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Lavender

Lavender- first aid in a bottle.  Not only is it beautiful, but it has hundreds of uses. It is an aromatic, relaxing herb, and it can be used in cooking, lotions, teas, soaps, tinctures and even flavor kombucha (one of my favorites) and much more. It rates high on almost everyone’s list of ‘essential herbs’ to have on hand.

Medicinal

Lavender has wonderful relaxing, calming, uplifting effects. It’s a mild antidepressant, helpful in eliminating depression. When combined with feverfew, it helps alleviate headaches. Adding to your bath, it is one of the best herbs to relieve tension, stress and insomnia. Just add a few drops of lavender essential oil or lavender blossoms tied in a muslin bag and dropped in your bath to gain some of its benefits.

Traditionally, lavender was used to bring courage and strength. Many women used it during childbirth by placing a drop or two of lavender essential oil directly on their feet or back, bringing gentle relief. It’s one of the herbs used to bathe the newborn baby, welcoming them into the world.

Lavenders effectiveness as a traditional antibacterial, anti-fungal, and antiseptic agent has been confirmed by clinical studies (source). It is useful treating many infections, including staph, strep, colds and flus. Alone or combined with tea tree oil, it can be applied directly to the skin to treat fungal infections such as ringworm and nail fungus.

A popular antispasmodic, lavender is also useful as a digestive aid formula to relieve indigestion and calming stomach muscle spasms caused by IBS and Crohn’s disease.

This is one herb that I always carry when I am away from home because I seem to use it so often. If you are like me and don’t want to open doors with your hands, and go out of your way to open a door with your elbow or bottom of your shirt (hey, you don’t know what other people have touched…) then pull out your lavender oil to disinfect the doorknobs. But my all time favorite way to use lavender is when applying to a burn (getting burned is never fun, but seeing it go away is)! It works wonders relieving pain from any kind of sunburn, but really any kind of burn. It not only relieves the pain but also helps to disinfect and heal the wound quickly. The way lavender can take pain out of a bee sting or insect bite is unbelievable.  It still amazes me how one herb can have so many virtues.

Nutrition

Lavender contains high amounts of Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Calcium and Iron.

Gardening

There are more than one type of lavender and there’s an ongoing debate about which types are most medicinal. Generally, L. officinalis and L. angustifolia are highly regarded for their medicinal properties. Lavender loves full sunlight. They can grow pretty big and survive through winter. If temperatures fall below 20 degrees Fahrenheit, then lay some mulch down around the plant. It’s pretty tricky germinating lavender from seed, even if you have a green thumb. I suggest getting a few healthy plants from a local nursery.

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Uses for Lavender

  • Relaxing herbal tea (especially combined with Chamomile). Steep in hot water for a few minutes. Add honey if desired
  • Create a tincture (stronger form of tea) to promote sleep
  • Make sleep masks filled with lavender to promote sleep
  • Soothe burns. Either apply lavender essential oil directly to skin or add a few drops of the essential oil  to a bottle of cool water and spray on burns
  • A cold lavender tea can be used as a hair rinse to prevent dandruff
  • Lavender infused oil can be made into lotion, body butter, salves and soaps
  • Place a drop of lavender essential oil on pillow case before you go to bed to promote sleep
  • Sew lavender flowers into satchels and use them instead of dryer sheets for your laundry

The best and least expensive option is to grow it yourself during the summer, but if that isn’t an option, you can find lavender here .

Parts Used:

  • Flower (mostly)
  • Leaf

Key Constituents:

  • Flavonoids
  • Linalool
  • Eucalptol
  • Limonene
  • Coumarins
  • Tannins

Safety:

Lavender is generally safe, however it’s recommended that pregnant women avoid using it internally.

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