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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Do you grow lavender or use it in your home?
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.