Lavender has a surprising number of applications. Most of us think of lavender used as a scent, but it is also edible and good for you. It is considered a member of the mint family and has long been used to treat digestive problems, insomnia, anxiety, and restlessness.
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Up until World War I, lavender was also used for the treatment and disinfecting of wounds. Hospitals used lavender as an antiseptic and disinfectant. English farmers used to put stems of lavender in their hats to prevent headaches and sunstroke.
The easiest way to get the health benefits from lavender is to use the flowers for cooking (make sure to get culinary quality) or the essential oil. Lavender essential oil is easily absorbed by the skin. It is especially helpful in the treatment of anxiety, depression, insomnia, wounds, and headaches.
Applying lavender oil to scrapes and wounds actually helps increase cell growth, making the wound heal quicker in addition to being a powerful disinfectant, lessening the appearance of scars. To treat headaches, massage some lavender oil onto the temples and neck area.
For insomnia, anxiety and depression, it is the scent of lavender that promotes relaxation. You can use an essential oil diffuser or you can create satchels to place under your pillow or carry with you when you may want to enjoy the benefits of lavender. You can also make your own lavender dryer sachets so that you can benefit from the smell of lavender on your clothing all day long.
Cooking with lavender is something most of us in the US wouldn't think to do, but the French have a lot of wonderful dishes that use lavender, both savory and sweet. In fact, Sharon Shipley has created an entire Lavender Cookbook dedicated to these recipes. Some examples are lavender-honey grilled chicken, double chocolate and lavender gelato, lavender scones, you name it – you'll be surprised at how flexible it is for such an aromatic herb.
Whether cooking with lavender or using a little of its beautiful scent to relax at night, lavender is a versatile herb that can greatly improve your life. Be sure to look for organically grown lavender or grow your own! It's a very easy to grow herb that can make your entire garden smell like pure bliss.