In case you haven’t noticed, I love lavender flowers. They appear on the homepage of this website, and I specifically chose the colors purple and green for the ecohappiness brand to reflect my attraction to lavender. Given their vibrant color, lovely petals and stem, and luscious scent, these flowers exemplify the soothing sensory experience I often talk about when it comes to connecting with nature to feel happier and calmer.
Lavandula (common name lavender) is a perennial flowering plant in the mint family known for its sweet floral scent. Dating back 2,500 years, it is believed to be native to the Mediterranean, Middle East, and India. In ancient times, it was used as a holy herb and to freshen up personal items like clothing and hair. Lavender is grown in temperate climates as ornamental plants for gardens and landscapes, used as a culinary herb, and harvested commercially for essential oils. For centuries, lavender has been used in medicine and cosmetics because of its many benefits.
Benefits of Lavender
There are so many wellness-related perks to lavender. The oil extracted from the fresh flower has been shown to have sedating effects that help our body and mind calm down. Its antioxidant components can lower the level of stress hormones in our body and soothe our nerves to relieve stress and anxiety. It is a go-to scent at bedtime to help people sleep, especially those suffering from insomnia.
Lavender essential oil can be used topically on the skin or through inhalation. There are a variety of ways to use it, such as salves, sprays, lotions, creams, baths, personal inhalers, and diffusers. As a first aid tool, lavender oil does the same trick as aloe vera. You can use it on cuts or wounds as a healing agent since it promotes the formation of granular tissue and replaces collagen. Just dab a few drops onto the affected area with diluted water. Other medicinal uses include treating skin blemishes and wounds, relieving asthma symptoms, and reducing pain.
Lavender also makes an effective natural bug repellent and smells much better than chemical options. To make your own bug spray, use lavender oil on its own or combine it with ingredients like lemon, citronella, or geranium oil.
A major reason lavender is so popular is that its flowers keep their fragrance even after being dried, so they can be used in a number of decorative ways to keep a room smelling fragrant. You can hang them in small bunches upside down in a warm spot with good air circulation until dried.
Finally, lavender flowers are also edible. They can be a raw ingredient in salads, added to soups and stews, used as a seasoning, and brewed into tea. It is recommended to use lavender sparingly in recipes since a little bit of the flavor goes a long way.
How to Grow Lavender
You can plant your own lavender in your garden or as part of your landscaping, or you can grow it inside your home. For outdoors, plant lavender in a sunny spot where it can get a lot of light. Lavender plants tolerate many growing conditions, but tend to do best during the springtime in warm, well-draining soil. It should grow at a moderate pace, adding a few inches to its size each year. Lavender makes an excellent companion plant for anything from roses to cabbage.
Grow lavender inside in a ceramic, clay, or terracotta pot that has holes for drainage. The pot should accommodate the root ball with a couple of inches to spare. If the pot is too large, it will cause too much dampness and harm the plant. Be sure to move the plant around your home to follow the sun and water it at the base when the plant appears dry.
A bit of a warning: lavender can be toxic to pets like dogs and cats.
Ways to Enjoy Lavender
Besides gazing at gorgeous lavender flowers or taking a big whiff of their scent, you can relax by enjoying lavender in these ways:
- Pamper yourself or a loved one with a lavender spa gift basket filled with lavender scented treasures.
- Light some lavender scented candles around your home or office.
- Add lavender spray to your pillow to help you sleep soundly at night.
- Rub some lavender oil or lotion on your skin to moisturize it, while also helping you feel peaceful.
- Use bath gel, soap, or shampoo with a lavender fragrance.
- Drop some lavender essential oil into a diffuser to create a serene environment.
- Sip on a cup of soothing lavender tea.
- Make your own lavender potpourri from the dried flowers and a few drops of essential oil. You can place it in a decorative bowl to use as a natural room freshener.