The hardy yet humble lavender plant embodies healing properties that benefit the mind and body. Find out how this garden favorite can help relieve stress, aid insomnia, fight depression and more!
1. Lavender flowers (fresh or dried) emit a strong, aromatic, uplifting scent when crushed between the fingers. For a quick mood pick-me-up or instant stress relief, crush and roll between your fingers a few of the flower buds and inhale the scent slowly and deeply. The combination of breathing deeply and inhaling the lavender scent will calm nervous tension, anxiety and panicky feelings within minutes.
2. A relaxing, soothing tea can be made from the flowers. Just put one heaping tablespoon of the fresh or dried flowers in a tea pot, and pour boiling water into the pot. Infuse for about ten minutes. This tea calms the nerves, settles the stomach and “butterflies” and induces sleep.
3. Lavender essential oil can be applied like a perfume to the hair, neck, ears or other body parts. Smells delicious!
4. Add several drops of lavender oil to your bath for a soothing soak, or just add a generous handful of the fresh or dried flowers if you don’t have the essential oil.
5. To make sleep more restful, drip a few drops of lavender oil on your pillow. Another option is to wrap a handful of the dried flowers in a cheesecloth sachet, tie and throw in your pillowcase.
6. To soothe a sunburn, add a few drops of the essential oil to water in a spray bottle, and mist sunburned skin.
7. Wrap a handful of lavender flowers in a square of cheesecloth and tie with a string. You can also drip a few drops of essential oil onto the sachet for an extra aromatherapy boost. Throw the sachet in your dryer to make your clothes smell great. This will freshen up to 25 dryer loads!
8. Apply lavender essential oil to insect bites and stings, cuts, scrapes and abrasions. Lavender is very anti-septic and helps destroy germs that can cause infections.
9. Infuse fresh or dried lavender flowers as if to make a tea. But instead of drinking it, let it cool down and use as a hair rinse to reduce dandruff.
10. Pulverized lavender flowers can add a unique and delightful flavor to salads, custards, jams, jellies and cookies, especially sugar cookies. It is a culinary relative to mint, sage, marjoram and thyme and can be used in the same fashion as these herbs. Lavender is so versatile in the kitchen, that virtually any experimentation with it will yield favorable results.