ^ 'NEITHER LAVENDER OIL NOR TEA TREE OIL CAN BE LINKED TO BREAST GROWTH IN YOUNG BOYS'
17. ^ 'ATTIA refutes gynecomastia link', Article Date: 21 February 2007
18. ^ The origin of most of these quotes comes from Dr. William Thomas Fernie, in his book "Herbal Simples" (Bristol Pub., 1895. ASIN: B0014W4WNE). A digital copy of the book can be read online via google books. 'By the Greeks the name Nardus is given to Lavender, from Naarda, a city of Syria near the Euphrates, and many persons call the plant "Nard." St. Mark mentions this as Spikenard, a thing of great value. In Pliny's time, blossoms of the Nardus sold for a hundred Roman denarii (or L.3 2s. 6d.) the pound. This Lavender or Nardus was called Asarum by the Romans, because it was not used in garlands or chaplets. It was formerly believed that the asp, a dangerous kind of viper, made Lavender its habitual place of abode, so that the plant had to be approached with great caution.'
19. ^ "Song of Solomon". Bible Gateway. http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Song%20of%20Solomon%204;&version=31.
20. ^ The assumption of the history of Lavender, originating from Naarda, along with the facts about the price in Roman time, are quoted widely throuout the web (over 350 entries in a google search) calling the city Naarda, Nerdus or Nardus. The Bible has many mentions of a fragrant plant called "Nard" and an ancient Jewish Mishna recited daily in Jewish prayers, refers to "Shibolet Nard" (Hebrew for "Nard Spike") as one of the herbs used for making the holy essence at the biblical Temple. Dr. Fernie is the first known to link "Nard" with the city of Nerdus - Naarda, one of the major cities of Jewish study and origin of the Talmud, during the years 150-1100 a.d. Since Naarda or Nehar-D'Ah - river of Ah - was on a canal between the Euphrates and Tigris rivers, it could never have been a Syrian city, but rather in present day Iraq, somewhere in the Baghdad area. Dr Fernie refers widely to Jewish studies, probably quoted from a former botanist Robert Turner.
21. ^ "Lavender". Oxford English Dictionary (second ed.). 1989
* Chaytor D A. A taxonomic study of the genus Lavandula. 1937
* Lis-Balchin M (ed.). Lavender: The genus Lavandula. Taylor and Francis 2002
* Upson T, Andrews S. The Genus Lavandula. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew 2004
* United States Department of Agriculture GRIN: Lavandula
* Joan Head: The Lavenders