A member of the mint family, lavender is an aromatic perennial shrub with spiky purple blossoms. It is also classified as an herb, and frequently appears in cooking and baking. Each of the 20-30 varieties have different characteristics. For approximately 2,500 years, lavender has been prized for its scent and its uses as an antiseptic, disinfectant, and relaxant. Ancient Egyptians used lavender in the mummification process, perhaps because of its antiseptic qualities.