Saturday, 11 October 2008

Lavender - Sight and Scent to Remember

It was my time in south France that created a love of the lavender scent. It was overpowering throughout many towns and villages that had processed the harvest in the late summer. The beautiful blue fields also stand out as one of the most memorable moments in time.

As well as being attributed to being one of the holy herbs, in biblical times ,during Roman times, lavender flowers were used as a bartered as currency and used in Roman baths to scent the water. Lavender was yet another herb that was introducted to Britain by the Romans. During Black Death, lavender oil was claimed to ward off the Plague.

The lavender flowers can be sugared and used as cake decoration. The most renown use for lavender is the ingredient of herbes de Provence and lavender sugar. Still with the French cooking in and around Provence, they have been incorporating this herb into their cuisine for countless years and long may it live.

There are around 30 different species now cultivated and grown worldwide. The most common cultivated lavender is aptly called the Common Lavender. Many will know that lavenders are widely grown in gardens. Its flower spikes are used extensively for dried flower arrangements. The pale purple flowers and flower buds are used in potpourris and when dried and put in pouches scattered amongst clothing gives a wonderful fresh fragrance. not many know that lavender also acts as a deterrent to moths. Commercial extraction of lavender oil from the flowers is used as an antiseptic and for aromatherapy.

The flowers produce nectar, which yields a high quality honey and is highly prized and marketed worldwide as a premium product.

Essential oil of lavender has antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties. The oil is also popular used as fragrances for baths. An infusion of lavender acts as a soothing and healing remedy for insect bites. Lavender gathered in bunches are also used to ward off insects.

If laid on your forehead the lavender oil is said to soothe headaches and aid sleep and relaxation. Lavender diluted 1 to10 ratio with water is another remedy claimed for curing acne. This potion can also can be used in the treatment of skin burns.

Many lavender products can be found from food based products right through to cosmetics and oils based health supplements. The diversity is enormous. With all this the herb can still remain a fantastic addition to your garden and is basically very easy to grow and look after.

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