Popular in soaps, shampoos and fragrances, but is also a natural remedy for insomnia, anxiety, depression and is known for its soothing effect. Never use lavender on an open wound, but otherwise it is an excellent and soothing herb.
Lavender Plant History
The origin of Lavender is believed to be from the Mediterranean, Middle East and India. Its history goes back some 2500 years. Lavender is a flowering plant of the mint family known for its beauty. Its sweet floral fragrance and its multiple uses.
Lavender derives its name from the Latin ‘lavare’ meaning ‘to wash”. The Romans used Lavender to scent their baths, beds, clothes and even hair. They also discovered its medicinal properties. Its widespread presence is understandable due to its beautiful flowers, its alluring scent and its extensive uses.
How To Grow Lavender
All lavender varieties require well-drained soil, especially during the winter months. To ensure good drainage, mix some sand or gravel into the soil before you plant lavender or grow the plants in mounds, raised beds, or on slopes. Instead of applying moisture-holding organic mulches, consider using rock or stone, especially in humid climates.
Once established, lavender is very low-maintenance and requires minimal watering or pruning. If the stems become woody as the plant matures, prune it back by about half its height in the spring to promote fresh new growth and robust flowering. In the summer, clip faded blooms to encourage repeat blooming throughout the season.
How To Dry Lavender
The most simple way to dry fresh lavender is to let it hang dry.
- Collect handful-size bouquets, secure the stems together with twine or a rubber band, and hang them upside down to passively dry.
- If you harvested a lot of lavender at once, it is best to create and hang several small bunches rather than one large one. Large dense bunches of lavender will receive less air flow, dry more slowly, and are more prone to developing mold.
- For that same reason, do not tie the bands too tightly.
- Hang the lavender bunches in a warm, dry location with good air circulation. An open window or fan nearby will help. Drying lavender in a dark place (out of direct sunlight) will improve color retention.
- The time it takes to fully dry can vary from a couple of weeks to over a month, depending on your climate. To test if the lavender is dry, try to break one of the stems. When completely dry, they will crisply snap in half rather than bend.
- You could also place bunches upright to dry in a similar manner (such as in an airy vase without water) though the tops may flop over and dry less straight.
How To Make Lavender Oil
Lavender Oil is created by steeping dry lavender flowers in a carrier oil of choice for a minimum of a week, up to several weeks. To create the most healing and aromatic lavender oil, it is also very important to use dry lavender flowers that were harvested at the prime time (early in bloom). The flowers should also be air-dried or exposed to only low heat while drying. Otherwise, their essential oil content is far less.
The oil is used as a disinfectant, an antiseptic, an anti-inflammatory and for aromatherapy. Dried lavender flowers have also become popular for use at weddings as decoration, gifts and as confetti for tossing over the newlyweds.
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