Lavender is one of my favorite flowers. I love the scent, but equally love the benefits that come from the lovely light purple flowers. Lavender has been prized for centuries for it’s calming properties, and as a result it is common to find a host of products at the local big box retailer containing lavender.
I use lavender essential oil, dried flowers and fresh flowers regularly. I frequently diffuse lavender in my house when I need a calming scent. I use lavender scented Castile soap in the shower and to wash my hands. I have started making heat therapy rice bags, and add lavender to the bags for a nice calming touch.
The aromatherapy benefits of lavender are really powerful. Not only is it calming, but it is known for it’s pain relieving properties, for it’s ability to kill bacteria, and for it’s ability to help with insomnia.
To take advantage of lavender’s great benefits, you can easily use it in homemade household cleaners and personal care products. It is a great plant to grow in your garden for use as well.
But did you know that lavender is also an herb that you can eat? I will admit that for a long time I saw lavender as a pretty flower that was great for topical use only. I had no idea that lavender can be consumed. That was, until I tasted my first lavender infused chocolate from a local chocolatier. It was heavenly! And it opened my eyes to new possibilities for the lovely, purple, fragrant flower.
One warning about purchasing lavender from local nurseries, florists and garden centers. Most of the lavender sold by these types of businesses has been highly treated with pesticides and should not be consumed. I usually grow some fresh lavender each year. I also purchase bulk lavender flower that has been produced specifically for consumption. You may also be able to find a local farm that grows lavender that is pesticide free and safe for consumption. We have a couple of growers here in my area where I purchased plants before growing my own plants from seed.
So what are some ways that you can incorporate lavender in your meals? Well, it can actually be substituted in recipes that call for rosemary, such as potatoes and bread. Another great way to get the health benefits of tea is to make lavender tea.
- ½ cup dried lavender flowers
- 4-6 cups of water
- Heat the water until boiling.
- Remove the water from heat.
- Add lavender flowers to hot water
- Allow to steep for 5-10 minutes.
- Strain out the flowers and enjoy!
One way that I am using lavender is to make an infused balsamic vinegar. I am just looking for some new ways to add flavor to my balsamic vinegar to make things a little different and was intrigued by the combination of the vinegar and the lavender together. When purchasing balsamic vinegar, it is best to purchase a brand that is certified organic. Non-organic brands tend to contain caramel coloring which is a known cancer causer. It’s a great time to start thinking outside of the box in regards to using lavender. It’s not just for cleaning or personal care anymore!