Organic Emily

Growing and Using Medicinal Herbs: Lavender

Lavender Plant

I love lavender!  It serves so many purposes both in the garden and home!  Lavender is easy to grow, beautiful, aromatic and attracts honey bees and other beneficial insects into the garden.  It is a sun loving, drought tolerant perennial and grows best in well draining soil.   Look for babies that come up every year and replant them in areas they can fill in.   You can also divide the root ball once the bush is large enough at about 3 years old.  Most types of lavender are medicinal.  Highly regarded varieties are L. officinalis and L. angustifolia.

In the home I use it with chamomile and lemon balm to make a relaxing tea or infuse a cup of lavender tea into fresh lemonade!  Lavender icing on sweet sugar cookies is quite a gourmet treat too!  It’s easy to make an infused calming lavender massage oil and headache tincture.  I’ll show you how later in the post.

Harvesting Lavender

Harvested Lavender

This week I have been harvesting my lavender buds just before they bloom into full flower.  If you harvest the flowers when they are in full bloom the medicinal properties won’t be as strong or last as long.  Dry your flower buds in a basket under the shade of a tree, or hung upside down in a cool dry room in the house or in a dehydrator on the lowest setting at around 95 degrees or lower.

Laveder Jar

Once the buds are completely dry, remove them from their stems and place in a glass jar with a lid.  Lavender has profound calming and uplifting effects.  It has been used as a mild anti-depressant for many years.  It’s also great for tension headaches and insomnia.  I always have a bottle of lavender essential oil around to use as an antiseptic.  It’s antibacterial and antifungal properties helps to keep scrapes and burns clean and free from infection.  Essential oil from the lavender plant has been known as the “First Aid in a Bottle” because it is so versatile!  It’s ability to take the sting out of a bee sting or other insect bites is unbeatable!  It even helps take the pain out of burns and cuts.  Try a few of these fabulous recipes from my favorite book by Rosemary Gladstar, “Medicinal Herbs, A Beginners Guide”.

Calming and Antiseptic Lavender Spray

This recipe is simple, extremely versatile and safe for everyone!

7 tablespoons purified water

1 tablespoon witch hazel extract

10 drops lavender essential oil

1 (4 ounce) spritzer bottle

Place all ingredients into the bottle and shake well before using.  You can use it to mist bedsheets, a car or other rooms in the house.  I like to spray it on cuts and scrapes as an antiseptic.  It’s also great for spraying on public door nobs or on hands as a cleaner.

Lavender-Feverfew  Migraine and Headache Tincture

1 part lavender buds

1 part feverfew leaf and flower

80-proof alcohol, unpasteurized apple cider vinegar or glycerin

Place the herbs in a quart jar and cover with alcohol by an inch.  Place on counter for 3-4 weeks in a visible place and shake every day.  Strain with cheese cloth and keep in a dark blue or amber bottle out direct sunlight.

To Use:

For long term use for migraine headaches, take 1/2 teaspoon 2x a day for up to 3 months.  Discontinue use for 3 to 4 weeks and them repeat the cycle.  For severe acute situations take 1/4 teaspoon every 20-30 minutes for up to 2 hours.  Do not use during menstruation because it can stimulate bleeding.

 

Calming Lavender Massage Oil

1 1/2 ounces dried lavender buds

4 ounces nut or seed oil (apricot, grapeseed or almond)

10 drops lavender essential oil

1 glass quart jar

Pour oil over lavender buds.  Cover with lid and let sit in a sunny warm spot for 2-3 weeks.  Strain the buds out of the oil and place in jar.  Add the essential oil and keep in a cool dry spot for up to 6 months.  Use in a bath or for massage.

Emily Saddler

Emily is a Master Gardener, wife of a professional landscape contractor, Mom of 4 cute kids, Yoga instructor and very passionate advocate of organic home-grown food! Emily maintains a blog called “The Organic Suburban Farm Girl” where she shares gardening advice, delicious recipes made with fresh, organic ingredients and her escapades as the keeper of both backyard chickens and honeybees!

Comments

  1. Katrina says:

    I got to attend one of your classes last year. I’ve wanted to come to more but haven’t been able to. I’m so excited you’re blogging! I can get the info at random moments that way. Is that top picture from your own garden? That’s just the kind of thing I want to learn how to put together and maintain. I want a garden that’s beautiful but also useful. Thank you for sharing what you know!

  2. Carol Boswell says:

    Your new layout is attractive and informative. I’ve lots of lavender… is there a way I can make essential oil out of it?

    • organicemily says:

      It is very difficult and expensive to make essential oils. I am not aware of a way to extract the essential oils without expensive equipment.

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