Saturday, September 20, 2008

How To Apply Lavender

Herbs can be used for a number of reasons, and this applies with lavender. One of the world's most cherished herbs, lavender is famed as much for its soothing properties as it is for its colour. In fact, you might just find lavender has more uses than you thought.

Lavender environment

Surviving in arid climates naturally, lavender is a member of the mint family, and is a small shaggy shrub with trademark blue/grey flowers, growing in whorls. Lavender flowers through the summer into autumn (June to August), and is found naturally in the rich, warm soils of the Mediterranean. Lavender is renowned in the region for its sweet aroma and calming agents, and has been used for thousands of years for its sedative properties.

How to Use Lavender

Common lavender, or lavandula angustifolia, is thought to be one of the most versatile herbs, and is used in thousands of cosmetic and beauty products across the world. Its oils can be used to moisturise the skin, and provide a sweet perfume for beauty products. Additionally, lavender is also used for medicinal purposes, given its calming and soothing abilities, making it an all-round valuable herb for home use. Having trouble sleeping? Headaches? Painful bites or sores? Lavender would be an extremely useful herb to resolve these conditions.

Lavender is used primarily for its strong, perfumed scent. Dried lavender can be used in pot-pourri and other fragrant room fresheners, as well as perfumes and lotions. On top of that, lavender oils can be used for soothing and relaxing in a number of circumstances, and are implemented in mainstream, as well as alternative treatments for several conditions. Insect bites and stings can be quickly and effectively eased by topically smothering in lavender oils, as can burns and scolds. When applying, it is important to make sure high concentrations of oils don't penetrate broken skin, as this can lead to further irritation and discomfort.

Migraine and insomnia sufferers can also benefit from lavender to sooth their pains, and help ensure a better nights sleep. In fact, applying lavender oil to the bed sheets is said to be a great way of ensuring a thorough good rest, given its relaxing scent and sleep-inducing properties.

For soothing exhaustion or migraines, lavender oils can be infused in a warm bath to help relaxation. By adding the oils to a running bath, the beneficial ingredients are allowed to properly fuse through the bathwater, ensuring the effectiveness of the treatment. Additionally, the lavender steam helps clear the airways and clear the head, leaving you ready for anything. Why not try keeping lavender in a small Hessian bag beneath your pillow, for a fragrant and relaxing sleep?

Cooking with Lavender

Alternatively, lavender can be used as an ingredient in cooking, as can any other herb. Lavender is particularly complimentary when cooking lamb and other meats. Its flavours tend to fit in well with tender meats and delicate sides, in addition to its aesthetic appeal on the plate. For something a bit different, try lavender with un-smoked, grilled fished. Alternatively, lavender also fits nicely with boiled new potatoes to add more depth and flavour.

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