Commercially, the plant is grown mainly for the production of lavender essential oil of lavender. English lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) yields an oil with sweet overtones, and can be used in balms, salves, perfumes, cosmetics, and topical applications. Lavandula × intermedia, also known as lavandin or Dutch lavender, yields a similar essential oil, but with higher levels of terpenes including camphor, which add a sharper overtone to the fragrance.
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.
The US Food and Drug Administration considers lavender as generally recognized as safe (GRAS) for human consumption. The essential oil was used in hospitals during World War I.