What is lavender and why would I want to use it you say - well, read on. . .

Lavender or Lavandula is a flowering, annual in some cases (must be planted every year) or most likely a perennial (comes back year after year), and is part of the mint family. It is native to the Mediterranean region. There are many cultivars and varieties. You can find a variety that will grow in just about any area of the country but some do better than others (more about growing lavender later).

Quoted From Wikipedia - this just about says it all

"Lavenders are widely grown in gardens. Flower spikes are used for dried flower arrangements. The fragrant, pale purple flowers and flower buds are used in potpourris. Dried and sealed in pouches, they are placed among stored items of clothing to give a fresh fragrance and as a deterrent to moths. The plant is also grown commercially for extraction of lavender oil from the flowers. This oil is used as an antiseptic and for aromatherapy."

Lavender flowers yield abundant nectar which yields a high quality honey for beekeepers. Lavender monofloral honey is produced primarily in the nations around the Mediterranean, and marketed worldwide as a premium product. Lavender flowers can be candied and are used as cake decoration. Lavender is also used as a herb, either alone or as an ingredient of herbes de Provence. Lavender is also used to flavour sugar, the product being called "lavender sugar", and the flowers are sometimes sold in a blend with black tea, as "lavender tea".

French chefs in and around Provence, France have been incorporating this herb into their cuisine for many centuries. Lavender lends a floral, slightly sweet and elegant flavour to most dishes. For most cooking applications it is the dried buds (also referred to as flowers) of lavender that are utilised, though some chefs experiment with the leaves as well. It is the buds however that contain the essential oil of lavender, which is where both the scent and flavour of lavender are best derived.

English lavender, Lavandula angustifolia, yields a highly effective essential oil with very sweet overtones, and can be used in balms, salves, perfumes, cosmetics, and topical applications.

Essential oil of lavender has antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties. It was used in hospitals during WWI to disinfect floors, walls and other surfaces.

An infusion of lavender is claimed to soothe and heal insect bites. Bunches of lavender are also said to ward off insects. If applied to the temples, lavender oil is said to soothe headaches. Lavender is frequently used as an aid to sleep and relaxation: Seeds and flowers of the plant are added to pillows, and an infusion of three flowerheads added to a cup of boiling water are recommended as a soothing and relaxing bedtime drink.

Lavender oil (or extract of Lavender) is claimed to heal acne when used diluted 1:10 with water, rosewater, or witch hazel; it is also used in the treatment of skin burns and inflammatory conditions (it is a traditional treatment for these in Iran)."

So, you see, lavender is a very versatile herb that can be used in the garden for beauty, in craft projects, ointments, soaps, cooking, for weddings in favors and as an alternative for the traditional rice toss, and just to enjoy for it intoxicating aroma.

Limauge Boutique sells lavender buds and bunches imported from France as well as eye pillows, sachets, and lavender food products made in the US from French lavender. Visit us today www.limaugeboutique.com

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