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Lavender is one of the budding herbalists’ best friends. Whether you’re just learning about herbalism, or are looking for a way to get more use out of these easy-to-grow herb, I’ve come up with a list of 9 ways to use lavender around the homestead.
If you’re not familiar with using lavender in the medicinal sense, I highly recommend checking out the post I made: Medicinal Plant Profile: Lavender.
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But just to refresh, the natural constituents in lavender lend it to provide many benefits and uses. It is a nervine, meaning it helps calm and support the nervous system at the same time. It also has analgesic and antimicrobial properties that make it effective at treating injury and illness. Here’s a short synopsis of how you can use lavender medicinally:
- General Pain
- Hay Fever/Seasonal Allergies
- Bug bites and stings
- Menstrual cramps
- Nasal congestion
- Soothing skin irritation
- Mouth ulcers
- Antimicrobial action for wounds
- Athlete’s foot
- Muscle cramping
- Alzheimers and dementia
- Pregnancy – helpful to treat stress, anxiety, headaches, backaches, labor pain relief and postnatal wound healing, and postpartum depression
- Diaper Rash – lavender hydrolat can be used on babies
In addition to helping treat the conditions above, you can also use it in 9 additional ways:
1. Homemade Cleaning Products
Part of living a more simple, natural life is systematically reducing the store-bought chemicals in our homes. I feel much better cleaning with natural things like vinegar and essential oils than mystery chemicals in a bottle. Lord knows what we’re exposing ourselves to.
There are a number of easy homemade cleaning products you can make with lavender leaves or lavender essential oil.
I keep a quart-sized mason jar with white vinegar below the sink in my kitchen. I’ll add orange peels, or sprigs of lavender, or mint, or whatever else I forage to it to help make a foundation for my homemade cleaning supplies. I love spraying this around my door jam to get rid of ants and prevent them from coming back.
Lavender Carpet Cleaner
Combine 1 cup baking soda with 5-6 drops of lavender essential oil. Sprinkle this over your carpet and gently work it in between the fibers and let sit for up to 1 hour. Then vacuum as normal.
All Purpose Lavender Spray
Combine equal parts white vinegar and water in a mason jar with fresh sprigs of lavender and orange peel. Strain before putting it in a spray bottle. For more lavender scent, you can add lavender essential oil to it too.
Or, combine 30 drops lavender essential oils to 1 cup vinegar for a more concentrated all purpose spray.
2. Lavender Satchels in Dresser Drawers
Simple satchels full of fresh or dried lavender flowers and leaves tucked into your dresser drawers does two things: the gentle shaking of opening and closing your drawers will release a lavender scent that is divine, and lavender is a natural bug repellent, so it will keep bugs and moths at bay.
If you sew, you can easily sew a bag, leaving a small corner open, fill it with dried lavender, and then sew it shut. Or, you can buy these muslin bag and fill them with lavender instead.
3. Lavender Satchel in the Dryer
Another great way to imbue your clothes with the relaxing scent of lavender is to make the satchels above, and toss them into your dryer when you dry your clothes.
4. Lavender Air Freshener
Get rid of the frabreeze and candles and instead, mix 2 cups of water with 2 drops of lavender essential oil and keep this is a spray bottle for a natural, lavender air freshener. I especially like using this on the couches where the dogs are NOT supposed to sleep…but always end up there anyway.
5. How to Use Lavender For First Aid
As I mentioned above, lavender can be used to treat a number of ailments, but having lavender essential oil, or a homemade lavender oil (made by heating up a carrier oil and lavender leaves and flowers) in your first aid kit is a good idea. Use it to rub into aching joints and muscles, to treat sunburns or bug bites, massaged into your temples to ease headaches, or massaged onto little ones to help them fall asleep at night.
For a great video from my friend from Learn to Grow on how to make your own herbal infused oils, check out her videos below:
6. Help With Insomnia
A lavender tea is a great, easy way to help prime your mind and body for sleep and can be a great evening ritual for those who suffer from insomnia.
If lavender tea isn’t your cup of tea (hehe get it?), you can add some lavender essential oil to a difuser or take a few drops of lavender tincture under your tongue.
I’ll often difuse lavender in the baby’s room when I know he is over tired, or going to fight me during naptime.
I wrote a post on how to create your own tinctures including pictures and step-by-step instructions. Or if you’d like, I could send you a free tincture-making checklist:
7. Lavender Insect Repellent
Another great way to use your lavender tincture is as an insect repellent. Dab your tincture over your exposed skin to keep flies and mosquitoes away.
If you need more immediate bug repellent, simply grab a handful of lavender, bruise the leaves and flowers a bit and rub them on your skin. This is by far the best repellent I’ve ever found – even better than store-bought chemical DEET-laden ones. And it smells much better!
We mentioned making your own lavender oil above for massage, but you can also add it to your bath water. Or make your own lavender bath salts by mixing together 1 cup of epsom salt, 1/2 cup seat salt, 1/4 cup baking soda and 10-20 drops lavender essential oil. Use 1/3 cup per bath.
Even simpler, you can throw some fresh sprigs of lavender into your bath water while it’s running, or hang it under your shower head if you prefer showers.
Add a few drops of lavender essential oil to your hairbrush to gently expose yourself to the calming scent when you’re nervous about something.
9. Lavender In Food
While lavender is edible and can be added to breads and cakes, you can also create a lavender simple syrup. To make the syrup, combine 1 cup water, 1 cup sugar and 1 Tbsp lavender flowers or leaves. Heat on the stove-top, stirring continuously under dissolved. Strain out the solids.
This lavender simple syrup can be added to sweet tea or lemonade, poured over vanilla ice cream, or added to coffee. Experiment with it!
And for more lavender-y inspiration, check out 33 DIY Lavender Ideas
Have I missed anything? What unique ways do you use herbs in your home? I’m always eager to learn and share more ideas!