The Latin name for lavender is Lavandula angustifolia or officinalis. Lavender comes from the word lavare, which means to wash. Lavender is a hardy winter plant. It has lanceolate, grayish leaves. In the summer purple flowers will appear on the flower stalk.
According to herbal books Cleopatra sprinkled herself with lavender before seducing Julius Caesar. In the Middle Ages, when hygiene wasn’t high on people’s priority list, everyone was happy to use lavender. The herb got rid of bacteria and other critters. People washed themselves with it and rubbed lavender oil on to smell good, and to protect themselves against the plague and other diseases.
Because of its strong scent lavender sticks in our minds. The heavy smell of ethereal oils enters our brain via the nerves in the nose. Ethereal oils of a plant each have their own specialty. Lavender brings calm. Sometimes it’s referred to as the student’s herb. Is your head spinning with stress? Lavender ensures that the tension is carried downward, into the earth. A few flowers on the pillow, or rub the forehead with lavender water or cream and peace descends.
Lavender has one other important use. The herb protects the skin from the fierce rays of the sun. Instead of slathering on a sunscreen with SPF 20 you can apply a cream, lotion, or oil with lavender as an alternative. By using these natural remedies the body can still absorb the vitamin D from the sunlight. Everything we put on our skin gets absorbed into the bloodstream. Many sunscreens allow free radicals to enter our bodies. So purchase a good sun protection at a health food store, or try your hand at making one yourself using the unique properties offered by lavender.
If you plan on buying a lavender plant, look for the name Lavandula angustifolio or officinalis, as only that one can be used in medicinal applications.
Tools and ingredients:
A large bowl
A bowl of fresh (or half a bowl dried) lavender flowers
2.5 liters boiling water (about 10.5 cups or 2.5 quarts)
8 tablespoons vodka or gin, as a preservative if you want a longer shelf life
How to make it:
Pour the boiling water over the flowers
Cover the bowl with a lid and leave at room temperature for 12 to 24 hours
After that place the flower water in the refrigerator for two days
Strain the water and add the vodka or gin (if using).
Dab your skin with the lavender water or pour into a mister to spritz onto your skin.