This week I wanted to add some color to the blog, and talk about a famous purple flower: Lavender.
Just the thought of this aromatic plant calms me. I have a home-made eye pillow with lavender (and rosemary), and the relaxation effect is so great. It is comforting to smell the lavender and to rest it on my forehead each night. I know people that have chronic headaches who swear by carrying a bottle of lavender essential oil with them and apply a few drops of the oil to their temples at the onset of a headache.
I was surprised to learn of the many uses of lavender beyond just stress relief and a tension headache remedy. Lavender is also a known antispasmodic, antibacterial and antiseptic plant. An article that I read mentioned using a few drops of lavender on a ringworm infection! This is amazing considering the potent anti fungal antibiotic that a doctor would prescribe for such a scary parasite. It’s a whole new approach to self care (and child care) when you first ask yourself ‘what can I do to help the situation,’ and ‘what do I Have already that can help’, then to rush to urgent care, and a huge bill.
The most common type of lavender that is grown are different species of english lavender. I see a lot of ornamental lavender plants and those just don’t have the same healing properties. There are also varietals that are grown specifically for producing essential oils.
In the summertime when the plant is producing its flowers is the time to prune the plant back and dry the flowers for a time you may need them. As in the picture below, hang bundles of the stems to dry and then pull the buds from the stems. The buds can then be soaked in olive oil, and after about a month, strain the buds out with cheese cloth and voila, lavender infused oil! The oil can be applied topically to sooth headaches, minor skin irritations, or ingested as a delicious culinary treat! (Note: In the case of the ringworm situation, this would not be helpful and one would need the essential oil to dry out the infection; I have not tried this since I’ve never experienced ringworm, thankfully.)
I am amazed, each week as I write this blog, at the amount of information (both scientific and metaphysical) that can be gathered about each plant. Below are two article that I referenced in writing this post. I am so thankful for my knowledge of the world of plants and look forward to sharing more in weeks ahead.
Botany-related Source: http://www.ces.ncsu.edu/fletcher/programs/herbs/crops/culinary/lavender_mccoy.html
Other reading: http://www.jenniferschulman.com/content/50-uses-essential-lavender-oil-around-home-and-family#.VWzLdEvPJZg