Friday, September 05, 2014

Herb of the Week: Lavender


As mentioned in previous posts, my love affair with lavender is somewhat recent. Before this year I had always associated the herb with pain of sunburn and trouble sleeping from an early age – not the best start to a relationship. Since then, however, my taste and knowledge about the herb has changed and I find new reasons to love it all the time.

I first enjoyed the smell during a lavender wand making session in Sue Hess’s Homestead Herbalism class. The Latin root word, lavare, means, “to wash,” and since ancient Rome, people have used lavender in their bathing rituals, cooking, and laundry because of its fragrance. Recipes are still being created today to use the fragrance and benefits of lavender.

Lavender Hair Mask (using Sue Hess’s Herb-Infused Therapeutic Oils: Simple Method #2)

You’ll need:

1 oz. Lavender flowers
8 oz. Olive oil
Rosemary essential oil

To make:

Place lavender flowers and olive oil into Mason jar with tight fitting lid. Put jar into crock pot, do not completely submerge jar. Set crockpot to warm setting, keep an eye on the jar to make sure it does not become too hot. After two to six hours turn off the crock pot and let sit over night. Then strain and place in a clean glass jar. Keep Rosemary essential oil in separate bottle.

To use:

Pour about a quarter sized amount into your palm and rub into your hair. Repeat until oil is equally dispersed into your hair. Massage one to two drops of rosemary essential oil into your hair after you have thoroughly covered your hair and scalp in lavender infused olive oil. Place hair in a hair clip or shower cap and leave on for ten to 15 minutes. Wash and style your hair.

Some believe that the scent of lavender washes more than your laundry and your hair, though. Many use lavender in dream pillows, essential oil drops, and bubble baths to help calm a restless mind. I rarely use lavender before bed but I do keep a lavender wand in my car to calm myself during traffic jams and enjoy using candles and spritz to give my room a fresh scent and help my mind relax and focus while studying or reading.
Many people love the herb for its culinary uses. While working at the PA Herb Festival in York, Susanna Reppert-Brill found chocolate and lavender popsicles. They had just enough of a balance that the lavender was sweet instead of perfumey, a task I still have yet to master in my own experiments.

Because lavender has been used for hundreds of years, there are numerous uses we have found for the herb. Don’t be afraid to experiment with this herb in your beauty, bathing, and culinary recipes. The herb can be beneficial and smells fantastic. Have fun!


Hess, Susan. Homestead Herbalism: Materia Medica and Other Herbal Gatherings. Chester County, Pa, 2013-2014. Herb-Infused Therapeutic Oils page. Print.

Hess, Susan. Homestead Herbalism: Materia Medica and Other Herbal Gatherings. Chester County, Pa, 2013-2014. Lavender page. Print.

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