The Wonders of Lavender

A few days ago, my six year old Sabrina who is spending her summer in Provence with my parents, shared with excitement that she had discovered the wonders of fresh lavender.

“I LOVE lavender, mommy” she exclaimed… and after a few giggles, she added ” I love to eat lavender!”

Just as her sisters before her she could not resist the appeal of these beautiful little flowers which grow abundantly all over my parents property.  And without thinking about it she naturally decided to put a little blossom in her mouth and found it to be delicious!

Lavender Blossoms

If you’ve ever had the privilege of taking a stroll in the South of France in early June,  then you know the intoxicating beauty of a lavender field. As you gaze upon an ocean of purple flowers and breathe in the gentle scent you are both invigorated and infused with a deep and beautiful calm.

Lavender is indeed a scrumptious little flower that is not only infused with an exquisite aroma but contains within it’s little bud many healing properties. A member of the mint family native to the Mediterranean region it has been used for centuries as a natural remedy for a variety of ailments.  The healing powers of this little gem come from it’s essential oils:

  • Linalool and linalyl aldehyde increase one’s threshold to pain and inhibits hormonal reactions that cause inflammation
  • Eucalyptol has analgesic as well as anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal and anti-microbial properties.

And of course the delicious aroma of lavender has made it a favorite ingredient in perfumery for centuries!

Lavender was one of the most popular herbs during the Victorian era in England.  Distinguished ladies carried a small “swooning pillow” filled with lavender and camphor in case they should faint.  Lavender was also placed inside bed pillows to induce a restful sleep.

Lavender is most commonly recognized for it’s calming effects and is used as a natural remedy for the treatment of minor ailments such as insomnia, nervousness, anxiety, fatigue, nausea, headaches, upset stomachs and gas.

The aroma of lavender has also been found beneficial in stimulating mental processes in patients with dementia and in alleviating mild  to moderate depression.

Did you know that lavender is an effective treatment for burns?

The healing properties of lavender for burns were first discovered by René-Maurice Gattefossé, who is known as the father of modern aromatherapy.  Gatefossé burned his hand in a  laboratory accident and plunged it into the closest liquid he could find, which happened to be lavender oil.  The pain subsided immediately and his hand healed quickly without any scarring.

“Lavender acts to heal burns by stopping the action of hormone-like substances called prostaglandins, which cause swelling and provoke painful constriction in the area of a burn.  Lavender oil also protects burned skin from bacterial and fungal infections.”
Prescription for Herbal Healing

This makes lavender an effective treatment for sunburns, so make sure to carry a small bottle of quality lavender essential oil whenever you head out for a day for the beach.

The analgesic properties of lavender make it a wonderful choice to soothe bee stings and other insect bites, as well as an effective treatment for acne.

Lavender is also a wonderful ingredient in the kitchen!

  • Sprinkle fresh lavender blossoms on a salad for a tasty treat.
  • Rub fresh or dried blossom on a leg of lamb before roasting and tantalize your taste buds!
  • How about some delicious raw chocolates with lavender blossoms?

Here are a few simple ways you can use lavender:

  • Use fresh or dried lavender blossoms for a calming tea before bed, or any time you need to de-stress. Lavender tea also does wonders for an upset stomach and to reduce the discomforts of excessive gas.
  • Rub a drop or two of lavender essential oil on the soles of your feet before bed.
  • A few drops on your pillow or in a diffuser will lead to a peaceful night
  • Indulge in a lavender bath for a deliciously soothing experience – a few drops of lavender essential oil and Epson salts will do wonders for aching muscles and a restless spirit.
  • A drop behind each ear before an exam or competition eases tension and stimulates the mind.
  • If you are prone to motion sickness gently rub a drop on your wrist before traveling
  • And what better way to keep your linens fresh than with a lavender sachet or quenouille?
  • Place a bouquet of fresh or dried lavender in your home for a fresh and soothing environment.

For moms of babies and young children *

  • Soothe a restless child with a drop of essential oil on the soles of the feet and the back of the hands
  • Lavender oil has also been found as an effective treatment for diaper rash

* A word of caution
It is recommended that pregnant and nursing mothers not use lavender oil.
I would also suggest that you check with your pediatrician or natural doctor before using any essential oil on a baby or young child.  Not all oils are of good quality and in some cases lavender can cause an allergic reaction, so as with all natural remedies, use caution and double check with your health care provider.

Do you have a favorite use for lavender or lavender essential oil?  Or a favorite recipe you’d like to share?

Comments

  1. I just made a batch of lavender madeleines I have been making them using my beautiful plants that are in my garden, they are delectable and yummy.

  2. Ash / Madlemmings says:

    I had no idea Lavender was so useful. I have a garden full of it at the moment. I should try some of these great tips. My only experience before that was as an aroma cure for a hangover when I was at university :> These tips seem far more useful!

  3. Hi Valerie: What a fascinating post! I learned a lot from it.

    I admit that lavender is not my favourite scent or flavour. But I didn’t know it has so many medicinal properties!

    Some chocolate makers are adding lavender to chocolate. I don’t particularly like it, but I’m sure some people (like you) will. Cheers!

  4. I love lavender! I regularly keep a bowl of it near my bed because it helps so well with sleep. Very informative post Valerie!!

  5. I have used lavender in many various forms such as healing and aromatherapy, but I have never considered picking and eating it. Although I am sure if I was a kid, I would be munching on it just as your daughter did 🙂

  6. I have some lavender growing in my front yard. Thanks for the ideas on what I can use it for. It’s a lovely plant.

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  1. […] to food and beverages, they also hold precious nutrients and often have medicinal properties. Lavender is antimicrobial and antibacterial but also promotes relaxation and is wonderful as a soothing tea […]

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