Lavender is considered as a weed in certain parts of the world as it grows and spreads quickly. It is also grown for its oil, which comes from the distillation of the flower spikes of certain lavender species. The most common form of lavender is Lavandula angustifolia. Lavender is an herb native to northern Africa and the mountainous regions of the Mediterranean. Lavender is also grown for the production of its essential oil.
The most important health benefits of lavender include its ability to relieve stress, improve mood, promote restful sleep, lower skin irritation, prevent infections, reduce inflammation, eliminate dandruff, and soothe stomach bloating.
Lavender is shown to be effective against antifungal infections and protects against skin infections.
Lavender is shown to have wound healed faster.
Lavender protects from hair loss and promotes hair growth. It is also effective in treating alopecia areata.
Anxiety disorder and related conditions
Lavender does not seem to impact anxiety about future dental visits. However, it has been shown to provide a sense of calm while attending a treatment.
Premenstrual emotional symptoms
Lavender reduces the symptoms of premenstrual emotional symptoms.
Lavender relaxes the body and mind. It also reduces inflammation as it contains antioxidants properties and anti inflammatory compounds in it.
Protects Heart Health
Lavender contains relaxing qualities which come from its organic compounds and antioxidants, also help the heart by reducing blood pressure and easing the tension on blood vessels. This can prevent atherosclerosis and other cardiovascular problems, thereby lowering the risk of stroke and heart attack.
Prevents Digestive Issues
Lavender contains polyphenols which is very beneficial for the body. It prevents accumulation of the gas in the gut and development of harmful bacteria. Lavender also reduces bloating, eliminate cramps and ease stomach disorders.
Lavender can be eaten at any time of day. Lavender goes well with strawberries, blueberries, pears, lemon, orange, honey, sage, rosemary, oregano, thyme, black pepper, and chocolate.
Uses of lavender
- Lavender can be distilled into an essential oil, and has a range of medical applications.
- Lavender is used in beauty products such as fragrances and shampoos.
- Keeping air fresh and clothes fragrant — Lavender sachets can enrich the atmosphere in your house, making you feel like you live right beside a lavender field in rural France. To liven up your home, you can leave lavender sachets inside your drawer to make your clothes fragrant. They’re also a safe insect repellent that may help preserve your prized clothing.
- Home decorating — Lavender flowers are very pleasing to the eye, making them popular choices for home decorations. You can plant them in patterns to create natural borders in your garden, construct a path or grow a hedge.
- Treats Sleep Issues- Drinking lavender tea will relax and help you giving a good night sleep. It is also used in insomnia and used in aromatherapy too.
- Skin Care- If you feel your skin is dry or feeling irritation then spray some of the infused water on the area and enjoy the quick relief that it provides. It also benefits against chronic diseases like acne, eczema and psoriasis.
- Antiseptic Ability- Apply crushed leaves on wounds and injuries for quick healing of the wounds as well as to prevent the development of infections on them.
How to buy and store lavender
If you buy fresh lavender, when it starts to dry out, bunch it using a rubber band and hang it upside down until fully dry. Snip off spikes as you need them, or harvest the bunch by pulling off all the buds with your fingers. Store the buds in a jar.
Ways to use lavender
Dried lavender petals or buds is used to increase the aroma of dishes, mainly in desserts and salads.
Season in which lavender is available
Lavender is available in the month of june and july.
How to make Wild Berries and Lavender Kheer
2 ltr full cream milk
200 gm whipped cream
200 gm rice
50 gm thandai syrup
20 ml lavender flower essence
200 gms assorted seasonal fruits (chopped)
100 gms castor sugar
Fresh lavender flower
- 1.Take milk in a heavy bottom pan and give it a boil.
- 2.Reduce the flame and add rice and sugar.
- 3.Keep stirring until the rice gets cooked and milk reduces to half.
- 4.Take the pan off the flame and allow the kheer to cool.
- 5.Add thandai, lavender essence, whipped cream and fresh fruits to the chilled kheer.
- 6.Garnish with fresh lavender flowers, serve.
How to make lavender kulfi
- 1/2 litre whole milk
- 1 cup fresh cream
- 1 cup condensed milk
- 1/2 cup (or more) pistachios finely chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon Extract of Natural Culinary Lavender
- Bring the milk to boil, lower the flame, and cook till it reduces to half the volume.
- You have to stir frequently while the reducing the milk so that it doesn’t stick to the sides and burn.
- Switch off, add the condensed milk and mix well.
- Whip the cream till it peaks. Add half of this whipped cream to the milk and mix well.
- Add half of the chopped pistachios and 1/2 teaspoon Sprig Extract of Natural Culinary Lavender. Mix well.
- Finally gently fold in the remaining whipped cream into the mix. You don’t have mix well. Let it remain as lumps in the kulfi mix.
- Add 1/2 teaspoon of chopped pistachios to the kulfi moulds.
- Gently pour the kulfi mix into the moulds. Leave a little space on the top. Insert the ice cream sticks. You can top up the moulds with more chopped pistachios.
- Keep the moulds in the freezer.
- Once the kulfis have set (after 7-8 hours), take them out, and place the moulds in water.
- Rub the sides with your palm to warm up the mould and gently pull out the kulfi stick.
- The kulfi will come out clean on the stick. You can garnish with more chopped pistachios before serving.
If you don’t have kulfi moulds, you can replace them with steel glasses.
Repeated use of lavender oil on skin can cause prepubertal gynecomastia. If you are pregnant or breastfeeding then consult your doctor before using lavender.
If you are allergic to mint family then chances are there that you are allergic to lavender to. Its symptoms are headache, constipation, irritation, redness and increased appetite.
Doctors usually advised to stop using lavender before 2 weeks the date of surgery as it has the tendency to slow down the nervous system.
Fun facts on lavender
- Lavender is grown in northern Africa and the Mediterranean mountains, often for extraction of its essential oils.
- The medicinal benefits of using lavender to treat anxiety, fungal infections, hair loss, and wounds have been demonstrated.
- Evidence does not yet support the use of lavender to treat depression, high blood pressure, nausea, menstrual pain, or eczema, among other conditions.
- Lavender is not approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and should not be taken in place of approved and prescribed medicines.
- Lavender grows in the form of small shrub that can reach 3 feet in height.
- Lavender develops simple, pinnate or multiple pinnate leaves, depending on the species. Leaves can be grey or green colored. They are often covered with fine hairs.
- Lavender produces blue, violet or lilac flowers. They are arranged circularly (grow in whorls) on top of the floral stalks. Each plant produces 1 to 8 bunches of flowers.
- Fruit of lavender is 4-nutlets. They have smooth texture and ovoid or oblong shape.
- Lavender propagates via root or stem division.
- Name “lavender” originates from Latin verb “lavare”, which means “to wash”. Lavender was important part of bathing rituals in the ancient Rome because of its disinfectant and antiseptic properties.
- Essential oils extracted from the flowers of lavender are massively used in the industry of perfumes and cosmetics. Lavender scent produces calming effect, while essential oils soothe skin. Thanks to these effects, lavender is often used in the production of lotions, soaps, shampoos and skin care products.
- Essential oils of lavender are often used in aromatherapy because they produce relaxing effect in most people. Unlike humans, pests such as mice, flies, mosquitoes and moths cannot stand smell of lavender. Many people keep bunches of lavender in their homes to repel unwanted animals.
- Lavender has antiseptic, antibacterial, analgesic and anti-depressant properties. It is used in treatment of headache, insect bites, burns, acne, muscle and joint ache and insomnia in the folk medicine.
- Lavender is used in human diet as an ingredient of various sweet (cakes, chocolates…) and salty meals (it is often combined with cheese). It can be also consumed in the form or tea or honey (made of nectar from lavender flowers).
- Lavender can be used as natural “insecticide”. When planted near the roses, lavender keeps aphids on a safe distance.
- Ancient Egyptians were using lavender during the process of mummification.
- Europeans were wearing bracelets made of lavender to protect themselves against plague and other dangerous diseases in the 13th century.
- Lavender was used in art during the period of Renaissance. Painters (including famous Rubens) were using lavender to improve quality of colors on the paintings.
- Lavender can grow as annual (life span: one year) or short-lived perennial (life span: over two years) plant, depending on the species.