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How to use lavender: from garden to kitchen, health, and beyond

How to use lavender: from garden to kitchen, health, and beyond

Lavender isn’t just a feast for the eyes and nose; it’s a plant bursting with benefits and versatility. From its calming aroma to surprising health perks, lavender is more than just a pretty purple bloom.

In this blog post, we’re unpacking the myriad ways you can harness the power of this beloved herb.

Following our guides on growing lavender indoors and caring for your indoor lavender plant, we dive into lavender’s exciting uses. From health-boosting oils to delightful culinary experiments, explore every corner of lavender’s rich tapestry.

Lavender oil: a potent elixir

Lavender oil is more than just a pleasant scent; it’s a versatile elixir with numerous therapeutic benefits. Its calming properties make it a favorite in aromatherapy, while its ability to soothe skin irritations makes it a go-to for natural skincare. Let’s explore the myriad ways lavender oil can enhance your well-being.

  • Stress relief: Known for its relaxing aroma, lavender oil is often used in aromatherapy to alleviate stress and anxiety.
  • Skin soother: Its anti-inflammatory properties can calm skin conditions like eczema and acne.
  • Sleep aid: Adding a few drops to your pillow or diffuser can promote a more restful sleep.
**Did you know?** Lavender oil can also be used to soothe minor burns and insect bites, thanks to its natural antiseptic properties.

Creating your own lavender essential oil at home is easier than you might think. Here’s a simple way to harness the essence of your lavender plant:

  1. Gather fresh lavender: Ideally, use organically grown lavender to ensure purity.
  2. Dry the lavender: Hang the lavender in a cool, dark place for a few days until completely dry.
  3. Prepare the oil: Choose a carrier oil like almond or olive oil. Fill a jar with the dried lavender and pour the oil over it.
  4. Infuse the oil: Seal the jar and leave it in a sunny spot for a few weeks, shaking it occasionally.
  5. Strain and store: After a few weeks, strain the oil through a fine mesh and store it in a dark glass bottle.

For those looking to buy lavender oil, we recommend Plant Therapy’s pure, undiluted lavender essential oil. It’s high-quality, organic, and perfect for all your aromatherapy needs.

Lavender’s health properties: beyond the aroma

Lavender is not just a treat for the senses; it’s a treasure trove of health benefits. This section delves into how lavender can be a game-changer for your skin and hair health, and even in your teacup.

Lavender and your skin

Lavender’s anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties make it a natural ally for skin care. Here’s how lavender can be a part of your skincare routine:

  • Soothing acne: The antibacterial nature of lavender helps reduce acne-causing bacteria.
  • Calming eczema and inflammation: Lavender can soothe eczema flare-ups and reduce inflammation.
  • Healing minor burns: Its natural antiseptic properties aid in healing minor burns and wounds.

Incorporating lavender into your skincare is simple. You can mix a few drops of lavender essential oil with coconut oil or make a homemade face mask with lavender-infused oil.

Lavender for luscious hair

Lavender oil could be the secret ingredient your hair care routine is missing. It’s believed to promote hair growth and improve scalp health. Here’s why:

  • Promoting hair growth: Lavender oil can stimulate the scalp and potentially prevent hair loss.
  • Combating dandruff: Its antifungal properties help reduce dandruff by soothing the scalp.
  • Adding shine: Lavender oil can add a healthy shine to your hair.

Try adding lavender oil to your shampoo or conditioner, or massage a few drops directly into your scalp as a pre-shampoo treatment.

Brewing wellness: how to make lavender tea

Lavender tea isn’t just a delight for your taste buds; it’s packed with health benefits. It’s known for its calming properties, aiding in relaxation and sleep. Here’s a simple way to brew your own lavender tea:

  1. Gather lavender buds: Use fresh or dried lavender buds. If using fresh, ensure they’re clean and pesticide-free.
  2. Boil water: Start with fresh, cold water and bring it to a boil.
  3. Steep the lavender: Add the lavender buds to a tea infuser and place it in your cup. Pour hot water over the buds and let them steep for about 5 minutes.
  4. Strain and enjoy: Remove the infuser and enjoy your tea. You can sweeten it with honey or a slice of lemon for added flavor.

Drinking lavender tea can be a calming ritual before bedtime or a refreshing start to your day.

A gateway to tranquil slumbers

The power of lavender to transform our sleep experience is more than just folklore; it’s backed by science. Lavender oil’s reputation as a natural sedative is well-earned, making it a popular choice for those seeking a restful night’s sleep.

Lavender oil for sleep: a natural sedative

The soothing properties of lavender can help calm the nervous system, promoting better sleep.

Lavender oil’s ability to improve sleep quality is not just a claim; it’s supported by scientific research. Studies have shown that lavender oil can:

  • Reduce sleep disturbances: It helps in reducing the frequency of waking up during the night.
  • Lengthen sleep duration: Using lavender oil can increase the overall time spent in sleep.
  • Enhance sleep quality: Users often report a deeper, more restful sleep when using lavender.

To incorporate lavender oil into your bedtime routine, consider the following methods:

  • Aromatherapy diffuser: Add a few drops of lavender oil to your diffuser before bedtime.
  • Pillow spray: Mix lavender oil with water in a spray bottle and lightly mist your pillow.
  • Topical application: Dilute lavender oil with a carrier oil (we like coconut oil because of its skin-nourishing fatty acids) and apply it to your temples or wrists before sleeping.

Remember, everyone’s body reacts differently, so it might take some experimenting to find the method that works best for you. Embrace lavender’s soothing properties and drift into a peaceful slumber.

The versatility of dried lavender

Dried lavender isn’t just for decoration; it’s a versatile ingredient that can add a touch of elegance and fragrance to your home and kitchen. Let’s explore the creative and practical uses of dried lavender leaves.

Creative uses for dried lavender leaves

Dried lavender leaves are a treasure trove of possibilities. Here are some innovative ways to use them:

  • Homemade potpourri: Mix dried lavender leaves with other dried flowers and spices to create a natural potpourri.
  • Lavender sachets: Fill small fabric pouches with dried lavender for a natural air freshener in drawers and closets.
  • Decorative wreaths: Craft beautiful wreaths with dried lavender for a rustic and aromatic home decor.

Cooking with dried lavender can add a unique flavor to your dishes. Here are some culinary ideas:

  • Infused sugars: Blend dried lavender with sugar to create a fragrant sweetener for teas and baked goods.
  • Herbal teas: Combine dried lavender with other herbs for a relaxing homemade tea blend.
  • Lavender butter: Mix finely chopped dried lavender into butter for a fragrant spread on bread or in cooking.

Lavender leaves: more than just fragrance

Dried lavender leaves are not only about their enchanting fragrance; they’re also practical in various applications:

  • Flavor enhancer: Add a pinch of dried lavender to savory dishes like roast chicken or lamb for a subtle, aromatic flavor.
  • Bath soaks: Create a soothing bath soak by adding dried lavender leaves to hot water for a relaxing experience.
  • Natural cleaner: Infuse vinegar with dried lavender for a fragrant, all-purpose household cleaner.

Experiment with these ideas and discover the versatility of dried lavender in your daily life.

Lavender in aromatherapy and personal care

Lavender’s soothing aroma makes it a beloved ingredient in aromatherapy and personal care products. Its calming properties can be infused into soaps and lotions, creating spa-like experiences right in your home.

Soothing soaps and lotions

Creating your own lavender-infused soaps and lotions is easier than you think. Here are some simple recipes:

Lavender soap:

  1. Melt glycerin soap base in a double boiler.
  2. Mix in a few drops of lavender essential oil and dried lavender buds.
  3. Pour into molds and let it set.
  4. Enjoy your homemade soothing lavender soap.

Lavender lotion:

  1. Start with an unscented lotion base.
  2. Stir in lavender essential oil until well blended.
  3. For extra relaxation, add a few drops of vitamin E oil.
  4. Your lavender lotion is ready to moisturize and calm.

These homemade products not only nourish your skin but also provide a relaxing aromatic experience.

Crafting lavender sachets and dried flower arrangements

Dive into DIY projects with lavender and add a touch of nature’s calm to your home. Lavender sachets and dried flower arrangements are not only beautiful but also functional.

Lavender sachets:

  1. Fill small cloth bags with dried lavender buds.
  2. Add a few drops of essential oil for extra lavender fragrance.
  3. Sew or tie the bags shut.
  4. Place them in drawers, closets, or even under pillows for a soothing scent.

Dried lavender flower arrangements:

  1. Collect a variety of dried flowers, including lavender.
  2. Arrange them in a vase or tie them into a bouquet.
  3. Display them in your home for a rustic, aromatic touch.

These lavender crafts make for wonderful gifts or beautiful additions to your home décor. They bring a piece of the garden’s tranquility indoors.

Lavender’s hidden talents: antimicrobial and calming

Lavender is much more than a pretty plant with a pleasant scent. The mediterranean herb possesses hidden talents, thanks to a powerful compound called linalool, which is responsible for its calming and antimicrobial properties.

The power of linalool: lavender’s secret ingredient

Linalool is a naturally occurring terpene alcohol found in lavender and other aromatic plants. This compound is a major contributor to lavender’s distinctive fragrance and its therapeutic effects. Here’s how linalool makes lavender a valuable ally for health and wellness:

  • Calming effects: Linalool has been studied for its ability to reduce stress and anxiety levels. It works by affecting the brain’s neurotransmitter systems, creating a soothing effect on the mind and body.
  • Antimicrobial properties: Research has shown that linalool has potent antimicrobial properties, making it effective against certain bacteria and fungi. This makes lavender a natural choice for disinfecting and treating minor wounds.

Understanding the science behind lavender’s key components like linalool helps us appreciate the depth of this plant’s abilities. It’s not just its beauty and scent that make lavender special; it’s also its powerful, health-promoting properties.

Lavender in modern medicine

Lavender’s journey from the garden to the realm of modern medicine is a testament to its potent therapeutic properties. Its incorporation into supplements and recognition for its antioxidant capabilities reflect its growing role in health and wellness.

Modern medicine has begun to recognize and incorporate the medicinal uses of lavender in various treatments.

Lavender supplements and wound healing

The therapeutic properties of lavender have paved the way for its inclusion in various supplements. Here’s how lavender is making a mark in the world of modern medicine:

  • Role in supplements: Lavender is increasingly found in natural health supplements aimed at reducing anxiety, improving sleep, and enhancing overall well-being.
  • Wound healing: Lavender’s antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties make it beneficial in the healing of minor wounds and burns. It helps in reducing inflammation, promoting faster healing, and minimizing scarring.

Incorporating lavender supplements into your routine or applying lavender-infused products to wounds can offer a natural and effective approach to healing.

The antioxidant properties of lavender

Lavender’s benefits extend to its antioxidant properties, which are gaining attention in the scientific community:

  • Fighting oxidative stress: Lavender contains powerful antioxidants that help protect the body from oxidative stress, a factor in many chronic diseases.
  • Anti-aging effects: The antioxidants in lavender can also combat the signs of aging, protecting skin from free radical damage.

These properties highlight lavender’s potential in preventative health measures and its role in promoting long-term well-being. As research continues, the scope of lavender’s medicinal applications is likely to expand, solidifying its place in the realm of natural health solutions.

Aromatic and therapeutic: lavender in massage and diffusion

Lavender’s enchanting aroma and therapeutic properties make it a perfect addition to massage therapy and home diffusion. These applications can transform your environment and wellbeing, creating a serene, healing ambiance.

Lavender aromatherapy massage

Incorporating lavender oil into massage therapy can elevate the experience, offering deeper relaxation and therapeutic benefits. Here are some tips:

  • Dilute with a carrier oil: Always mix lavender essential oil with a carrier oil, like coconut or almond oil, before applying it to the skin.
  • Focus on relaxation: Use gentle, soothing massage techniques to complement lavender’s calming effects.
  • Ambiance matters: Enhance the massage environment with soft lighting and relaxing music to maximize the benefits of lavender aromatherapy.

This combination of massage and lavender aromatherapy can help in reducing stress, soothing sore muscles, and enhancing overall relaxation.

Using lavender in diffusers

Diffusing lavender oil is a simple yet effective way to create a tranquil environment in your living space, workplace, or during aromatherapy massage sessions. Here’s how you can optimize its use:

  • Select a quality diffuser: For effective diffusion of lavender oil, we recommend the Urpower 2nd Gen Aroma Essential Oil Diffuser, which was also ranked the best essential oil diffuser by New York Times’ Wirecutter. Its design ensures maximum dispersion of the oil’s aroma, covering your room with its soothing scent.
  • Recommended diffusion duration: Run the diffuser with lavender oil for around 30-60 minutes to create a peaceful atmosphere.
  • Location is key: Place the diffuser in an area where you spend a lot of time, like your bedroom or office, to enjoy the full benefits of lavender’s calming effect on the nervous system.

Incorporating a reliable diffuser like the Urpower 2nd Gen Diffuser with lavender oil can significantly improve the ambiance of your space, aiding in relaxation and mental clarity.

Culinary adventures with lavender

Lavender’s unique flavor profile isn’t limited to aromatherapy and personal care; it’s also a delightful addition to the culinary world, especially in Mediterranean cuisine. From savory dishes to sweet desserts and beverages, culinary lavender can transform ordinary recipes into extraordinary experiences.

Lavender in the kitchen: culinary uses

Introducing culinary lavender into your cooking opens up a world of creative possibilities. Here are some innovative ways to use it:

  • Savory dishes: Add a pinch of dried lavender to marinades, roasted vegetables, or grilled meats for a subtle, aromatic twist.
  • Desserts: Lavender pairs wonderfully with honey in baked goods, or try it in ice creams and sorbets for a refreshing flavor.
  • Herbal teas: A few lavender buds can add a calming note to your favorite herbal tea blends.

Remember, a little goes a long way with lavender due to its strong flavor.

Lavender as a natural repellent

Apart from its culinary uses, lavender is an effective natural repellent against insects:

  • Mosquito repellent: Place dried lavender sachets near windows or in outdoor areas to deter mosquitoes.
  • Moth repellent in closets: Keep your clothes moth-free by hanging lavender sachets in your closet.

This natural and chemical-free method not only keeps pests at bay but also adds a pleasant lavender fragrance to your space.

Crafting non-alcoholic lavender cocktails

For those who enjoy a refreshing drink without the alcohol, lavender-infused cocktails are a perfect choice:

  • Lavender lemonade: Mix lavender-infused simple syrup with fresh lemon juice and sparkling water.
  • Lavender iced tea: Add a few lavender buds to your iced tea for a soothing summer beverage.

These non-alcoholic lavender cocktails are not only delicious but also offer a unique twist for your summer gatherings.

Lavender as a salt substitute

Culinary lavender can also be used as a healthy and flavorful substitute for salt in various dishes:

  • Seasoning blends: Mix ground lavender with herbs like rosemary and thyme for a salt-free seasoning blend.
  • Salad dressings: Use lavender-infused vinegar or oil to add a unique flavor to your salads without the extra sodium.

Experimenting with lavender as a salt substitute is a healthy way to enhance the flavor profile of your dishes while reducing sodium intake.

Lavender for digestive health: tame your tummy

Lavender is renowned not just for its calming aroma but also for its ability to soothe digestive discomforts. Its gentle properties can be beneficial in managing various digestive issues.

Lavender’s role in digestive comfort

Incorporating lavender into your wellness routine can aid in digestive health:

  • Soothing upset stomachs: Lavender tea can be a comforting remedy for an upset stomach or indigestion.
  • Reducing bloating and gas: Its antispasmodic properties can help alleviate symptoms of bloating and gas.
  • Promoting digestive health: Regular consumption of lavender in moderate amounts may promote overall digestive health.

Whether it’s through teas, infusions, or culinary use, lavender can be a gentle, natural way to address common digestive ailments.

Safety first: understanding lavender’s side effects

While the lavender plant offers many benefits, it’s crucial to use it safely and be aware of its potential side effects.

Understanding the safe usage of lavender is essential:

  • Allergic reactions: Some individuals may experience allergic reactions to lavender. It’s important to do a patch test before using it topically.
  • Interaction with medications: Lavender can interact with certain medications, so consult with a healthcare provider if you’re taking any medication.
  • Usage in pregnancy: Pregnant and breastfeeding women should use lavender cautiously and seek medical advice before use.

Being informed about these aspects ensures you can enjoy the benefits of lavender while minimizing any risks.

We hope this guide inspires you to embrace the many facets of lavender in your life.

Whether it’s for health, beauty, or culinary purposes, lavender offers a wealth of benefits and uses. From its soothing aroma in aromatherapy to its healing properties in skincare, and its delightful presence in the kitchen, there’s so much to explore and enjoy.

Remember to always use lavender safely and enjoy the tranquility and well-being it brings to your daily routine. Happy exploring!

Amanda Shiffler
About the author

Amanda Shiffler

With an M.Sc. degree in agronomy and over a decade of experience gardening, Amanda combines her plant knowledge and knack for writing to share what she knows and loves.