Lavender Love

Health Benefits

Lavender is much more than just a scent added to candles or bath salts. Today, it’s considered a staple in calming and wellness routines. It’s also commonly used in therapeutic remedies to improve mood and other physical ailments. As for most herbs, the benefits aren’t consistent for everyone, but next time you’re looking to try something new, give lavender a try. Throughout the ages it has been known to

  • improve sleep;
  • decrease stress levels;
  • treat blemishes, eczema and inflammation;
  • remedy pain naturally;
  • reduce blood pressure and heart rate;
  • relieve symptoms of menopause;
  • combat fungus growth; and
  • stimulate hair growth.

Beyond the Stem

Lavender can be purchased and found in many different forms. Here are just a few:

  • Lavender plant: a perennial that gives off a sweet aroma. It grows outdoors in Washington, so keep an eye out the next time you’re walking through your neighborhood.
  • Lavender oil: created by extracting the liquid or “nectar” from the flower; commonly used as massage oil or as a scent in a diffuser or on fabrics.
  • Lavender tea: offers many benefits such as promoting calmness and relaxation. According to Healthline, lavender tea can help ease nausea, vomiting and intestinal gas.
  • Lavender supplements: used to combat anxiety and depression as well as intestinal issues. Some people add lavender to their diet to combat hair loss or pain.

What You Didn’t Know

Lavender in mortar and pestle

  • Lavender is part of the mint family.
  • It repels mosquitoes and moths.
  • Using lavender to ease insomnia and back pain dates back to the ancient Greeks.
  • Lavender was also used during the bubonic plague in the 17th century to cleanse the air and bodies from disease.
  • Nectar from lavender is used to make honey.
  • Lavender comes in more than just the well-known purple hue; varieties include blue, pink or yellow.

Make It Today: Lavender Oil

  1. Cut the stems and flowers of your lavender in six-inch segments. For a stronger scent, aim for more flowers than stems and leaves.
  2. Let the lavender dry.
  3. Crush the lavender and place it in a jar—be sure to use a clean and dry jar so you don’t contaminate the mixture with other odors or water.
  4. Pour non-scented oil into the jar, completely covering the lavender but also leaving one to two inches of space at the top to allow for expansion (try almond oil, olive oil or sunflower oil).
  5. Cover the jar tightly and let sit for 48 hours in a sunny location.
  6. Strain the mixture with muslin or a cheesecloth over a bowl, discarding the lavender pieces and keeping the oil.
  7. Repeat the process with the same oil to invoke a stronger smell.
  8. Store the mixture in a dark bottle.

More Reflections

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