Lavender – (Lavandula Augustifolia, Lavender Officinalis) – Lavender is a favorite herb and is used to make a wonderful oil with many uses. Every medicine cabinet should contain at least one bottle of lavender essential oil.
Lavender is an antidepressant and antiseptic. The scent can be surprising because it is not sweet. It is long-lasting and light with woody undertones and some say it smells more like medicine than a flower.
Lavender essential oil is used to help heal burns, acne, athlete’s foot, dandruff, eczema, psoriasis, boils, abscesses, bruises, and insect bites. It helps reduce swelling, fungal growths, scarring, and stretch marks. Lavender oil promotes rapid healing. It is one essential oil that can be applied to the skin in its undiluted state. Just dab it on a sting or bug bite for immediate relief.
Lavender restores balance, can ease headache pain, and aids restful sleep. It helps relieve flu symptoms, bronchial problems, hay fever, and asthma. Lavender can help stop nausea and vomiting. It aids in the digestion of fats and can help lower blood pressure. Just put a drop or two on a napkin and inhale the vapors or add 10 to 12 drops to a hot bath and soak for a while.
Lavender helps alleviate stress and reduces nervous tension. It makes a wonderful massage oil when combined with olive or grape seed oil. Lavender also makes a soothing rub for arthritis and rheumatism.
Lavender oil was a key ingredient in smelling salts. It has been used for centuries to relieve fainting spells. Tinctures were made out of lavender flowers to use as mouthwash although the taste is a little like soap and not very pleasant.
Lavender oil contains more than 100 chemicals compounds that calm the central nervous system. It is used to treat depression and other nervous conditions.
There are many non-medical uses for lavender oil. It can be rubbed into oak furniture to give a high gloss. It repels moths, fleas, silverfish, and flies. Lavender oil is an essential ingredient in many fragrances and perfumes.
The lavender plant makes a fine addition to the home garden. It is a woody perennial that grows from one to four feet tall. The fragrant blossoms are deep purple to bright blue. The leaves are gray green. Lavender requires full sun and rapidly draining soil. Lavender plants should be kept on the dry side. Propagate from seeds or stem cuttings.
Lavender can be difficult to grow in the humid conditions of southern summers. Raised beds offer a solution for drainage problems. A mulch of pea gravel or flat stones can help with the humidity problems. (Heat reflecting from the rocks can help keep the foliage dry.) Placing plants far enough apart so that air can freely circulate is also recommended. Lavender is worth the extra effort as it makes a beautiful addition to the herb garden or flower border.