February 22, 2011
If you carry but one essential oil with you in your handbag, it would probably be wise to have it be this one. It is the most useful and commonly used essential oil, having calming and sedative qualities as well as antiseptic ones.
Counteracting anxiety and irritation, it clears and detoxifies the body and mind. A balanced middle note in fragrance, it still has a a masculine/feminine character, hence the association with gay rights.
A very small amount is soothing and helpful for insomnia, more than the smallest amount is energizing and promotes alertness.
It is one of the few essential oils that can be applied directly to the skin without dilution, for treatment of insect bites, troubled skin, or for scars because it stimulates the growth of healthy cells. A few drops in warm water to rinse the face and hair will have a smoothing effect.
There are many different grades and of lavender essential oil, and therefore vast price differences by grade and quality.
It can be used for everything from the skin on the face to an additive in water for washing the floors, to sweeten the air and to sanitize.
One nice thing is to make an instant cold compress by adding a few drops to each compartment of an ice cube tray and freezing, and then using it for a cold compress for sunburn, pain or inflammation. Or such lavender ice cubes can added to drinks for flavor.
In dried form the herb itsef is often used for cooking, as in the "herbs de provence". I once flavored whipped cream with lavender and added it to fresh berries as my contribution to a party, and it was an enormous hit. You take lavender buds, either from a tea or fresh if possible, add them to the heavy cream, let them steep in a saucepan, bringing it to a simmer, and then remove from heat.
Chill in the refrigerator in a steel bowl, and then whip up the cream. The lavender will impart a fragrance and delicate flavor that is transporting.
People have been eating lavender for thousands of years in many ways.
Above image of lavender in the field, from Red Barn Lavender