Monday, December 14th, 2009...12:00 am

Lavender-A Purple Panacea



TheGardenLady has invited people with horticultural interests and expertise to contribute posts to this blog.  The following post  was submitted by Christy Baker, a certified Family Herbalist and Consulting Herbalist.   Christy is currently pursuing a certificate in Horticulture Therapy and a second Master’s in Landscape Architecture.

Lavender, Lavandula Angustifolia, is a widely used plant with a long and rich history. Recorded use of the herb goes back 2500 years; first arriving in North America during the 1600s. Regardless of the age and time Lavender is renown worldwide for its medicinal and therapeutic value, at the very least its heavenly refreshing signature scent separates it from the rest.

The Egyptians used it to make perfumes, to scent their baths, and in humidification processes.

The Phoenicians used it for bathing, to perfume oils, and cooking. The Greeks commonly used it to anoint their feet, and the Romans used it to scent laundry, hair, bodies, and their baths, also finding it useful to stave off infections and insects.

Today not much has changed except the fact that we have the scientific evidence to substantiate the varied benefits our ancestors instinctively gravitated to. Lavender can be used to address a number of ailments: acne, wrinkles, sunburn, cough, asthma, congestion, headaches, insomnia to name a few.

Lavender is also useful in stimulating blood circulation, urine production, and restoration of hormonal balance. There are even studies that point to Lavender as being beneficial during child labor and post labor recovery. Of course, I would be remiss to not mention the aromatherapeutic benefits that can calm, soothe, and restore even the most frazzled spirit.

There are a number of different ways to receive the benefits of Lavender: the dried flowers could be added to culinary delights, made into teas (for ingestion or for your hair), the essential oil could be used in bathwater or applied in small amounts (diluted with another oil such as jojoba or avocado) directly to the skin, added to pillow cases, garment drawers or homemade potpourri, or even added to water and sprayed directly into the air.

For the adventurous, Lavender is fairly easy to grow, if you do a little bit of research you should be able to find a variety that will do well in your environment. The basic requirement is full sun and well drained soil.

And for the culinary inclined here is a simple recipe using Lavender from the-joys-of lavender. com:

Honey Lavender Butter

This butter is so great on scones, toast, muffins, or coffeecakes. This is my absolute favorite way to eat toast.

1 stick softened butter

4 tsp. dried lavender (pulsed or chopped)

4 tsp. honey

Mix together and enjoy!

Anyway you use it Lavender is a great addition to your home.

Note: The information contained in this article is for educational purposes only and is not meant to replace the medical advice of a physician

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