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Lavender is the most versatile herb I have used. At one time I had well over a dozen bushes. As it dries in my home, I enjoy the fragrance, as well as the comments from family and friends, "I love the way your house smells!"
Grosso is the variety I use for fragrance. It is a cross between English and Spike Lavender, known as Lavandin. Commonly used for aromatherapy, lavender has more than just a lovely scent. Lavender's properties are used to help relieve stress, depression and sleep problems. A fabric pillow, filled with lavender, can be placed near your bed or under your pillow to help you fall asleep. Give the bag an occasional squeeze to refresh the scent and these bags can last for years.
Sleep pillow, sachets, lavender bundle and salve
A lavender infusion can be made by pouring 32 oz. boiling water over 6 tablespoons of dried lavender. Cover and steep for 30 minutes. The infusion can be used in the bath to soothe skin irritations. You can also pour the infusion into a spray bottle and use it to spray on your face while exercising or to refresh you on a hot day. Keep any unused infusion in the refrigerator and use within a week or two.
Lavender infusion and spray
Lavender essential oil has antiseptic qualities and can be used for fungal problems. The essential oil can be used straight for athlete's foot, bug bites and on minor burns. You can dab the oil on your temple to help to relieve a headache.
I add a dried rose to a lavender bunch and wrap it in a doily and add a bow to make a nice gift to place next to a bed. I also fill sachets with the fragrant herb to give to friends. A muslin bag filled with lavender imparts a wonderful scent to your laundry in the dryer, just like the ladies in the past used to lay their clothes over the lavender bushes to dry!
You can even cook with lavender! Try adding 1 tablespoon to your favorite shortbread or sugar cookie recipe for a very unique taste! I also add lavender to my strawberry jam recipe, yummy! Be sure to use organic lavender. Start out with small amounts, you can always add more, but if you add too much it will taste like perfume! Lavender is much stronger dried so be sure to use 1/2 the amount if the recipe calls for fresh and you only have dried. The variety I like the best for cooking is Hidcote. The Herb Companion magazine is one of my favorites for recipes and information on lavender.
If you want information on growing lavender, do a search on Dave's Garden, where you'll find many gardeners are willing to share their wealth of knowledge.
About Karen Jones
I live in the mountains of San Diego county in a tiny rural town. I inherited a love for gardening from my mother and use herbs and flowers from my garden to make bath products.