Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Day 2 ~ Lavender

Yes, my lavender is upside down. It's been cut and hung to dry. 

I love the smell of lavender. It is the scent I use most in my homemade soaps and bath salts. Lavender not only has a lovely scent but it also has many benefits. It is one of the most versatile herbs which can be used for a wide range of ailments. 

The Latin word lavare (lavender) means "to wash". Lavender was used by Egyptians for embalming, added to bath water in Ancient Rome, used by the monks during the Middle Ages, fought infection during the Renaissance, and during the Victorian Era lavender was used for to repel insects yet attract suitors (I don't think citronella can boast both of these claims!).  Cleopatra also used lavender to entice both Julius Caesar and Mark Anthony.

Lavender's aroma is relaxing so it's no surprise that it can aid in eliminating, or lessening, the effects of depression, insomnia, anxiety and headaches (even migraines). Aromatherapists say that is gives balance. I can use some of that. Topically lavender is nourishing to the skin which makes lavender useful for dandruff, acne, eczema and dry skin.

Lavender candle (it's my inspiration this morning) and my garden lavender in olive oil 
I've used lavender in my soaps in two ways. I make an infusion by filling a jar quite full with lavender petals and topping with oil. The oil must be one which remains in it's liquid state such as castor oil, olive oil, almond oil, etc. I put my jar of lavender oil on a shelf in the kitchen so that I can gently turn it during the day. The longer it sits the better. Weeks, even months, I've let mine sit before using. When I'm ready to make soap or lotion I just strain off the oil. I also add lavender essential oils to my soap/lotion recipes. 

This summer I decided to add a lavender plant to my herb garden. When I buy lavender, I get the pretty purple flowers so when I was harvesting I was surprised at how fragrant the leaves were. Instead of pulling off the leaves and flowers I decided to shove my whole clippings into the jar. Can't wait to make some lemon-lavender shampoo bars!

1 comment:

  1. I am in love with lavender too and have been posting up a storm about all the lovely things you can do with this wonderful plant :) I like the soap idea with the infused olive oil!