Scientific Name: Lavandula (spp- intermedia, pendunculata, officinalis and angustifolia) English lavender, Broad-leaf Lavender, Grande Lavander and True Lavender
Origin: Lavender is native to the Mediterranean, but now cultivated in cool-winter, dry-summer areas in Europe and the Western United States.native to Europe, Western Asia and northwest Africa, but is planted and naturalised in many other regions
Parts Used: Flower & Leaves
Color: Flowers are purple although there are varieties with blossoms of white or pink
Lavender is aromatic perennial evergreen shrub that blooms from late Spring to early Autumn. The use of Lavender goes back thousands of years, with the first recorded uses by the Egyptians during the mummification process. Both the Greeks and the Romans had many uses for it, the most popular being for bathing, cooking, as an ingredient in perfume, healing wounds, and as an insect repellant. Lavender was used as an after-bath perfume by the Romans, who gave the herb its name from the Latin lavare, to wash. During the Great Plague of 1665, grave robbers would wash their hands in a concoction called “Four Thieves Vinegar”, which contained lavender, wormwood, rue, sage, mint, and rosemary, and vinegar; they rarely became infected. English folklore tells that a mixture of lavender, mugwort, chamomile, and rose petals will attract sprites, fairies, brownies, and elves.
Lavender flowers are approved by the German Commission E for promoting both a healthy mood and healthy circulation. The scent of lavender has shown to have positive effects on mood within certain adult populations and can help to alleviate mild feelings of agitation or distress. As a spice, lavender is best known as an important aspect of French cuisine and is an integral ingredient in herbs de Provence seasoning blends. Lavender may be used on its own to give a delightful, floral flavor to desserts, meats, and breads. The flowers can also be layered within sugar to infuse it with its distinctive aroma for use in cookies and candies. Similar to cilantro, some individuals perceive the taste of lavender in a manner that is undesirable within cuisine. An estimated 10% of the population interprets lavender to have a soapy and unsavory flavor. For this reason, it may be wise to exercise caution while using lavender as a flavoring agent.
Lavender has been thought for centuries to arouse passions as an aphrodisiac, and is still one of the most recognized scents in the world.
Precatutions: I personally love Lavender and recommend it for many uses however there are a few precautions that you should follow:
* I personally do not use Lavender Essential Oil internally. The Dried Flowers work wonders on their own.
* Long Term regular use of concentrated lavender (ie tinctures or essential oils) can cause hormone imbalance in males, so I generally avoid it in things I use for my significant other or my son.
* Due to its relaxation properties-Do Not use in conjunction with any medications that also promotes sleepiness or relaxation, you won’t need it if you use the lavender properly
* Do Not use the dried or fresh herb internally when pregnant
I use lavender often in many different forms:
*As a dried herb to make a relaxing herbal tea (I often add Chamomile too) by steeping in hot (not boiling water) for a few minutes and adding honey
*In a tincture to help promote relaxation and sleep
*Adding the dried herb to homemade buckwheat/flax seed pillows or sleep masks to help promote relaxing sleep
*To sooth sunburns or other burns, I add a few drops of the essential oil to a bottle of cool water and spray on burns to offer relief. The dried herb can also be brewed in to a strong tea and sprayed on instead.
*A strong lavender tea can be cooled and used as a scalp rinse to help prevent dandruffo
*Adding a few drops of lavender essential oil or a cup of strong brewed lavender tea and a cup of Epsom salts to a bath helps relax sore muscles.
*I sew dried lavender flowers into small satchels and use them in place of dryer sheets in the dryer
*For headaches, smelling lavender and peppermint oils or rubbing lavender oil into the temples often helps
*I often infuse lavender into vinegars for use in cooking or as a skin toner (diluted)
*The essential oil or lavender infused oil in homemade lotion bars, lotions, whipped body butter and more
*Lavender essential oil can be used topically to help with acne or skin irritation
*Simmering dried lavender herb in a pot of water with some citrus peels for a natural air freshener
Lavender Body Spray
1 c. distilled water
2 Tbsp. quality vodka (at least 80-proof) or witch hazel
20-30 drops Organic Lavender essential oil (Lavender mixes well with: Bergamot, black pepper, cedarwood, chamomile, clary sage, clove, cypress, eucalyptus, geranium, grapefruit, juniper, lemon, lemongrass, mandarin, marjoram, oakmoss, palmarosa, patchouli, peppermint, pine, ravensara, rose, rosemary, tea tree, thyme or vetiver essential oils)
2 tsp vegetable glycerin (optional, but helps the scent stay)
Directions: Combine everything in a small glass spray bottle and shake well. Shake well before each use.
Lavender Mint Tea
1/4 cup thinly sliced fresh mint leaves
4 teaspoons dried lavender flowers
1/2 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary
4 cups boiling water
2 teaspoons honey (optional)
Directions: In a large bowl, combine the mint, lavender and rosemary. Add boiling water. Cover and steep for 4 minutes. Strain tea, discarding mint mixture. Stir in honey if desired. Serve immediately. Yeild: 4 servings
Lavender Simmer Pot
1 cup dried lavender
1 tsp anise
1 Tablespoon nutmeg
1 Tablespoon whole cloves
1 Cinnamon stick
1 small sauce pan
4 cups water
Instructions: Fill a small saucepan with water and bring to a boil. Add the ingredients from your favorite recipe, continue to boil for a few minutes, then turn the heat down to simmer. Add water as needed, usually every 30 minutes or so. Do Not leave stove unattended.