"Sit down and feed, and welcome to our table." -William Shakespeare

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Lavender: the mother of all remedies

*DISCLAIMER* The author is neither a healthcare professional nor a certified herbalist. This information is for educational purposes only. Use all home remedies at your own risk.*****

"How do I love thee?
Let me count the ways...."
-Elizabeth Barrett Browning


Some say the rose is the queen of flowers....

But she is so expensive!

Lavender is like the poor man's rose, then.

Lavender is an amazing cure-all, and as such, it really makes the backbone of my herbal medicine chest. The dried herb makes a lovely potpourri and repels bugs when tucked into linen chests and closets and drawers. You can use it as a tea, too, but I find the essential oil to be the easiest and quickest to use.

When purchasing essential oil of lavender, look for the latin names Lavandula officianalis or Lavandula augustofolia. If the bottle says spike lavender, Spanish lavender, lavender 50/ 50, or something like that, leave it on the shelf.

Most essential oils need to be diluted in a carrier before being applied to the skin or added to the bath. Lavender is an exception. So gentle, it can be applied directly to the skin, though many sources suggest diluting it anyway, to be on the safe side.

I'm really lazy, though. I use my bottle of lavender like a salt shaker and sprinkle it right on.

Here are some of the multitudinous uses you will find for lavender:

-headache remedy: unscrew the lid and inhale deeply, or rub a drop into each temple

-sting and bite relief: numbs the pain and itching right away and stops/ prevents swelling

-pimples: apply a drop directly

-general germicide: place a drop on the chest or shirtfront of a person sick with... anything; the vapors will go to work against all those germies

-viral infection: lavender has been proven to inhibit the reproduction of viruses, flu even; add a few drops to a bowl and place on the sick person's floor in an out of the way place, but near the bed, and fill with boiling water which will disperse the vapors into the air while the sick person sleeps (essential oil vaporizers work wonderfully, but they are expensive)

-prevention: lavender flowers or a drop od lavender oil (add another drop every half hour) in a pot of simmering water on the stove will keep the herb's
vapors in the air, help keep sinuses open, and can help prevent infection or its spread

-colds: use lavender flowers or oil in a traditional herbal steam treatment; see any published herbal resource for how to do this

-sunburn: lavender oil in your aloe will make it more effective

-stress: inhale lavender, sprinkle it on your pillowcase, bathe in it

-insomnia: not a true cure for insomnia, but the relaxing properties of lavender make it a good scent to sniff in the evenings in addition to whatever other remedies you use for insomnia

-inflammation: whether it's your joints, your skin, whatever, lavender oil in a massage oil like almond or coconut will soothe imflammation quickly

Buy lavender oil in small quantities. Essential oils do not have a long shelf life, compared to other herbal remedies. Never use undiluted lavender on babies; never use essential oils of any type on babies under 6 months without the advice of a qualified natural-friendly healthcare professional.

Because lavender is cheap and radily available, it is a great place to start with herbal home remedies. Check out a book from your library on herbal remedies or hebal medicine and I guarantee you will find dozens more uses for the miraculous stuff.

Happy healing!

"Lavender's blue, dilly dilly, lavender's green,
When I am king, dilly, dilly, you shall be queen.
Who told you so, dilly, dilly, who told you so?
'Twas my own heart, dilly, dilly, that told me so."
-English folk song

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