While lavender has a scent many find appealing, it is not just for use in potpourri. There are many other uses for lavender including relieving pain, soothing irritated skin and flavoring food and beverages.
Lavender flowers can be purchased at flower shops and some grocery stores, or you can choose to grow the plant in your garden at home. Lavender oil, which is most commonly used for medicinal and aromatic purposes, can be purchased at health food stores.
Check out our favorite 10 uses for lavender oil:
1. Help you fall asleep. Lavender’s ability to sooth and relax people means it can help people with insomnia fall asleep. You can brew a tea with dried lavender and drink it before bed to help you fall asleep. Another option is to place a few drops of essential oil on your pillowcase or to tuck a potpourri sachet under your pillow. Inhaling the scent will help you drift off in no time.
2. Relieve muscle pain. Fill a tub with warm water and add a few drops of lavender to it. Soak in the tub to soothe muscle pain and body aches. The lavender in the water promotes relaxation as well.
3. Freshen laundry. Instead of buying expensive dryer sheets, add a bunch of lavender flowers to the dryer with your wet laundry. The gentle scent of lavender will infuse your clothing. Tie the lavender together with string before you add it to the dryer. You can reuse the lavender multiple times.
4. Soothe headaches. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, aroma therapists have patients inhale the scent of lavender to help relieve headache pain. A pillow filled with dried lavender flowers can help soothe the pain from a migraine or other headache. A person can lie with their head on the pillow or drape the pillow over the face, so that they can inhale the scent of the herb.
5. Rinse away dandruff. Lavender helps improve the health of your skin, including your scalp. To make a hair rinse that helps get rid of dandruff and the yeast that causes it, boil water and steep lavender flowers in the water for about ten minutes. Let the tea cool and then pour over your scalp.
6. Add to coffee or hot chocolate. Lavender pairs very well with coffee or chocolate. Enhance the taste of hot chocolate by adding a few lavender flowers to it. You can also flavor plain sugar with lavender. Add a few tablespoons of lavender flowers to a cup of sugar and let sit for a few weeks. Use the sugar to sweeten coffee.
7. Mix with other herbs in cooking. Lavender is an essential ingredient in herbes de Provence, an herb mix popular in French cooking. Combine equal parts dried lavender, rosemary, thyme, oregano, marjoram, savory, basil, fennel seed. Use as desired on vegetables and meats for a flavorful taste.
8. Soothe burns. Like aloe, lavender helps soothe sunburns. You can spray cooled lavender tea on the burn or add a few drops of the essential oil to water and apply that to skin. It also helps soothe skin that is irritated from conditions such as eczema or from outside irritants.
9. Add to baked goods. Lavender flowers add a delicate, herbal flavor to baked goods such as shortbread and biscuits. Chop the flowers finely and add to your favorite scone or shortbread recipe.
10. Natural perfume. Lavender oil serves as a wonderful alternative to commercial perfumes. It provides a lovely scent and is free of mysterious ingredients. To use it as a perfume, apply a drop or two to your wrists, neck or behind your ears.
Whether you grow it yourself or purchase a small bottle of essential oil, lavender is an herb with many uses. If you plan on eating it, be sure to purchase culinary lavender, so that you are sure it is safe for consumption. No matter what, look for lavender that is grown organically so that you do not get a dose of pesticides as well.
Guest Post: Elli is a writer for Your Local Security. She was born and raised in Colorado and now enjoys skiing, playing tennis, and hiking in the mountains of Salt Lake City, Utah.