If You Have to Pick One Herb for Your Garden, Choose Lavender.

All lavender is fragrant and fantastic for medicinal, cosmetic, and culinary uses. Lavandula angustifolia, in its many varieties, are low maintenance and drought tolerant plants.  Southern Idaho's alkaline soils are conducive to growing lavender. . Although lavender can tolerate a variety of growing conditions, this plant thrives best under warm, sunny conditions in well-drained soil. In addition, an alkaline soil rich in organic matter can encourage higher plant oil production, enhancing the fragrance in lavender plants.

Medicinal Uses 

excerpt from Wellness Mama

Originating from southern Europe and parts of Africa, Asia, and India, many ancient and medieval cultures relied on the herb not just for its signature scent but also its pain relieving and sedative properties.

Thanks to its linalool and linalyl acetate components (which are present even when diffusing), lavender has protective effects shown to:

  • Stabilize mood
  • Improve sleep
  • Soothe nerves
  • Work as an expectorant
  • Balance blood sugar
  • Kill bacteria
  • Relieve pain
  • Speed wound healing

Proven Benefits of Lavender

Lavender for Better Sleep

There’s a reason lavender is used in so many of my DIY creations. It is well known for its ability to relax the mind and improve quality of sleep. In one 2006 study, sleep-deprived college students inhaled either lavender or a placebo. Those who used lavender slept more soundly and felt more refreshed upon waking up.

More study is needed to determine whether it is safe to use during breastfeeding (it’s generally not recommended at this time), but it’s exciting to see emerging research on how lavender might help women during the crucial postpartum time. Improving postpartum sleep (or what little we mothers get anyway) sounds like a worthy cause to me!

Lavender for Anxiety and Depression

On a similar note, many studies show interesting applications for lavender for memory, mood, and overall cognitive function. Just the odor of lavender seemed to help various test groups stay relaxed and focused when asked to do various stressful tasks, or improved their ability to recover feelings of wellbeing after exposure to stress.

Researchers continue to examine the possibilities for lavender in the treatment of dementia, anxiety, depression, and various neurological disorders.

(I don’t know if those symptoms bring this to mind for anyone else… but lavender’s soothing effects also make it great for managing PMS!)

Lavender for Skin Care

Due to its anti-inflammatory effects and ability to scavenge free radicals, lavender has a place in skin care. As is so common in the health world, controversy surrounds the subject of whether it is a skin irritant or a skin protectant, but this article by Robert Tisserand explains the reasons why its benefits outweigh any risks. (Risks are slight, in his informed opinion).

Give lavender a try in your DIY beauty routine. Use a quality oil (I like Plant Therapy) and the proper dilution for skin. If there’s any concern about sensitive skin, try a test run on a small spot in the inner elbow.

Lavender for First Aid and Wound Healing

Studies (and much anecdotal experience) show that lavender reduces pain and itching from bug bites, bee stings, and even burns. In fact one 2011 study examined the benefits of lavender in healing episiotomies and another 2013 study showed lavender aromatherapy relieved pain after c-section.

Lavender for Hair Growth

A 2016 study on mice showed lavender is an effective proponent of hair growth and significantly increased the number and health of hair follicles when applied in proper dilution daily for a period of 4 weeks. The properties make it great for healthy, shiny hair in general. (Recipes for these treatments below.)

This herb has many benefits here are 5 simple ways to use your harvest

  1. Crush fresh flowers and spread it on your legs & arms to help repel flies & mosquitoes while sitting outside in the summer.
  2. Use lavender in soothing and calming bath salts to relieve tension, stress, and insomnia.  
    To make 12 ounces of Lavender and Rosemary Bath Salts mix these ingredients in a non-reactive bowl or glass jar:
    • 1/2 cup Epsom salt
    • 1/2 cup Dead Sea salt
    • 1/2 cup oatmeal, powdered in a blender
    • 1 tablespoon dried rosemary
    • 1 tablespoon dried lavender buds
    • 1 tablespoon olive oil
    • 8 to 10 drops of lavender essential oil
      Combine the ingredients and mix well. Transfer it to a mason jar with a lid and let it rest for a couple of days so the essential oils are incorporated. Add a handful of lavender bath salts to warm bath water. The Epsom Salts in this recipe help relieve sore muscles and the lavender will help relieve stress. Enjoy!
  3. Make lavender antiseptic spritzer with 1 cup water, 2 tablespoons of lavender infused witch hazel, 5-10 drops of lavender essential oil – all placed in an 8 oz spray bottle.
  4. Make lavender lemonade with this recipe from Small Footprint Family. It uses honey, lemons, and lavender. Simple and scrumptious!
  5. In a tincture – Used for medicinal purposes since ancient times, a lavender tincture can promote relaxation and sleep.

Resources:

Read more at Gardening Know How: Lavender In The Garden: Information And Growing Lavender Tips https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/edible/herbs/lavender/lavender-in-the-garden-information-and-growing-lavender-tips.htm

10 things to make using Lavender: https://thenerdyfarmwife.com/10-things-to-make-with-lavender/

Lavender Uses from Wellness Mama: https://wellnessmama.com/7041/lavender-uses/

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