Friday, August 28, 2009

How Lavender Got Into Your Body Wash

Lavender, a small popular flower that is found throughout the world and is known for its fragrant aroma and various uses, is actually steeped in history and is more than just an interesting little plant. The oldest records of lavender use date back to ancient times and there are records of its use in historical Syria, Egypt, and Israel, as well as many other corners of the Middle East. In biblical times, lavender was noted as a "holy herb" and its use in the ancient Israelite Temple is well documented and even mentioned in the Old Testament.

In ancient Greece, lavender was also known as Nard, named after the Syrian town from which it had been introduced and in the Rome of the Caesars, lavender was an expensive and greatly prized commodity that could be afforded only by the wealthy elite. Most often found in the Roman bathhouses, where it was used at first simply to scent the water, lavender eventually came to be associated with bathing and cleaning the skin in general and it was here, most likely, that the first ever Lavender Body Wash was born.

Today, lavender can be found in a whole host of bath and beauty product with soaps, face scrubs and cleaners, and shampoos being among the most popular. This trend is not just owing to the fact that lavender packs a deliciously fruity and flowery fragrance but also because of the plant's storied medicinal purposes as well. Most notably, the oils or extract produced by the plant is said to have antiseptic as well as healing properties and according to some, when diluted with water and witch hazel, lavender oil can even be an effective acne treatment. Of course, this same essential oil is the active ingredient in many bottles of shampoo, soap, and Lavender Body Wash and is responsible for the refreshingly cool or mildly tingly sensation some feel when using lavender products.

As far as how Lavender Body Wash is used, most find it the perfect accompaniment for a sponge or loufa. Often times used while bathing or showering, this combination can make for an amazingly refreshing shower or bath or even an all out exfoliation session. When using body wash always remember that a little goes a long way, requiring just a dollop to get a good lather, which helps ensure that you get the most out of every bottle - especially during these tough economic times.

As you can see, lavender has come a long way from its humble beginnings. Once a treat enjoyed only by the wealthiest of wealthy, we know find lavender in our homes in the form of Lavender Body Wash or scented candles and hand soaps. We come across lavender so often, in fact, that we take it for granted. The next time you wash your hands, and smell that familiar fragrance, imagine how different your life might be without it. Perhaps then you will find a great appreciation for this most interesting, yet humble, flower.

Tag : lavender,lavender essential oil,lavender oil,lavender roses

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Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Tips For Making Your Home Smell Pretty With Dried Lavender

The scent of lavender has been proven to lift people's spirits by fighting depression, can relax the mind after a grueling day, and can even help soothe body aches and pains. When used in our homes, lavender can enhance our moods and make life more enjoyable. There are many ways to use the power of lavender and incorporate that power into our daily lives. These gorgeous purple flowers can be dried and used either in stalk form or through the dried buds of its flowers. You can also purchase lavender essential oil for a highly concentrated source that will give a tremendous amount of aromatherapy with using only a few drops of the oil.

Dried lavender on the stalks can be used to create gorgeous wreaths or a dried flower arrangement. Wreaths with solid lavender all around make a dramatic purple accent to any room while adding a fragrant scent that lasts for months. If the stalks need refreshing, a little spray from an atomizer filled with lavender essential oil is the perfect solution. If you either want to tone down the lavender scent in your wreath or don't have a lot of purple in your d├ęcor, you can always use a few sprigs here and there to add a touch of purple and a hint of fragrance to your setting.

A dried flower arrangement is the perfect place to add lavender. Again, you can intensify the impact of the color and scent of this flower by filling a vase or basket with just lavender. A few stalks here and there can be used to add pizzazz to an existing arrangement. The bathroom and bedroom are great areas for dried lavender because, respectively, it hides odors and brings relaxation. This is why when you go to the spa or to a massage therapist they always use lavender to enhance the ambiance for their clients.

Essential oils are simply the scented components of the lavender flower that have been added to a liquid for easy application; this is usually oil, but can also be in an alcohol-based liquid such as cologne. Oils are wonderful because they hold the scent for a longer time when applied to the skin or to sachet or fabric. Dating back to ancient times, lavender has been used in soaps and laundry to soften skin and give fragrance to clothing. You can purchase essential oils from a perfumery shop, natural foods store, or online.

Here are some tips for adding the scent of dried lavender to anywhere in your home:

• Moisten a cotton ball with a few drops of lavender oil and add it to your vacuum cleaner canister or bag. It will fill your entire home with its wonderful scent!
• Spray or drop some essential oil onto a washcloth and throw it in with your laundry in the dryer.
• Place a shallow dish filled with lavender buds next to your bed to help induce sleepiness at night.
• Add a dried flower arrangement or wreath anywhere in your home where you want to enjoy the light, continuous fragrance of lavender.

Tag :lavender,lavender oil,lavender essential,lavender roses

Friday, August 14, 2009

Lavender For Enjoyment & Relaxation

My lavender bushes are just beginning to bud and as I write, I am sipping a cup of lavender flavored tea. Just two buds steeped with my black tea produced a delicious light flavored tea. Historically, lavender was used to treat all kinds of ailments from stomach disorders to headaches and antiseptics. I am just drinking it because it is good and relaxing.

Egyptians, Romans, Greeks, and Arabs have used lavender, or more specifically English lavender, since ancient times through the centuries to present times. It was and still is used for medical, cosmetics, massage oils, even embalming. During medieval times, lavender was thought to protect against the plague and cholera and there is some historical evidence that it actually did do that. In addition, it was used as an antiseptic to cleanse sick rooms, treat head lice and fleas, protect against other insects, treat migraine headaches and burns, and induce sleep. Lavender was also used for its fragrance in soaps, potpourris, and perfumes. It is still widely used for many of the same reasons.

Dried lavender is readily available in bundled bouquets or loose blossoms. You can find numerous on line sources by Googling dried lavender. Lavender farms exist in most areas and usually offer fresh bouquets, dried bouquets, or u picking. Picking season is June and July. To locate farms in your area, just search "lavender farms" on Google. Often these farms also offer handcrafted products made from lavender.

You can also dry your own. It is one of the easier flowers to dry. While it is not difficult to grow, it needs full sun and not a lot of water. For an added bonus, lavender attracts butterflies. There are numerous varieties of lavender, but the English lavender produces nice, purple blossoms.

Plants are ready to pick and dry right before the blooms open. If you wait until the petals are fully open, they will fall off when dry. When the stems have purple, long fuzzy looking ends (called calyxes), they are ready to pick. Cut stems as long as you can, tie into bundles, and hang upside down in a warm, dry, dark space with good air circulation. It will take several weeks to thoroughly dry both stems and flowers. When dried, they are ready to store or use for many projects. Wrap stemmed bouquets in tissue and store in a drawer or strip buds and store in airtight glass or ceramic containers for later use.

Well, I have finished my cup of tea and am heading out to my garden to see if I have some lavender ready to pick. I think I just want a fresh bouquet on my dining room table for dinner tonight. By the way, I wouldn't use commercially preserved lavender for any internal use (such as tea). You never know what kind of chemicals may have been used in the drying process. Also do not use lavender oil internally unless the product is labeled safe for such use.

Tag : lavender,lavender oil,lavender essential,lavender flower

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Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Lavender Oil - An Amazing Variety of Uses

Lavender oil has long been valued not only for its fresh, sweet smell, but also for its therapeutic properties. Its history goes back at least as far as the Roman Empire where lavender was used to freshen the wash water and the oil was used to treat battle wounds. In modern times lavender oil has many uses from aromatherapy to scent for bath products. Learn about this amazing natural substance from plant to product.

What is it? - Lavender oil is the essential oil of a lavender plant, derived from the stalks (peduncles) and flowers. The plant material is subjected to a steam distillation process that yields lavender hydrosol and oil.

Where does it come from? - Lavender grows well in a wide variety of climates and can be found in many parts of the world. It grows wild in several Mediterranean countries, and there are many lavender farms in this area. Provence, France is famous for its lavender farms and festivals. Other large production locales include Australia, New Zealand, and the United States.

How is it used? - The wide variety of uses for this remarkable oil is truly astonishing, but can be grouped into two broad categories: Therapeutic and Scents.

Therapeutic Applications - Lavender is probably the most common essential oil used in aromatherapy, which is an alternative health treatment that makes use of essential oils. Breathing the aroma of lavender has been shown to have a calming effect on many people and is often used for insomnia. The aroma is often distributed using a diffuser or burner, but you can enjoy the benefits by simply placing a few drops of lavender oil in your bath water or in a cotton ball to sit on your nightstand.

Lavender oil has pain killing properties and provides temporary relief from aching joints. Rubbing the oil directly into can help ease childhood "growing pains" or even mild arthritis.

The antibiotic properties of lavender make the oil a great natural choice for preventing infection in minor cuts and burns. Simply apply the oil directly to the wound and appreciate both the pain killing and germ killing effects.

Lavender Scent - Lavender has an especially sweet scent and the oil has been used for hundreds if not thousands of years as an enjoyable aroma. The scent of lavender can be found in many products, from soaps and lotions to air fresheners. Lavender is a favorite aroma in spas, and is a major component of many massage oils and facial creams. Lavender sugar scrubs and salt scrubs are wonderful ways to exfoliate the skin while enjoying the relaxing aroma.

These uses for lavender oil are but a few of the many ways that one can take advantage of the wonderful aroma and health benefits. It truly is one of the simple blessings of nature.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Pruning Lavender - The Right Way to Care For Your Plants

First Things First - Starting Lavender The Right Way

Most lavender bushes start from a cutting taken from a Mother plants. This often works well. Growing lavender from seeds may sound like a good idea, but it can be difficult. It is hard to find the seeds, and they have a short shelf life (even if you find them, they may not grow). And it can take a long time to grow the seeds into sizeable bushes. The most difficult situation is that the most popular lavender varieties do not make seeds!

Pruning Lavender

It is important to prune lavender in order to maintaining a young, healthy bush. When pruning lavender, the key is to begin when plants are young and still in pots. Pinch out new growth to support lateral branching. Cut off the flower buds in the first year so that you will get a larger bush and more spikes in the second year.

Cut back the plant at yearly. If you prune the plant in the fall, do it well in advance of a hard freeze. You can easily use a weed eater or a hedge trimmer when pruning lavender. You can also prune the plant after it flowers I the spring or early summer. When you do prune lavender, make sure that the leaves are still green.

Cut off about 1/3 off of the plant and shape it into a mound. This encourages new growth. If you do this every year, it will make sure your plants don't get too woody and knotty. You can begin this pruning in the second year.

If you did not prune the plant when it was young, it may not survive a significant pruning. If the bush is 3 years or older and you have never pruned it, you may be better off replacing the bush. If there is still young growth above the wood part of the plan, you can begin with a light pruning to encourage lower growth. Then, continue each year to prune a little more aggressively. But as close to the woody part - but don't cut the wood. If you cut too much into the wood the plant will die.

Cut spent flowers to create healthy plants. Cut off dead branches in the spring, after your plant shows growth.

Lavenders types of lavender plants, like dentate, don't require much pruning unless you want to grow them as a hedge. In these cases, the best time for pruning lavender is in the summer.

Harvesting Lavender

Cut the lavender stems which have flowers, and cut them in the early morning after the dew has dried but before the sun dries up too much of the plant's essential oils. The essential oils create the scent, and you want to preserve them as much as possible.

You can dry lavender in bunches or on screens, and store it in a cool dark place.

After pruning lavender, you can use the pruning clippings as your harvest. Lavender is wonderful for crafts and decoration.

Interesting Notes

Plant lavender bushes in full sun and only in a soil that drains well. Water the bushes generously during the first year after planting - but do not water lavender from above - this can cause a fatal fungus!

Don't prune into the old wood (where there are no leaves) or your lavender will not grow back in that place.

Tag : lavender,lavender oil,lavender essential oil,lavender plants

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Sunday, August 2, 2009

The Secrets of the Lavender Essential Oil

The Lavender essential oil is one of the most popular and most healing essential oils on the market. In this article, we'll give a brief overview of the history of the Lavender essential oil, go over the wide range of ailments this essential oil can cure, then finally practically ways you can use the lavender essential oil. By the end of this article, you'll know both what Lavender is used for, as well as how to use it.

A Brief History of the Lavender Essential Oil

The Lavender Essential Oil was first discovered by Dr. Rene Gattefosse in the 1920's. He was doing experiments in his lab when he made a mistake and burned his hand. The only thing that he had on hand at the moment was a jar of extracted lavender oil that he had next to him. The first thought that came to mind was to plunge his hand into the extracted lavender oil.

To his great surprise, he instantly felt soothed and relieved. His burn healed much more quickly than it would have otherwise. He realized that his hand was soothed as a result of the lavender oil.

As a scientist, he got very curious about the effects of lavender and other essential oils. He began to do further research into lavender and the extracts of other plants. His research started the trend that has today become aromatherapy.

Uses of the Lavender Essential Oil

There are many uses of the Lavender Essential Oil, from curing very common ailments to the more obscure.

Some of these include:

Sweaty Skin, Acne, Stress Relieve, Allergies, Reducing Anxiety, Reducing Itching, Faster recovery of stress marks, relief from mild sunburn, Athlete's Foot, Asthma, Blisters, Bruises, Burns & Scalds
As you can see, lavender really has a wide range of uses.

How to Use the Lavender Essential Oil

There are many ways to use the lavender essential oil. Here, we'll go over three simple ways:

1) Drop 10 drops into a bathtub full of water and enjoy a nice, relaxing soak. The diluted essential oil will gradually affect its healing properties on your body while you take a bath.

2) You can dilute the lavender oil in carrier oil and rub it directly on your skin. It's generally not a good idea to rub essential oils directly on your skin, even with lavender.

3) You can diffuse the oil in the air. One way to do that is to soak a tissue with the oil and put it on a fan. This will have the oil gradually spray itself throughout the air.

You now know what the lavender essential oil is, its uses and how to use it for yourself. While you can experiment with the lavender oil at home, it can also be an amazing experience to experience the healing effects of the lavender oil at the hands of an aromatherapist or a massage therapist.

Keep in mind that if you have any serious physical ailments, consult a doctor before applying your own cures. Lavender oil isn't a replacement for real medical attention when it comes to more serious issues.