The Love of Lavender

This is an exciting season for me…my lavender was showcased at the Francis Flowers & Herbs Farms Herb Walk in Pickens, Mississippi. Really cool for this California gal! This is the first year that we are bundling and selling our lavender to the public. If you would like to purchase sustainable grown Lavender, please send an email to

The fragrant fuzzy buds of lavender are beginning to spring from the silvery mounds of foliage in our gardens. Our lavender flowers are in full bloom displaying the rich shades of purple spikes that I admire. This is the perfect time to share, enjoy and use this wonderful plant.
I have been passionately exploring growing and using lavender for about five years. I am so excited about the new business opportunities. Not only has the Lavender been showcased at events, but our products will be used in Cine’ Hair and Skin Care products.
My dear friend Cine will use the Lavender leaves, flowers, stems and the essential oil for her bath and body products that are scheduled to be released later this year. I will keep you posted when the products are available.

The use of lavender has been documented for about 2500 years. Lavender was used for mummification and perfume by the Egyptians.
The Greeks and the Romans bathed in lavender scented water. Queen Elizabeth I of England valued lavender as a perfume. It has been said that she commanded that the royal table should never be without conserve of lavender and she had fresh lavender flowers available year round in the garden. She also drank Lavender tea to help ease her migraines and used it as a body perfume.

Lavender has assorted therapeutic properties and freshens everything it touches. Lavandula, derives from the Latin word lavare, which means “to wash.” To create a wash, take about 16 ounces of water, add a few drops of an unscented liquid soap like Dr. Bonners and about ten drops of lavender essential oil. Shake well before using and try it everywhere. Wash hands and body, dishes, counter tops, bathrooms and floors.

Lavender is soothing and especially helpful for relieving headaches and stress. It brings balance to our emotions. The oil can be rubbed on different parts of the body to slow down the nervous system and encourage relaxation in the body. Make a spritzer with witch hazel, distilled water and lavender essential oil to refresh skin and senses. Put fresh or dried lavender in bath water to ease muscle and mental tensions. A cup of iced or hot tea may help relieve minor anxiety and stomach discomforts and will definitely delight the senses.
Lavender is an antiseptic and calmative. During the First World War, nurses bathed soldiers' wounds with lavender washes. Eczema, acne, and fungal infections have been successfully treated with lavender. It is one of the few essential oils you can apply directly to your skin. You can use it for minor burns and cuts like you would aloe vera. In fact those two combined make an excellent treatment for burns from heat and flame and sunburned skin.
Traditionally Lavender is grown in the Mediterranean. Provence France hosts lavender fields that are beautifully blended into the landscapes, covering thousands of acres in a purple haze. Lavender is also grown in the United States form Washington to Pennsylvania, including in our own backyards.
There are over 200 varieties of Lavender and 28 different species. In our gardens, the French Lavender has the more traditional gray leaves but with serrated edges. A large, fast growing shrub that is sometimes referred to as everblooming Lavender. They enjoy at least eight hours of sunlight daily and the well drained, sandy soil.

Lavender usually begins to bloom in June and will re-bloom in early September. To harvest the flowers for drying, we cut them just before all the buds fully open and hang in small bunches upside down in a warm, dark spot with good air circulation.

There are so many uses for Lavender, here are my top 10 favorites:

1. Lavender flowers (fresh or dried) emit a strong, aromatic, uplifting scent when crushed between the fingers. For a quick mood pick-me-up or instant stress relief, crush and roll between your fingers a few of the flower buds and inhale the scent slowly and deeply. The combination of breathing deeply and inhaling the lavender scent will calm nervous tension, anxiety and panicky feelings within minutes.

2. A relaxing, soothing tea can be made from the flowers. Just put one heaping tablespoon of the fresh or dried flowers in a tea pot, and pour boiling water into the pot. Infuse for about ten minutes. This tea calms the nerves, settles the stomach and "butterflies" and induces sleep.

3. Lavender essential oil can be applied like a perfume to the hair, neck, ears or other body parts. Smells delicious!

4. Add several drops of lavender oil to your bath for a soothing soak, or just add a generous handful of the fresh or dried flowers if you don't have the essential oil.

5. To make sleep more restful, drip a few drops of lavender oil on your pillow. Another option is to wrap a handful of the dried flowers in a cheesecloth sachet, tie and throw in your pillowcase.

6. To soothe a sunburn, add a few drops of the essential oil to water in a spray bottle, and mist sunburned skin.

7. Wrap a handful of lavender flowers in a square of cheesecloth and tie with a string. You can also drip a few drops of essential oil onto the sachet for an extra aromatherapy boost. Throw the sachet in your dryer to make your clothes smell great. This will freshen up to 25 dryer loads!

8. Apply lavender essential oil to insect bites
and stings, cuts, scrapes and abrasions. Lavender is very anti-septic and helps destroy germs that can cause infections.
9. Infuse fresh or dried lavender flowers as if to make a tea. But instead of drinking it, let it cool down and use as a hair rinse to reduce dandruff.

10. Pulverized lavender flowers can add a unique and delightful flavor to salads, custards, jams, jellies and cookies, especially sugar cookies. It is a culinary relative to mint, sage, marjoram and thyme and can be used in the same fashion as these herbs. Lavender is so versatile in the kitchen, that virtually any experimentation with it will yield favorable results.


Father' Day - Love them by passing along this Men's Health Alert

Father's Day is this Sunday.
You can give Dad something better than a tie or shirt; share this Men's Health Alert...and of course a big hug. Better yet, share this with all of the men in your life; it could save their lives.
the full article can be viewed at

Four Symptoms No Guy Should Ignore
The shooting pain woke me in the middle of the night. It felt like someone had wedged a screwdriver between my spine and shoulder blade. Changing position, stretching, pain relievers … nothing helped. The pain came out of nowhere. I racked my brain: As far as I could recall, I hadn't injured myself. "You need to call the doctor," my wife said. "Maybe," I replied.

Why did I even hesitate? Well, as it turns out, I'm a typical guy. A 2007 American Academy of Family Physicians survey of 1,100 men found that while most men eventually seek medical attention when they're ailing, a whopping 92 percent wait days to see if they'll feel better. What's worse, nearly a third wait "as long as possible" before getting help. "Men aren't expected to listen to their bodies," explains Salvatore Giorgianni, PharmD, development director at Nashville-based Belmont University and advisor to the Men's Health Network national educational organization. "Little clues that something is wrong are very frequently ignored."

When I did eventually see my doctor, I was relieved to learn that the pain was a bad muscle spasm. The debilitating discomfort that could have lingered for a month was relieved after a few days of chiropractic treatments and massage therapy. But there are scores of other easy-to-ignore symptoms that can spell real trouble, particularly as men get older, says Jean Bonhomme, MD, MPH, founder of the National Black Men's Health Network. And the later you catch a problem, often the less you can do about it.

In short, if something doesn't seem right — whether you've developed a strange shortness of breath, recurring headaches, inexplicably swollen lymph nodes, or just unusual pain — it's always best to check in with your physician. Here are some of the more common symptoms you may be tempted to ignore — but shouldn't.

SYMPTOM # 1: Skin irregularities

Why: Lots of men work or play in the sun, so they're prime targets for skin cancer, the most common of all cancers. The ultraviolet rays in sunlight can trigger DNA damage that results in the uncontrolled growth associated with cancers. Many skin cancers are easily treatable if caught early but one type, malignant melanoma, kills roughly 8,000 Americans a year. Even folks diligent with sunscreen for years aren't necessarily safe, says Bonhomme. After all, skin cancer can develop and then lie dormant for 20 or 30 years. If you recognize any of the "ABCDs" above, make an appointment with a dermatologist right away.

How to prevent it: Here's good news: Your spaghetti dinner may help protect against sun damage — as long as it includes sauce made with ample tomato paste. Researchers at the University of Manchester recently discovered that people who ate 5 tablespoons of standard tomato paste a day had 33 percent more skin protection than those in a control group. Lycopene, a powerful antioxidant in tomatoes that is concentrated in tomato paste, may neutralize the harmful effects of UV light. Being a lycopene devotee, however, doesn't mean that you can skip the sunscreen: Regular, daily application is key, especially during the peak sunlight hours between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. and on cloudy days when the ultraviolet rays can still reach you.

SYMPTOM # 2: A big belly

Be on the lookout for: Weight gain around the middle (rather than on hips or legs), particularly if you develop a waist-to-hip ratio greater than 0.9. (To determine your ratio, measure your waist below your ribs and your hips at their greatest circumference; divide the first number by the second number.) A good rule of thumb is your pants size: A 40-inch waist or larger is reason to be concerned, says Bonhomme.

Why: All body fat isn't created equal. Although excess weight is never a good sign, carrying extra weight around the abdomen (what's sometimes called male-pattern obesity) is worse than in other areas. "Those who have an imbalanced proportion between their waist and hips seem to be at higher risk of metabolic syndrome," says Geovanni Espinosa, ND, Lac, director of the Integrative Urological Center at New York University Medical Center. "That puts them at increased risk of type 2 diabetes, heart problems, and even prostate cancer." The primary risk factors for metabolic syndrome are abdominal obesity and insulin resistance, the body's inability to use insulin it releases in response to food.

How to prevent it: Reevaluate your diet, for starters. A United States Agricultural Research Service study found that people who consumed 2.5 or more servings of whole grains a day were half as likely to have metabolic syndrome than those who ate less than one serving a day. On the other hand, a nine-year National Institutes of Health study recently found that people who regularly ate refined grains, red meat, fried foods, and processed meats like hot dogs and hamburgers elevated their metabolic syndrome risk. Surprisingly, despite having few or zero calories, diet soda is also a risk factor. So opt for whole-grain meals featuring brown rice, oatmeal, and 100 percent whole-grain breads whenever possible.

It's also smart to get moving, because low physical activity also increases risk for metabolic syndrome. Aerobic activities that strengthen abdominal muscles and burn lots of calories, such as jogging, bicycling, swimming, and using rowing machines, can help drop those pounds around the waist.

SYMPTOM # 3: Irregular urination

Be on the lookout for: Any kind of unusual bathroom activity, including weak, frequent, or minimal urination. If you're hitting the bathroom several times a night, for example, it's time to find out what's going on.

Why: A variety of ailments can lead to wonky urination, says Carl Hangee-Bauer, ND, Lac, founder of San Francisco Natural Medicine in California. Weak or frequent urination can be a sign of urinary tract infection, kidney illness, diabetes, or an enlarged prostate, a gland near the bladder found only in men. More common with age, a swollen prostate can lead to increasingly painful and difficult urination and may require medication or surgery. These same symptoms can also indicate prostate cancer, the most common cancer in men, with approximately 186,000 new cases diagnosed each year. Guys need to realize that prostate cancer is often a silent killer, cautions Bonhomme, usually with few or no symptoms in its early stages. That's why it's important for all men to get annual prostate cancer screens starting at age 50, he says; those with a family history or who are African American should start at 40 or earlier.

How to prevent it: Keep that flow going as naturally as possible, says Espinosa, by drinking eight to ten glasses of water a day to help the body flush out possible infection-causing agents. To counter a swelling prostate, Hangee-Bauer recommends 160 mg of standardized extract of saw palmetto, combined with pygeum and pumpkin-seed oil. These extracts help shrink the prostate by inhibiting conversion of testosterone into dihydrotestosterone, which triggers growth in prostate cells. He also suggests 2 tablespoons of ground flaxseed a day; a 2008 study found that this omega-3 fatty acid-rich food helped slow the growth of prostate tumors.

SYMPTOM # 4: Low sex drive

Be on the lookout for: Decreased libido or erectile dysfunction. "Low libido is not a simple thing," says Hangee-Bauer. "It can be a condition in and of itself, but it can also be a symptom of something else."

Why: Guys may assume bedroom activity decreases naturally with age, but a low sex drive may indicate something more serious is amiss. A common culprit is low testosterone, which can lead to heart problems and bone loss, says Espinosa. Erectile dysfunction may also be a warning sign of impending heart disease or stroke. "The arteries that go to the male genitals are smaller than the arteries that go to the brain," explains Bonhomme. If blood can't flow to the penis to cause erections, blood flow may be dangerously weak in other parts of the body, too.

How to prevent it: Weight-bearing exercise and healthy stress management support balanced testosterone levels, says Espinosa. "There seems to be a connection between highly stressed men and lower testosterone levels," he warns. And try to get a full eight hours of sleep, too. Researchers have found that men who suffer from obstructive sleep apnea — breathing problems that interrupt normal sleeping patterns — produce lower levels of testosterone. If you're over 50 and suffer from low libido, Hangee-Bauer suggests 160 mg a day of ginkgo biloba. Not only does the herb relax artery walls to improve circulation to the penis, says Hangee-Bauer, but it can also help blood flow to the brain and have a mild antidepressant effect.

Essential daily supplements for men


Carl Hangee-Bauer, ND, Lac, founder of San Francisco Natural Medicine, recommends a three-times-a-day, high-potency combination. After all, he points out, "We have to remember that recommended dietary allowances [the recommended amounts of nutrients people should have in their diets] are just the amounts that prevent us from having different diseases" and not necessarily optimum amounts for overall well-being. "If you have a good multivitamin, you are covering things you may be missing in your diet," he adds. "I see it as health insurance."


Hangee-Bauer recommends fish oil for its omega-3 fatty acids, which have strong anti-inflammatory effects and may help prevent cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, and some cancers.

Dose: 1,000 mg daily. Note: May interact with blood-thinning meds.


Researchers have found that green tea's key antioxidant ingredient, epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), binds to tumor cells and slows their growth. So make sure you're getting enough EGCG, either in brewed or extract form, Hangee-Bauer suggests. Dose: 70-100 mg EGCG daily (1-2 cups of green tea).

Note: Those with caffeine sensitivities should consider decaffeinated versions, making sure to choose a brand that's decaffeinated using the natural "effervescence" method, a process involving water and carbon dioxide that retains most of the EGCG content.

Teens can't find a job?

Are your kids still pounding the pavement looking for a job?
Well maybe their time would be better spent like Chris, a young man in Syracuse; he is became an entrepreneur. There are many freelance opportunities for your teens from dog walking to photography to web designing. All it takes is getting those creative juices flowing, identifying strengths and weaknesses and then...JUST DO IT!

In the words of the great author and philosopher Plato - Necessity... the mother of invention. Check out Chris's story, a teenager that couldn't find a summer job. Pass this along to your teens with a word of encouragement to get inventive. Here is a snippet of the article:
What if I told you that there was another option, that you could just pass right by the mainstream job market and still make money? Well, in fact, there is, and I've been living it for the past year. Freelancing is an option open to anyone with a business idea and the will to pull through with it. Even for teens, self employment opportunities can be endless. I do Web site development. My business, at, began out of a love for computers and developed through several years of getting experience and learning the specifics of the trade. In other words, creating a business from the ground up wasn't exactly an overnight process. However, not everything requires that level of commitment. While it's important to have a passion for what you do, chances are you don't have years to work your way up to it. Quite possibly the most common self-employed jobs teens are involved in are lawn-mowing and babysitting. You can even turn a hobby such as photography, writing or drawing into a business. Skills and experience gained from starting off in this way can be valuable. I've learned quite a bit myself: discipline to meet deadlines, communication skills from talking to clients, good work ethics, and, possibly the most important, determination for when the going gets tough. These skills will stay with you. They are skills colleges and potential employers love. You can read the rest of the article here -