Lavender is one of our most popular garden plants. It is an evergreen shrub that bears beautiful cut flowers. For many of us lavender is a quintessential herb: as it smells good, looks good and does you good. It is a perfumer's plant. It's fragrant oil is used in perfumes, cosmetics, soap, polish, sprays and it is often grown to attract bees and butterflies.
Use the flowers and leaves sparingly in cooking as it has a strong spicy aroma.
- Add 6 flower heads to a litre of juice when making apple jelly. Remove it before bottled.
- You can add a lavender taste to honey by adding the flowers - let it stand for up to 2 weeks before use.
- Use one or two flower buds in salads for added colouring and taste.
- Use the flowers to flavour sugar for making biscuits and cakes. It tastes very nice in scones.
- Flowers can be crystallized to decorate dessert a confectionary.
- Instead of Rosemary you can add a few twigs off lavender when preparing chicken.
- Add a few leaves to flavour roast lamb.
It is said that lavender is a calming herb.
Lavender essential oil:
- Is antiseptic and has healing properties on burns and blisters. It is a specific treatment for burns as it is anti-inflammatory and analgesic - it promotes healing of the tissue and if applied quickly, can prevent scarring. It soothes pain and improves the recovery of burns.
- It's antibacterial properties help skin ailments. Add a few drops to chamomile cream for eczema.
- Add a drop of oil to the bath to calm children and relax adults.
- Apply a drop of lavender oil or lavender vinegar on the temples to eases headache.
- Hair rinse: Dilute 5-10 drops of oil in water for lice and use a few drops of neat oil on a fine comb for nits.
- 1tsp salt + 5 drops of lavender essential oil - mix together, put it in a small container and sniff it when you feel stressed.
Tea with the flowers:
- Add a few drops of oil to a little water and apply to sunburn and scald. As an after-care for dry leathery looking skin after sunburn: dilute it at 2% in basic vegetable oil and apply twice daily.
- Apply to cuts, scrapes, earache, insect bites and stings.
- Will treat nervous exhaustion, tension headaches, during labour, colic and indigestion.
- A weak infusion ( 25% of normal strength) can be given to babies for colic, irritability and excitement.
- It will help you sleep.
- Burn lavender stalks/flowers to disinfect/deodorise/perfume the room - it has a calming and soothing effect.
- It is a good mosquito, midge, and fly repellent. Rub lavender onto kitchen counters to discourage flies. Sprinkle a few drops of oil on bed linen to repel mosquitoes. Place cachets of dried flowers and leaves with clothes to deter moths.