For the Love of Lavender


Lavender

Lavender is the common name of a flowering evergreen perennial plant that is of the family genus Lavandula. Its delightful fresh, floral scent and lovely lavender colour makes it one of the most easily recognized and popular flowers in the world. 

History

Lavender (Lavandula) is a plant native to the Mediterranean and is a member of the Lamiaceae (mint) family. It derives its name from the Latin 'lavare' meaning 'to wash” as it was often used in baths and laundry for its fragrant properties. Ancient Egyptians used lavender oil for its scent and in the mummification process, while Romans burned it as incense and used it in baths and cooking. Popular in the Middle Ages, lavender was also used as a strewing herb, scattered over the floors of kitchens, dining areas and bedrooms not only for its scent, but also for its insect repelling qualities. Throughout history, it was also used to clean cuts, wounds and to soothe skin irritation. 

Versatile Plant

Today, lavender has a broad range of uses. Lavender essential oil is steam distilled from the flowering tops. It is widely used in skin care, and in aromatherapy, as a middle note in blends with its balancing and distinctive fragrance.
Lavender is also used as a culinary herb. In fact, it lends a pleasing, pungent aroma as an ingredient to the dried herb mix, Herbes de Provence.
Grown as an ornamental, lavender is hardy and easy to maintain, even in Nova Scotia's climate. Given a sunny, dry garden plot, it can even thrive in poor rocky soil. It is grown in cutting gardens to use in bouquets, and when dried, hold its colour and shape well. 
Try a sachet bag of lavender in your closet or drawers. It will not only scent linen and clothes, but will keep pesky bugs at bay. And speaking of bugs, try dabbing a diluted drop or two of lavender essential oil (in a carrier oil) on your pulse points - behind the ears and the inside of wrists. It can help repel blackflies and mosquitoes. You may need to reapply often, but you will smell so good! 

Lavender Essential Oil

Lavender oil has many qualities that makes it truly indispensable.

  • Since it is a nervine, lavender can alleviate tension, anxiety, stress and insomnia by its calming qualities.
  • Lavender's anti-inflammatory properties help soothe and calm all skin types.
  • It has natural antibiotic and antiseptic properties which promotes healing and prevents scarring.
  • Applied (diluted) at the temples or inhaled, it can be effective for headache and migraine relief.
  • Repels insects (see above).

On a Personal Note

I've grown lavender since I was a teenager, and that wasn't yesterday! Loved the plant, but I have to admit I wasn't fond of its scent. It was only after working with lavender in our production studio that this changed. We became "friends". What I formerly interpreted as an unpleasant medicinal scent is now a pleasing, sweet and floral one. Funny how this happens... I'm always open to lessons from the natural world. While running Earth Elementals, I've faced loss of both parents and a couple of dear friends. Perhaps at this point in my life, I needed this plant ally to help heal grief and move forward. 

It grows well in Hammonds Plains, Nova Scotia, zone 5b. When in bloom, it attracts beneficial pollinators such as butterflies, bumblebees and honeybees. The deer, hare and woodchucks seem to ignore lavender in the garden which is an added bonus, especially when your home and gardens are surrounded by woods. 

I have the best luck with the variety, 'Munstead', 'Hidcote' being my second choice. As a recent convert to the lavender fan club, I enjoy growing it and using it in the studio day to day! It even self seeds! Having lots of lavender babies this year to plant, I'm off to plot and plan next year's lavender garden expansion...

Do you enjoy lavender in your natural body care routine? Please check out our array of lavender infused products. Try our skin soothing lavender oatmeal or lavender patch soap bars. They're always best sellers! Light up our lavender + patchouli candle for a fragrant calming-balancing aroma that will help you unwind from a stressful work day. For soothing and moisturizing dry skin, try our lavender + patchouli bath & body oil, or indulge yourself with a relaxing bath with our soaking salts. To check out all of lavender product offerings, just type "lavender" in the Search box at the top of the page.

 

Take care,

 

 

 


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