The love of Lavender
Since my lavender patch has been blooming steadily for over a year and a half, providing me with countless bouquets of lavender flowers, I thought I should dedicate an article to its endless beauty and pleasure.
Having lots of lavender plants growing in front of my house is the best aromatherapy. Every time I get into my car and each time I arrive home, the lavender flowers brush up against my body and remind me of where I am. I pick a blossom for good luck as I leave. I smell the flowers when I arrive home giving thanks for a safe return. The lavender flowers illicit a settled feeling inside of me and I know that I am in the right place.
We often think of aromatherapy as the use of essential oils but planting aromatic plants next to areas that you walk along and brush up against is my favorite form of aromatherapy. Almost every day I pick a lavender flower and smell it to soothe my nervous system. For the few seconds that I smell the flower, I become totally present and let go. Of course life comes rushing back in after that, but a few moments of true presence each day is worth a lot!
Lavenders name comes from the Latin verb, ‘lavare’ which means to wash. We use the medicine of lavender to ‘wash’ on many levels. I boil the leaves and flowers in a pot of water to clean the air of my house. Lavender is highly antibacterial and when boiled into the air, it disinfects and kills air born bacteria. Because of this it is a great cold and flu prevention remedy. When someone sick comes over to your house, pick three cups of lavender leaves and or flowers and put them into a big pot with five cups of water. Turn the stove on low and just let it steam into the air for an hour. This will rid the house of sickness and have everyone feeling relaxed and happy.
I have several small pillows stuffed with dried lavender. Recently my son pulled the ribbon off the top of one of the pillows and lavender went flying all over my bedroom. I left the flowers in my bed and that night slept gloriously in a bed of lavender flowers. My husband went and slept in the other room, he said, “How can you sleep with all these things sticking to you everywhere?” I just smiled and thought how lucky I was to sleep in a bed of flowers! That is the difference between us — I like plants and he likes technology. He doesn’t mind little glowing lights from computers all over the room and I can’t stand it… anyway that’s a different story.
Many people know of using lavender for relaxation, but it is also a great herb for digestion. It is a valuable carminative which means that it helps to increase the flow of circulation and energy in the digestive tract. Drinking a cup of simple lavender tea after a heavy meal can help you digest things easier. Lavender helps with gas, bloating, indigestion and nausea. You can powder some lavender flowers and add it to food to help with the digestive process. It especially lends itself well to deserts. We have made lavender cake, cookies, ice cream, cheesecake and scones. Just add a couple of tablespoons of powdered lavender to the dried ingredients in the recipe.
It is said that having lavender in the home brings peace, joy and tranquility. In the garden it attracts bees and fairies. So if you don’t have any lavender plants growing, I recommend planting one. It is very easy to grow and also grows well in pots if you don’t have a garden space.
Kami McBride is the author of The Herbal Kitchen and has helped thousands of people learn to use herbs in their daily lives in ways that are healthy, safe and fun. She is the director of Cultivating the Herbal Medicine Woman Within, an experiential training in using herbs in the home for everyday health. An intuitive and inspiring teacher, Kami works to revive the cultural art of home herbal care and teaches herbology as a relationship with the Earth and a way of life. For a schedule of classes or herbal consultations Kami can be reached at (707) 446-1290 or sign up for her free herbal e-newsletter at: www.livingawareness.com