Kathryn Gassaway, Plantopia Gifts, Vendor Contributor for the Mid Week Madeira Beach Morning Market
Natures Essential Oils & Hydrosols ~The Wonders of Lavender
Currently there are over 115 varieties of lavender. The one that most of us are familiar with is the Provence variety, or Lavandula Angustifolia. It is an evergreen, woody shrub, about 3 feet tall with pale green narrow linear leaves with spikes of violet-blue blossoms.
The lavender plant was first discovered by the Romans and has been revered for 1,000’s of years for its healing & aromatherapy properties. Many of us have heard that it can help us to relax and to have a restful sleep. It is a primary ingredient in “Herbs De Provence” and as an herb/spice is often used in baking breads and desserts. Lavender tea and lemonade are two of my personal favorites. Dried lavender bouquets and pouches are used to decorate and fragrance the home. We think of lavender as synonymous with England and yet it is not native to Northern Europe. Most likely brought there by the Romans, it is native to the warmer climates of the Mediterranean. So prized for its scent and aromatherapy properties, the medicinal uses are often over looked. This loved and cherished little herb, has been given credit for warding off evil spirits, stopping the plague and helping young maidens find true love. Yet no one seems to remember that it is one of the most gentle and powerful antiseptics, great for little cuts, burns and boo-boos. It also has some natural analgesic (pain killing) properties that can take the sting out of a skinned knee in just a few seconds. Listed below are a few ways to enjoy the wonders of lavender.
Dried Lavender Blossoms:
Place a pouch of dried lavender blossoms inside your pillowcase for a restful sleep.
Keep a pouch in your linen closet to gently scent your towels and sheets.
Add dried lavender to you potpourris.
Add ¼ cup of dried blossoms to one cup sugar and allow it to sit for a few weeks. After you strain out the blossoms you will have and infused lavender sugar to use in teas or for baking. You can also add ¼ cup of blossoms into a cup of vinegar, allow it to sit for a few weeks and then strain to use the infused vinegar for salad dressings.
Organic Lavender Hydrosol/Floral Water:
Lavender hydrosol is often used as a linen spray and aroma spray to freshen the house.
The natural ph level of the hydrosol and the antiseptic qualities make it ideal to use as a facial toner or as an aftershave.
The hydrosol is excellent as an antiseptic for cuts, burns and small boo-boos.
Very hydrating and soothing as a spray to sunburn skin.
Pure Lavender Essential Oil:
(Analgesic, antimicrobial, antiseptic, antidepressant, antispasmodic, insecticide, hypotensive, parasiticide, stimulant & sedative)
For a natural alternative to artificial fragranced dryer sheets, add a few drops of lavender essential oil on a wet rag and add it with your clothes into your dryer.
Lavender essential oil can be added to the bath or shower to help you relax.
You can buy unscented liquid soaps and add a few drop of the essential oil to bath, laundry or dish soap.
20 drops to 2 ounces of grapeseed oil or jojoba oil makes a wonderful after bath body or massage oil.
For a facial steam add 5 drops added to hot water in the bathroom sink, toss a towel over your head and give it five minutes, very cleansing.
Add 20 drops to a 20 ounce spray bottle filled half & half with water and vinegar to use for an all purpose cleanser.
Lavender has been used to relieve headaches, insomnia and nervous tension when inhaled or absorbed through the skin.
For more ideas and information or to purchase the above mentioned products, please visit us on Tuesdays at the Gulfport Fresh Market.
Next month’s topic: “Rosemary, Beyond the Garden…”
Natural Botanicals For
Body, Bath & Home