All About Lavender: The Herb of the Month for April 2016

Lavender is the herb of herbs with many valuable uses as a medicine, kitchen ingredient, and skin care addition. Learn more about lavender with this herbal monograph.

All About Lavender, The Herb of the Month for April 2016

Though I grow many herbs in my garden at home, lavender is one I have struggled to keep alive. Apparently it likes lighter, well-drained soil, and I have repeatedly planted it in heavier clay. Then it dies.

However, I am determined to learn how to grow lavender and make it thrive! It’s an incredible herb that deserves a comfy spot to proliferate. Can you imagine having so much lavender that you don’t know what to do with it all?

There are so many uses for lavender in the home. Teas, extracts, honeys, vinegars, baked goods, baths, and skin care can all be enhanced with the addition of lavender! It is the quintessential herb and a perfect one to try if herbs are new to you.

I’m delighted to share more about lavender in our Herb of the Month post for April. Be sure to get your copy of the free printable herb card and enter this month’s giveaway at the end of the post, too! Mountain Rose Herbs has put together a lovely lavender set that you don’t want to miss.

Basic Information

Botanical Name

Lavendula angustifolia

Description

Lavender is a flowering herb that grows as a small shrub with woody stems and gray-green leaves that are somewhat evergreen and resemble rosemary in size and shape. The plant sends up tall slender stems in the summer, topped with purple flower heads of many individual blossoms. These flower heads, which can also come in various shades of violet, pink, and blue, then open through the summer. The plant grows as a perennial in most climates but may die in the winter if extremely cold.

Parts Used

Flowers

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Uses

Actions in the Body

  • Lavender is a carminative, meaning that it can help relieve uncomfortable gas from digestion.
  • It is a relaxant nervine, gently calming and toning the nervous system.
  • As an antidepressant, it encourages mental wellness.
  • Abdominal cramping and tension headaches can be improved through its anti-spasmodic action.

Suggested Uses

Lavender can be taken as an infusion with one teaspoon of flowers steeped in one cup of freshly boiled water. This should be allowed to infuse while covered for 10-15 minutes before straining. It can be taken three times a day and is an especially fitting tea for relaxing the end of the day. Similarly, lavender flowers can be placed in a muslin bag and placed under running bath water for an herbal bath.

For an herbal oil or salve, lavender can be infused in warm oil for 3-4 hours, then strained. The remaining oil can be used as is or thickened with beeswax to form a salve.

Lavender makes a unique addition to the kitchen, as well. Dried flowers may be infused in honey or vinegar for 2 weeks, then strained, resulting in a naturally flavored end product. Flowers may also be added to lightly sweetened baked goods for a delicate flavor.

Safety Considerations

Lavender is an extremely gentle herb that is safe for young children and pregnant/breastfeeding mothers. No known side effects or drug interactions are recorded.

Lavender has so many wonderful uses in the kitchen, bath, and medicine chest. I love this gentle herb! Learn all about it here: All About Lavender, the Herb of the Month for April 2016

Do you grow lavender or use it in your home?

References

Expanded Commission E: Lavender Flower. American Botanical Council. Web. 4 April 2016.

Hawkins, Jessie. Botanical Medicine in the Home. Vintage Remedies, Franklin, Tennessee. 2013. (found here).

Hoffman, David. Medicinal Herbalism. Healing Arts Press, Rochester, Vermont. 2003. (found here).

Lavendula angustifolia. The Ohio State University. Web. 4 April 2016.

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    23 Comments

    1. Hi, I’m hoping you can help me. I have just subscribed and somehow lost the link to be able to get the free printable herb card. Also, is there a way to get the previous months? Thank you, Lisa.

      1. Hi Lisa! Check your email for one from me. 🙂 I might be updating how I organize the herb card bonuses, so keep an eye on your email for that, too. Thanks for subscribing!

    2. Thank you for the useful information! I am trying to grow lavender for the first time and I probably would have used the same kind of soil for the rest of my plants! I’ll be sure to find the right soil or soil mixture for my lavender plants!

      1. The gardening friends I have asked tell me that lavender needs really well drained soil, so just keep that in mind. I hope it grows well for you!

    3. I love lavender! I use lavender essential oil all the time for skin issues and to relax. I’ve used the flowers before in cookies. And I enjoy lavender-scented soaps and lotions–I’ve actually made my own lotion with lavender oil in it.

    4. Honestly, I’m not sure how I’d first use it, it sounds so lovely. There are so many different ways, but anything that may reduce my husband’s constant internal inflammation would be wonderful.

    5. I’ve used lavender on my daughters bum when she had diaper rash, in some toilet bombs I recently made, definitely in the diffuser, etc… 🙂

    6. I have always wanted to grow lavender but I havnt had the space yet. But I plan to some day. It is so beautiful and has so many uses and smells wonderful! I havnt used lavender oil in my home yet because I wasn’t sure how to use it. But I’m learning : )

    7. We use lavender spray on our pillows and in baths. We have also used lavender before to calm hives and poison ivy.

    8. I love the smell of lavender! I’ll have to try my hand at growing this, especially since it’s a perennial.

    9. Thank you for sharing about these different herbs! Your posts are interesting, and lavender is one I’m not so used to using in DIY things, though I would love to do more of that kind of thing. Blessings~

    10. I definitely like to keep lavender around. Currently have two plants started, hoping they will flower out soon!

    11. Lavender is a favorite in our home! I use the flowers in teas and rice packs and making sachets. We use the oil for so many uses that it would be hard to name them all, but a few are for cuts, scratches and bruises, headaches, and calming. My neighbor uses it for her restless leg syndrome and says that she hasn’t found anything better!