Lavender is the other herb that I use regularly even though it doesn’t grow wild anywhere that I ever am.
Lavender is also how my mom got into herbs. She called me one time complaining of a headache. I happened to know that she had received a bottle of lavender essential oil for Christmas, so I suggested that she rub some into her temples. She didn’t think it would work, but she tried it anyway and was shocked to find that it did help. The next week she called to ask me what to do about this cold she had. She was so congested. “Lavender,” I told her. Yeah, right. This stuff works for headaches and runny noses? She tried it and was amazed when it worked again. A few days later her dog developed a hot spot and she called to ask what to do. “Lavender,” I told her again. I think she thought I was crazy, but she tried it and it worked great. The next thing I knew she’d ordered two pounds of bulk lavender from Mountain Rose and was reading Susan Weed. Today she has dried lavender in a pepper grinder at her kitchen table and she regularly sprinkles it over her salads.
Lavender has a long list of medicinal properties: it is anodyne, anti-anxiety, antidepressant, antibiotic, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antiseptic, antispasmodic, appetizer, astringent, carminative, decongestant, deodorant, digestive, diuretic, emmenagogue, immune stimulant, nervine, sedative, stomachic, and vulnerary. Many of those properties are rather mild, though. We’ll only talk about a few of them here.
Lavender tincture is the first thing I reach for when anyone get’s burned. It stops the pain immediately (really, it’s amazing), it reduces and prevents swelling, and it helps to tone and dry blistery kind of burns.
Lavender is also a favorite for those little stingy paper cuts, or bigger cuts that need some good disinfecting. It has an amazing willingness to take the ouch away, as well as disinfecting, drying and toning damaged skin tissues, and promoting healing.
When Bro has diarrhea lavender is one of the first things I try. Its antispasmodic properties are relatively slight, so I generally combine it with a little ginger. I use a dropper twice a day for diarrhea in me or Bro, and it dries it right up (careful, too much can cause constipation). In addition to helping dry and tone the stomach, lavender relieves the gas and anxiety that often accompany diarrhea.
To make an awesome natural deodorant, make a lavender infusion in witch hazel. It will have the added benefit of repelling mosquitoes.