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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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.