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Lavender a plant with a variety of uses

 'Lavender's blue, dilly dilly, lavender's green,

When I am king, dilly, dilly, you shall be queen'

           The first two lines to a well known early English nursery rhyme and folk song and thought to be on the subject of courtship.

 For centuries now, Lavender has been used for many occasions, not just courtship and in this article we'd like to tell you a bit about our relationship with this very aromatic little blue flower.

       Lavender has long been used for it's aroma and it's name it thought to originate from the latin 'Lavare', meaning to wash. Lavender was commonly used in Roman baths to scent the water, and it was thought to restore the skin but it was the Greeks who discovered early on that lavender would release a relaxing fume when burned, if crushed and treated correctly.

Essential oil of lavender has antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties and was used during WWI in hospitals as a disinfectant to help combat infection.

Lavender is well known for it's soothing and relaxing properties too and there are many remedies that prescribe lavender for just this purpose, such as putting lavender seeds in your pillow case to aid sleep, or by making an infusion using hot water to help relaxation, and thereby promoting sleep.

Largely due to it's popularity with Queen Victoria, the demand for Lavender grew to the point where it began to be commercially cultivated and today it is grown in its largest quantities by the following countries Canada, United States, Australia, Japan, Bulgaria, Germany, Bulgaria, Russia, Spain and the Netherlands but by far the largest producer of Lavender is the Provence region in France.

These days Lavender has many uses, and it's blanketing effect of purple or blue colour is used in landscaping, it has it's place in herbalism and aromatherapy and is can be used decoratively and has been worn in the form of a posie to ward off insects, thought it's likely to still attract the bees! Lavender honey is another export of the Provence region.

Here is a list of ten common uses which you might find of interest:



  1. Lavender flowers (fresh or dried) emit a strong, aromatic, uplifting scent when crushed between the fingers. For a quick mood pick-me-up or instant stress relief, crush and roll between your fingers a few of the flower buds and inhale the scent slowly and deeply. The combination of breathing deeply and inhaling the lavender scent will calm nervous tension, anxiety and panicky feelings within minutes.

  2. A relaxing, soothing tea can be made from the flowers. Just put one heaping tablespoon of the fresh or dried flowers in a tea pot, and pour boiling water into the pot. Infuse for about ten minutes. This tea calms the nerves, settles the stomach and “butterflies” and induces sleep.

  3. Lavender essential oil can be applied like a perfume to the hair, neck, ears or other body parts. Smells delicious!

  4. Add several drops of lavender oil to your bath for a soothing soak, or just add a generous handful of the fresh or dried flowers if you don’t have the essential oil.

  5. To make sleep more restful, drip a few drops of lavender oil on your pillow. Another option is to wrap a handful of the dried flowers in a cheesecloth sachet, tie and throw in your pillowcase.

  6. To soothe a sunburn, add a few drops of the essential oil to water in a spray bottle, and mist sunburned skin.

  7. Wrap a handful of lavender flowers in a square of cheesecloth and tie with a string. You can also drip a few drops of essential oil onto the sachet for an extra aromatherapy boost. Throw the sachet in your dryer to make your clothes smell great. This will freshen up to 25 dryer loads!

  8. Apply lavender essential oil to insect bites and stings, cuts, scrapes and abrasions. Lavender is very anti-septic and helps destroy germs that can cause infections.

  9. Infuse fresh or dried lavender flowers as if to make a tea. But instead of drinking it, let it cool down and use as a hair rinse to reduce dandruff.

  10. Pulverised lavender flowers can add a unique and delightful flavour to salads, custards, jams, jellies and cookies, especially sugar cookies. It is a culinary relative to mint, sage, marjoram and thyme and can be used in the same fashion as these herbs. Lavender is so versatile in the kitchen, that virtually any experimentation with it will yield favourable results


Why not take a look at the range of lavender products that we stock at Real Foods http://www.realfoods.co.uk/lavender


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