This week’s healing herb is Lavender (Lavandula), one of my favourite and most often used herbs. Some words that come to mind when I experience lavender are divine, luxurious, mysterious, calming, and sensual. Lavender’s Latin name stems from lavare which means “to wash”, which describes one of it’s earliest uses.
Lavender’s fragrance is reason enough to incorporate this plant into your life! It has calming properties while also being uplifting, purifying, and refreshing. I like to describe the feeling as an ‘invigorating calm’ that comes over me when I smell the young flowers or use its essential oil. A couple drops of the oil or an infusion of the flowers in a bath can help relieve nervousness, aid in insomnia, and promote relaxation.
Lavender oil is also believed to have antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties, so small amounts of it can be dabbed onto minor cuts, burns and bug bites. A warm lavender tea-soaked compress applied to the head can help relieve headaches, or you may apply the compress to the chest to help relieve congestion and cold symptoms.
Lavender flowers can be used in baking and in drinkable teas as well. When taken internally it can mildly calm the digestion and relieve an upset stomach. I remember trying lavender brownies from Sacred Mountain Lavender on Salt Spring Island, and they were absolutely divine! It’s quite a unique combination, and I’d never thought to pair it with chocolate until then but I haven’t gone back since.