Herb Series 6: Lavender

Homesteading

Probably my #1 Herb/Flower/Plant whatever you want to call it. This beauty has a ton of benefits for you, your garden, your chicken coop, your dogs..all sorts of things. The bright blooms are gorgeous to look at and if you’ve ever walked through a patch of lavender in a garden the smell is like nothing else.

6907046-macro-flowers-lavender-purple

Lavandula angustifolia is the classic lavender that most people are familiar with. It can also be found on the market as Common Lavender, French Lavender (when it comes from France), True Lavender, English Lavender or Lavender. You may also see it labeled as Lavandula officinalisLavandula x intermedia is quickly becoming a popular ‘Lavender’ species on the market. It can sometimes be found as Dutch Lavender, but is often sold as Lavender. We are slowly seeing it labeled properly as Lavandin.

According to Mountain Rose Herbs:

“Lavender is an aromatic perennial evergreen shrub. Its woody stems bear lavender or purple flowers from late spring to early autumn, although there are varieties with blossoms of white or pink. Lavender is native to the Mediterranean, but now cultivated in cool-winter, dry-summer areas in Europe and the Western United States. 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 has been thought for centuries to enflame passions as an aphrodisiac, and is still one of the most recognized scents in the world. The German Commission E commended lavender for treating insomnia, nervous stomach, and anxiety. The British Herbal Pharmacopoeia lists lavender as a treatment for flatulence, colic, and depressive headaches, and many modern herbal practitioners use the herb to treat migraines in menopause. In Spain, lavender is added to teas to treat diabetes and insulin resistance.”

Lavender is said to have these properties:

Antidepressant, Analgesic, Antiseptic, Cicatrizant, Expectorant, Anti-Inflammatory, Nervine and Vulnerary.

It is said to be especially effective in easing the respiratory tract when it comes to colds, coughs and flus. It is also said to be effective in protection against airborne viruses.

Lavender is one of the most useful scents for relieving anxiety, stress, mild agitation and distress. Lavender not only promotes a healthy mood in humans but it also said to have calming effects for dogs as well. Lavender is also particularly good at promoting sleep and relaxation.

Topically lavender can be used to alleviate pain caused by sore muscles, tension, sprains, rheumatism, and postoperative pain. Topically lavender is soothing making it useful for treating skin conditions like acne, eczema, psoriasis and even wrinkles and aging skin. Due to it’s anti-Inflammatory and circulation increasing properties Lavender promotes scalp health and helps relieve dandruff. These properties are also said to promote hair growth.

Mountain Rose Herbs says:

“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 is a great insecticidal herb. Planting around your chicken coop and throughout your garden can keep pests at bay. It can also be used in your chicken coop bedding to deter pests, enhance the airs fragrance and soothe your flock. Lavender oil used topically on dogs can also help deter fleas and ticks.

Perhaps our favorite thing about lavender? Bees love it! The more bee friendly flowers the happier and healthier the bees. If your garden is in need of some bee assistance I’ve found it useful to plant lavender throughout the vegetables to attract bees.

We use lavender in our homemade soaps and body washes, my face and body creams, my face wash and in my shampoo. We use it in the diffuser each night before bed, in our night time tea mixed with chamomile and as an ingredient in one of our favorite squash soups!

What do you use lavender for?

 

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8 thoughts on “Herb Series 6: Lavender

  1. Cakes, biscuits, ironing, scenting drawers, attracting bees and butterflies, pot pouri. Haven’t used it for robbing graves yet but will try to use it for more after reading your blog. Great read!

    1. I don’t know why I’ve never used it for ironing and scenting drawers! Such a great idea. Haha grave robbing…love it. 🙂 Thanks for stopping by and reading. Hopefully you got some new uses out of it!

      1. So sorry…I completely forgot to reply back to you with the recipe.
        Here’s the tea recipe…
        -camomile
        -mint
        -sage
        -sweetgrass
        -lemon verbena
        -lemon balm
        -lavender
        It’s equal parts of everything except the lemon balm, camomile, and lavender. For these items you can use about half the quantity. Meaning if you used 1 tablespoon of each of the other items….just use 1/2 tablespoon of lemon balm, 1/2 tablespoon of camomile, and 1/2 tablespoon of lavender.
        ….but really, just go with the ratio which tastes good to you.
        Enjoy!

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