Lovely Lavender: Pretty is Only the BeginningMay 31, 2021 05:30PM ● By Adrienne Crombie
Say lavender and the first thing that comes to mind is the color and the color of lavender is a visual portal to the many remarkable benefits of the herb. Associated with the Crown Chakra, violet is the highest color in the visible spectrum. Simply gazing upon the color of the lavender flower can raise our vibration to a higher level. Because the color lavender also has a very calming effect on us it can be very helpful for those people experiencing sleep difficulties or stress. An important aspect of well-being, sleep quality is closely related to overall quality of life, secretion of the stress hormone, cortisol, and the immune system.
After the color, the next association may be with the scent of lavender. A whiff of fresh lavender and one seems to experience an immediate sense of calm. A lavender sachet under the pillow can restore restful sleep. Research shows that the scent of lavender actually increases the type of brain waves associated with relaxation, the low-frequency (theta and delta) brain waves, which may increase deep sleep, improve individual sleep quality and lower stress. Try adding crushed, dried lavender buds to an Epsom salt bath for a lovely fragrance that will also help to soothe tired nerves and relax muscles.
Perhaps the most amazing attribute of lavender is found in the healing properties of the essential oil. Oil of lavender is extracted from the flower through the distillation process, similar to distillation of alcohol. When applied topically to the skin, essential oil of lavender has remarkable abilities. It soothes irritation, smooths wrinkles and, because of its anti-bacterial properties, it is known to heal minor scrapes and burns. Oil of lavender contains the phytochemical linalyl acetate, which imparts much of the fragrance of lavender and is also a powerful anti-inflammatory and analgesic.
If you’re looking for a natural way to fight household germs, try lavender. In ancient Rome, people added lavender to the water at public baths not only for its relaxing qualities but also to help keep the water germ-free. Lavender water in a spray bottle is a good idea for teachers too. Sprayed in the air, it will disinfect the classroom and calm the students at the same time.
Acting internally, lavender’s chemical properties help with digestion. Be sure you use a culinary grade of lavender bud, as some varieties of lavender are very high in camphor and are more suitable for topical application than for culinary use. The culinary buds may be steeped in hot water for a fragrant and relaxing tea and there are a plethora of recipes using lavender in both sweet and savory dishes.
Lavender growing in the Northeast comes into full bloom and is ready for harvest in June and into July. There are often opportunities for Pick Your Own Lavender if there is a lavender farm in your area and now is the time to stock up on this wonderfully versatile and beneficial herb. Freshly harvested bunches should be hung upside down in a dark, well ventilated room to dry for approximately 10 days. The dried bud may be stored in glass jars for up to a year.
Adrienne Crombie and Don Dalen own Mad Lavender Farm, located at 452 County Road 579, in Milford. For information and events, visit MadLavenderFarm.com. See ad, page 15.
Lavender Water Disinfectant
1 cup fresh or 1.2 cup dried lavender flowers
Sheer cloth bag or cheesecloth
Glass container (one that can withstand boiling water)
1-pint sterilized plastic or glass spray bottle
Put the flowers in the bag or tie them in a square of cheesecloth.
Place the bag or cheesecloth in the glass container.
Boil 1 pint clean tap or bottled water. Pour into the glass container.
Cover the container and let it cool. Remove the bag or cloth containing the lavender flowers from the container, gently squeezing the excess moisture into the container.
Pour the lavender water into the spray bottle and store it out of the sunlight in a cool place.
An alternative method is to add a few drops of essential oil of lavender to 1 pint distilled water.
Start with 3 to 5 drops and increase the amount if you would like a stronger lavender scent.
Pour a pint of boiling water over one ounce of dried culinary lavender buds or 2 ounces of the fresh flower in a non-metallic pots.
Steep for about 10 minutes, strain and sweeten to taste with honey.
Lavender tea will keep for about 4 to 6 weeks. Don’t use the tea if a dark ring shows in the bottle or if there is a dark scum on top of the water. It’s best to label the bottle with the date you made the batch and update the label every time you make a fresh batch.
Courtesy of Adrienne Crombie, Mad Lavender Farm