The fresh clean scent of lavender has been used in cosmetic and skin care products since ancient times. Nefertiti and Cleopatra wore vials of their favorite scents, which contained lavender oil. Lavender soap and commercial bath products date back to the 1920’s. It was a favorite scent of Irene Langhorne the original “Gibson Girl.” In fact the name derives from the Latin word lavare, meaning “to wash.”
6 Lavender Body Care Recipes
This fragrant herb which is in the mint family is easy to grow and can be found as a feature in almost every home herb garden. It can be found growing all over the world from Africa to Europe. here are around 39 different species of lavenders (Lavandula). It grows best in dry, well drained, sandy or gravelly soil in full sun. For urban gardeners you can also grow it in containers with good drainage.
Sleep Soundly with Aromatherapy
Lavender is a popular scent in the practice of aromatherapy. The relaxing scent is used to soothe headaches and calm nerves. English lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) is what is used to make most of the essential oils on the market today. The oil is distilled from the oil glands embedded among the tiny flower blooms. It has a sweet, clean scent and can be used in lip balms, salves, perfumes and massage oils. Many people carry or wear small vials of lavender oil and massage into their temple when headaches occur. It is also a cure for jet lag and allows travelers to go to sleep while traveling or changing time zones.
Lavender also has antiseptic properties and can be used to treat minor cuts, scrapes and insect bites. It can be added to skin lotions and massage oils to calm skin inflammation and soothe sore muscles. It can also be found in laundry and cleaning products. In fact it was used in World War I to disinfect hospital floors and walls. Today you can find many all natural cleaning products that contain lavender oil.
Lavender can be used by all skin types especially those with sensitive skin. It is a good cure for acne prone skin. An infusion of lavender flowers and water can be used as a simple skin tonic for troubled skin before going to bed at night. In beauty products it is added to hair products to deep cleanse, toners and astringents to help gently cleanse and in bath products for it’s relaxing scent. Lavender is one of the most versatile beauty herbs. The following are some simple to create at home recipes that are both relaxing and refreshing. Enjoy!
Preserving Your Own Lavender
Fresh lavender is very easy to dry on your own. Simply cut small bunches of fresh flowers and hang them upside down to dry in a warm, dark spot. To avoid dust and bugs you can place a piece of cheesecloth or a brown paper sack over your flower bunches just check on them so that they are getting proper air circulation. When dry, remove the flower heads and place inside a clean glass container with a tight fitting lid or re-sealable plastic bags. If you don’t have lavender planted in your own garden visit a lavender farm in bloom, many of them offer fresh lavender for sale and allow you to cut your own.
Benefits of Lavender
• The scent of lavender helps prepare you for a restful night’s sleep and lifts your mood when you are feeling low. It also reduces symptoms from PMS, anxiety, and vertigo.
• In bath products, lavender eases tension, stress, pain and inflammation.
• The scent of lavender repels mosquitoes and other insects.
• Lavender acts as a natural antiseptic and disinfectant. It can also be used as a natural mouth rinse and breath freshener.
• Lavender oil helps heal cuts, scrapes, burns and insect bites. Add a few stems to your centerpiece when dining outdoors.
• As a moisturizer lavender is hydrating and healing especially well suited for troubled skin.
• Keep a small bottle of essential oil of lavender in your purse as a natural cure for headaches and jet lag.
• Lavender is edible and can easily be used to enhance and create spa style refreshments. Add a fresh sprig to a glass of mineral water or sprinkle fresh flowers over a salad for a healthy garnish.
Janice Cox is the author of Natural Beauty at Home (Henry Holt and Company, 2002) and she and her daughter, Lauren Cox co-authored EcoBeauty (Ten Speed Press, 2009). For more recipes and ideas visit her website at www.janicecox.com.