Lavender is easily my favorite herb. I adore the way it smells: heady without being overwhelming, relaxing all my senses. But beyond its incredible aroma, lavender is also a powerhouse in the healing department.
Health Benefits of Lavender as a Tea
Relaxing – The scent of lavender is instantly relaxing, all the way to your core. To get even more relaxation out of it, brew a cup of lavender tea. Use 1 tsp. of lavender per 8 oz. of boiling water and steep for 5 – 7 minutes. As you sip on the brew you will get a double-whammy of relaxation.
Headaches – Lavender tea is great for headaches, especially those caused by stress. For more on the science behind it, check out this article.
Sleep – When a bout of insomnia hits or I know I’m going to have a hard time unwinding at night, I always prepare a cup of our Sereni-Tea. The chamomile supercharges the sleep-inducing power of the lavender, preparing me for a good night’s sleep.
One caution: for some people, lavender tastes like soap so you either like it or you don’t.
Other Ways to get the Health Benefits of Lavender
Eye pillow – Simply a small pillow filled with dried lavender buds, an eye pillow is another trick for using lavender for relaxation and sleep. This is a nice way to use it if you don’t like the taste of lavender in a tea. I like to make my eye pillows out of cotton, but any similar fabric will do. The gentle weight of the pillow on your eyes combined with the relaxing scent of the lavender will have you off to dreamland in no time.
Sachet – I’ve been known to tuck lavender sachets anywhere and everywhere. The only difference between a sachet and an eye pillow is size and shape, but the sachets are nice for tucking in your pillowcase or dresser drawer, or in the bathroom or bedroom. Give it a good massage every once in a while to release the aroma.
Essential Oil – Lavender essential oil is one of the safest. It can be used neat without diluting, and is generally considered safe for all ages. When my kids aren’t feeling well, we’ll add a couple of drops to an Epsom salts bath or put a drop on the bottom of each foot at bedtime. In addition to relaxing their bodies, the lavender is also a great healing herb in general. I feel like it enhances the healing power of anything else we’re using.
Lavender Labyrinth – If you’re ever in the West Michigan area, there’s a beautiful labyrinth made out of lavender. Different from a maze in that you can’t get lost, stop by and take a contemplative walk to get the health benefits of lavender through all your senses.
Cooking with Lavender
When cooking with lavender, less is more. You want the floral taste to be subtle rather than overwhelming. At that point, most everyone will taste it as soap-like.
Infused cream – Lavender and cream are a natural fit. Gently warm milk or cream then add a bit of lavender. Cover with a lid, remove from heat, and steep for about 30 minutes. Strain out the lavender buds, then chill the infused cream to later use in creme brûlée, whipped cream, or any other recipe.
Paired with stone fruits – Especially lovely with stone fruits, you can use some infused cream or honey with apricots, peaches, nectarines, and plums for the tastiest way to reap the health benefits of lavender. Or for less work, you can try our Apricot Lavender scone mix.
Lemonade – Our lavender lemonade is a perennial hit with customers. I’m not going to give you our secret recipe, but I will encourage you to stop in for a cup or experiment with making your own. The lightly floral lavender lifts the bright lemon to a whole new level of summer enjoyment. Maybe add a little gin for a cocktail?
While there are a number of health benefits of lavender, it is an all-around lovely herb to use. It’s scent and healing properties seem gentle but are powerful. More than just a scent, lavender is a strong contender in the kitchen.