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Lavender – A Delight to the Senses
by Katherine J. Turcotte

Lavender, the fragrant woody perennial herb has over twenty-eight species and an even greater multitude of varieties. Dating back as far as the first century and to ancient Rome and Greece, Lavender was even used among the ancient Egyptians in the mummification process. It has enjoyed its popularity over time for a variety of uses that still continue today.Art by Sue Miller Lavender essential oil is the most popular in the United States, outselling all other essential oils. If you have never had the intense pleasure of inhaling pure lavender essential oil, you are in for quite a treat!

Traditional uses throughout history included the use of lavender in expelling parasites (worms) from children, and use against lice and insect bites Lavender was also a popular strewing herb for disinfection. More common uses are for stress relief, insomnia, depression and indigestion. Lavender is used in several pharmaceutical products including antiseptics, cosmetics and anti-inflammatory products. It was used extensively during the 19th century in the making of perfume. It is interesting to note that during World War I and II, that lavender was used when medical supplies were scarce to prevent infection and to relieve pain.

Over the centuries, lavender has been associated with powers in love, chastity, longevity, protection, purification and happiness. Just inhaling the scent of lavender is known to increase the alpha brain waves in the back of the head, aiding in relaxation and tranquility. Thus, our immune system is boosted by the benefit of lavender.

Growing lavender requires full sun, space between plants and good drainage. Lavender does not like "wet feet", so excellent drainage is essential. It is best harvested just before flowering, when the oil concentration is highest. With all the varieties available, it will not be hard to find one suited to your growing area. Flower colors range from white, to pink, blue and purple. Professionally, lavender is distilled for use in essential oils by steam.

When purchasing lavender, become familiar with each variety's botanical name. The most widely grown is the hardy Lavandula Angustifolia, also known as L. vera, L. officinalis, or English Lavender. Plants can range in height from a mere 8" to over three feet tall. Other popular varieties known for their sweet fragrance are 'Munstead' and 'Hidcote' lavender.

Other uses of lavender include dabbing it on your temples when you have a headache and is a popular ingredient in small sleep pillows to combat insomnia. It is a common ingredient in sachets and potpourri and is used to scent linens and prevent moth and bug activity. A lovely craft using lavender flowers is making lavender “wands”.

Lavender is one of the few essential oils that can be applied "neat" to the body without the addition of a carrier oil. It is useful on burns, insect bites and minor skin irritations. Mixing fifteen drops of pure lavender essential oil with common bath salts such as sea or Epsom salts will provide a bath that is pure heaven!
Lavender also has culinary uses. It is used to flavor jellies, honeys, cookies and breads. A wonderfully relaxing tea or tisane can be made using boiling water, honey and lavender flowers.

Before using any essential oil directly on the skin, it is recommended that you consult a qualified aromatherapist or herbalist. Never take any essential oil internally.

Katherine J. Turcotte
Copyright 2006



Susun Weed’s books include:

Wise Woman Herbal for the Childbearing Year
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Healing Wise
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NEW Menopausal Years the Wise Woman Way

Author: Susun S. Weed. The best book on menopause is now better. Completely revised with 100 new pages. All the remedies women know and trust plus hundreds of new ones. New sections on thyroid health, fibromyalgia, hairy problems, male menopause, and herbs for women taking hormones. Recommended by Susan Love MD and Christiane Northrup MD. Introduction by Juliette de Bairacli Levy. 304 pages, index, illustrations. Retails for $19.95
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Breast Cancer? Breast Health!

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Down There: Sexual and Reproductive Health the Wise Woman Way
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Author: Susun S. Weed Simple, successful, strategies cover the entire range of options -- from mainstream to radical -- to help you choose the best, and the safest, ways to optimize sexual and reproductive health. Foreword: Aviva Romm, MD, midwife, 484 pages, Index, illustrations. Retails for $29.95
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Susun Weed, green witch and wise woman, is an extraordinary teacher with a joyous spirit, a powerful presence, and an encyclopedic knowledge of herbs and health. She is the voice of the Wise Woman Way, where common weeds, simple ceremony, and compassionate listening support and nourish health/wholeness/holiness. She has opened hearts to the magic and medicine of the green nations for three decades. Ms. Weed's four herbal medicine books focus on women's health topics including: menopause, childbearing, and breast health. Visit her site for information on her workshops, apprenticeships, correspondence courses and more! Browse the publishing site online at to learn more about her alternative health books. Venture into the NEW Menopause site to learn all about the Menopausal Years the Wise Woman Way.