February 22, 2011

Lavender

On terribly hot days, lavender, the universally used and most versatile of essential oils, comes to the rescue, accomplishing several jobs at the same time.

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

6 comments:

Ina said...

Thanks for this informative post! I'll have to buy me some lavender oil now. :)

Lucy said...

Can't go wrong...

Kala said...

the consumption of lavender is something new to me - but my friend once used it to massage me and it has a very distinct and nice smell to it although a bit strong. It does do wonders for the senses but like you mentioned, the grade of lavender affects the price and Ive seen some pretty pricey ones in small bottles. Beautiful picture by the way!

Lucy said...

Yes, the prices vary greatly, but I think a good organic one (I have a link to one on my sidebar, btw, and would get a small commission if anyone ordered through the link, in case you are wondering) is best to have, and it is so generally useful that it's well worth it. Of course a much cheaper grade would be best to add to cleaning products and rinse waters.

Kala said...

that price is actually pretty cheap compared to what I've seen - I guess grade is in reference to the purity of the lavender? =P

Lucy said...

It is in reference to the therpeutic power - click the link on the "different grades" highlight in my post and it will take you to Eden Botanicals who explain their different offerings of lavender and click on their list they list and will tell you which are of therapeutic grade. I understand that the third year flowering of the bush is the best, yielding the highest and most intense floral fragrance and power. Also there will be a premium for the organic cultivation. It does get oxidized so you have to store it carefully in cool darkness. 3-6 drops maximum in a teaspoon of carrier oil such as jojoba or almond, or in the bath, or directly to the skin for healing scars or bites or scratches...