Lavender is a fragrant flowering herb that originated in northern Africa. It is common to the hilly areas of the southern Mediterranean region. It’s also grown in the western United States, including all over the state of California. This purple herb is a member of the mint family, like its cousins rosemary, sage and thyme. Botanically, lavender is known as Lavandula Angustfolia. This wonderful herb was used habitually in ancient times to create baths that were said to cleanse the body and spirit. It’s no wonder the term lavender comes from the Latin word, “lavare,” meaning to launder or wash. Since then, lavender has been added as a component in many fragrances, soaps, shampoos, sachets, and even as an aid to perfume clothing. However, like most herbs, lavender is edible and does have its place in foods and recipes.
In addition to its intoxicating fragrance, lavender has many medicinal benefits. Nowadays, lavender is grown predominantly for the processing of its essential oil.
Helps You Relax
Some of lavender’s health benefits include remedying ailments ranging from anxiety and depression to fatigue and insomnia. Research has shown lavender is successful in calming, soothing and sedating when inhaled. Its floral scent can put you in a relaxed state by reducing your heart rate and blood pressure. An interesting study was conducted on anxious dental patients prior to dental procedures. Researchers from King’s College London measured the anxiety levels of 340 adult dental patients who were waiting for their appointments. Half of them were exposed to the lavender scent and the others were not. The study found those patients exposed to the lavender scent had lower levels of anxiety compared to those who were not exposed.
Works on Stomach Bloating and Digestive issues
The phytonutrient found in lavender known as polyphenol works to reduce the “bad” bacteria in your gut, which can reduce bloating and bad digestion. Lavender’s effects also can treat persistent flatulence, nausea and indigestion. A tea infused with lavender will be effective in treating stomach and bowel infections.
Has Diuretic Effects and Eliminates Toxins
When consumed in hot tea, lavender will stimulate perspiration and bring down elevated body temperatures such as fevers. Also, ingesting this tea encourages the body to detoxify via elimination channels such as the skin and urine.
Keeps Dandruff in Check
Lavender oil is recommended by a New York-based dermatologist for treating dry scalp. Several drops mixed with some almond oil may do the trick after a few treatments.
Essential Oil of Lavender is a Natural Antiseptic and Anti-Inflammatory
Lavender oil is widely known to contain powerful antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties. These help lavender oil treat minor burns and bug bites by reducing itching, swelling and redness. Lavender oil also has been known to soothe many types of cuts and wounds because the herb stimulates tissue repair. A diluted version of lavender oil is effective for treating eczema and acne. Similarly, lavender may provide relief from the common cold and cough, as well as issues caused by asthma and bronchitis, when used topically as a vapor rub.
Incorporate Lavender into Your Diet with Recipes from Mimi’s Organic Corner
I love organic food and pursue an eco-friendly lifestyle. So I suggest using certified organic ingredients to maximize flavors and nutrition while minimizing your risk of exposure to pesticides, chemicals and preservatives.
Mimi’s favorite herbal-infused tea — Add mint leaves, lavender flowers, two sticks of cinnamon and a slice of raw ginger to water and boil. Allow time to steep before drinking
Lavender, oregano and thyme herb rub — Combine these herbs and add others, then use the mixture to season poultry or meat.
Herbs de Provence Chicken — This recipe is made from an assortment of herbs commonly used in France. The typical mixture includes basil, fennel seed, lavender, sage, thyme, rosemary and marjoram. Combine these with olive oil, then pour it over the chicken and allow it to marinate. Bake the seasoned chicken at 350 degrees for about 35 minutes and serve with your favorite green side.
Chocolate and lavender are an amazing combo — Prepare your favorite hot chocolate and infuse the lavender flowers in the mix. Steep, stir and enjoy!
Lavender chocolate cookies — Add one tablespoon of dried lavender to the dry ingredients of your best chocolate cookie recipe.
Lavender roasted potatoes — Sprinkle lavender over fingerling potatoes just before cooking is complete. Then drizzle the potatoes with olive oil and add salt and pepper.
Lavender honey — Steep several lavender flowers into your raw, organic honey, then use in your favorite recipes.
Lavender topped salad — Crush lavender flowers and sprinkle them over your favorite salad. Be careful not to use too much to avoid an overly scented salad.