Lavender Uses for the Home

Find out how this herb can benefit your family and household


| June/July 2002



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The town of Sequim, Washington, is brimming with lavender. Even the downtown merchants surround their businesses with lavender and participate in the festival.

Rooted in myth and magic, this mesmerizing herb has a place in our homes, gardens, kitchens, linen closets, and medicine chests.

The first-century Greek physician Dioscorides first recorded lavender’s anti-spasmodic, gas-relieving, and sedative effects. Now researchers have found that essential oil from English lavender (L. angustifolia) contains the active agent linalool, which may be the key ingredient that causes smooth muscle tissue to relax, ultimately relieving tension headaches, insomnia, muscle spasms, and neuralgia.

Lavender’s effects can be enjoyed in many ways, as seen by the variety of lavender products sold at the Sequim festival. You can make many of these products yourself. Remember that essential oils are highly concentrated and must be diluted in a carrier oil before being applied directly to the skin. Purchase a good-quality lavender essential oil from any of the sources listed on page 31 and try the following simple techniques for turning your home into a calm oasis.

Atomizer

Fill a spray bottle halfway with isopropyl alcohol. Add 25 to 30 drops of lavender essential oil (or a combination of lavender, sweet orange, and mint oils), then top it off with distilled water. Shake well to mix. Spray in the air throughout your house, in hotel rooms, or in the car to purify the air. Carry a small lavender spritzer bottle to help cool down after physical activity.

Tincture

Jadyne Reichner’s method is to fill a clean mason jar with fresh or dried blossoms. “Dried are best,” Jadyne says, “because they leave less sediment.” Pour 100-proof vodka over the lavender to within 1/2 inch of the top of the jar. Place a lid on the jar and store it in a cool, dark place for four to six weeks. Filter the tincture through several layers of cheesecloth into smaller, dark-colored dropper bottles; label and store in a cool, dark place. The Reichners keep lavender tincture on hand for sunburn, insect bites, and as an aftershave lotion.

Lavender Clothing Rinse

In a large pot, bring 6 to 8 cups of water to a boil. Add 1 cup of lavender leaves, stems, and flowers and 1 teaspoon orris root powder. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Next, strain the infused water into a large jar. Add all of the lavender water to the final rinse cycle in your washing machine. Alternatively, simply add 8 to 10 drops lavender essential oil directly to the final rinse water.





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