lavender

Lavender: this versatile, well-known herb has calming and relaxing qualities suitable for use in the body's many systems ...

Common Names: Lavender, Elf Leaf

Botanical Name: Lavendula augustifolia

Family: Laminaceae

Plant Type: Hardy perennial

Parts Used: Flowers and leaves

Flowering: June - September

Lavender is an evergreen plant native to the mountains of the Mediterranean region. It flourishes in sunny, stony habitats and now grows throughout much of Europe and is widely cultivated in North America and Australia.

Description: Growing as a small, brittle shrub, lavender has a much-branched woody stem and narrow gray-green leaves. Small bluish-purple flowers are borne on a slender spike that rises above the foliage. All parts of the plant are aromatic.

Cultivation: Lavender is usually started from cuttings, as it has a long germination time. It prefers light, well-drained soil in full sun, and some varieties are hardy to zone 5. In the first year, a plant should be prevented from flowering to encourage it to grow into a sturdy, compact bush.

Harvesting: Cut flower stems when mostly open. Use fresh or dry.

Culinary Uses: Use flowers and leaves in vinegars, and fruit jellies.

Lavender Magick

Love. Protection. Sleep. Chastity. Longevity. Purification. Happiness. Peace.

Gender: Masculine

Planet: Mercury

Element: Air

Burn the flowers to induce sleep.

Use lavender in love spells and sachets.

Put dried lavender flowers in your drawers and closets to repel negative energy.

Use dried lavender as incense to deepen your meditations and purify your surroundings.

Place a bouquet of dried lavender on your altar to deepen your spiritual connection and expand your awareness.

Herbal Healing with Lavender

Cosmetic Uses: Lavender stimulates and cleanses the skin. Lavender vinegar is good for oily skin.

Medicinal Actions: Analgesic, antibacterial, anticonvulsive, antidepressant (premenstrual syndrome and menopause), antifungal, anti-inflammatory, antirheumatic, antiseptic, antispasmodic, antistress, antitoxic, antitussive, antivenomous, antiviral, aperitive, calmative, carminative, cephalic, cholagogue, cicatrizant, cordial, cytophylactic, decongestant, deodorant, detoxifier, diuretic, emmenagogue, healing (skin), hypotensor, insect repellent, nervine, parasiticide, regenerator (skin tissue), restorative, reviving, sedative (heart), stimulant (respiratory system), stomachic, sudorific, tonic, vermifuge, vulnerary

Medicinal Uses: Lavender infusions can be taken to combat headaches and depression. Lavender makes a good nerve tonic, and was an ingredient in the "smelling salts" used by Victorian ladies. Use lavender to make a compress for chest congestion.

Body Care with Lavender

  • To soothe restlessness, take 1 cup lavender flower infusion up to three times daily, as needed.
  • For a cell-renewing, antiseptic skin tonic, was with triple-strength, cooled lavender flower infusion.

Infusion: 1 teaspoon dried or 2 teaspoons fresh lavender flowers in 1 cup just-boiled water. For triple strength, use 3 teaspoons dried or 6 teaspoons fresh flowers in 1 cup water.

Source: The Essential Herbs Handbook by Lesley Bremness

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INFUSION

Steep the recommended quantity of leaves or flowers of the herb in one cup of just-boiled water for 10 minutes (this makes one dose). Strain before drinking, or leave the herbs as sprigs and simply remove them. Always cover infusions if you intend to store them, and use them within 24 hours. Drink hot or cold.


DECOCTION

Place the relevant quantity of herbs in 800ml cold water (makes three doses) in a pan. Boil, then simmer for 1 hour to reduce the liquid by a third. Strain through a fine sieve into a jug and store, in a cool place, for up to 24 hours. Drink hot or cold.


TINCTURE

Tinctures can be used to prepare roots or leaves. They include alcohol and water to extract the properties from the herbs which would not be available if a water preparation alone was used. It is possible to replace the alcohol with glycerol or vinegar.

A tincture will last for up to two years, which makes it a very convenient method if you intend long-term use of the herbs.


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