Lavender Oil: A Love for Lavender Oil

A whiff of lavender oil can trigger various sensations, and its sweet fragrance brings to mind rows and rows of beautiful blue-violet flowers under the summer sky. But if you look beyond lavender oil’s aroma, you’ll find that there’s more to it than meets the eye – or your sense of smell.

What Is Lavender?

lavender oilLavender oil comes from lavender (Lavandula angustifolia), an easy-to-grow, evergreen shrub that produces clumps of beautiful, scented flowers above green or silvery-gray foliage. The plant is native to northern Africa and the mountainous Mediterranean regions, and thrives best in sunny, stony habitats. Today, it grows throughout southern Europe, the United States, and Australia.

Lavender has been used for over 2,500 years. Ancient Persians, Greeks, and Romans added the flowers to their bathwater to help wash and purify their skin. In fact, the word “lavender” comes from the Latin word “lavare,” which means “to wash.”

Phoenicians, Arabians, and Egyptians used lavender as a perfume, as well as for mummification – mummies were wrapped in lavender-dipped garments. In Greece and Rome, it was used as an all-around cure, while in Medieval and Renaissance Europe, it was scattered all over stone castle floors as a natural disinfectant and deodorant. Lavender was even used during the Great Plague of London in the 17th century. People fastened lavender flowers around their waists, believing it will protect them from the Black Death.

High-quality lavender oil has a sweet, floral, herbaceous, and slightly woody scent. Its color can range from pale yellow to yellow-green, but it can also be colorless.

Uses of Lavender Oil

lavender oil usesBoth lavender and lavender oil are valued for their fragrance and versatility. The flowers are used in potpourris, crafting, and home décor, while the essential oil is added to bath and body care products, such as soaps, perfumes, household cleaners, and laundry detergent.

Lavender oil is known for its anti-inflammatory, antifungal, antidepressant, antiseptic, antibacterial, and antimicrobial properties. It also has antispasmodic, analgesic, detoxifying, hypotensive, and sedative effects. Lavender oil is one of the most well-known essential oils in aromatherapy, and can be:

  • Added to your bath or shower to relieve aching muscles and stress.
  • Massaged on your skin as a relief for muscle or joint pain, as well as for skin conditions like burns, acne, and wounds. Make sure to dilute it with a carrier oil.
  • Inhaled or vaporized. You can use an oil burner or add a few drops to a bowl of hot water, and then breathe in the steam.
  • Added to your hand or foot soak. Add a drop to a bowl of warm water before soaking your hands or feet.
  • Used as a compress by soaking a towel in a bowl of water infused with a few drops of lavender oil. Apply this to sprains or muscle injuries.

I also recommend adding lavender oil to your list of natural cleaning products. You can mix it with baking soda to make an all-natural antibacterial scrub for your bathroom and kitchen.

Composition of Lavender Oil

Lavender oil has a chemically complex structure with over 150 active constituents. This oil is rich in esters, which are aromatic molecules with antispasmodic (suppressing spasms and pain), calming, and stimulating properties.

The chief botanical constituents of lavender oil are linalyl acetate, linalool (a non-toxic terpene alcohol that has natural germicidal properties), terpinen-4-ol, and camphor. Other constituents in lavender oil that are responsible for its antibacterial, antiviral, anti-inflammatory properties include cis-ocimene, lavandulyl acetate, 1,8-cineole, limonene, and geraniol.

Benefits of Lavender Oil

lavender oil benefitsLavender oil is known for its calming and relaxing  properties, and has been used for alleviating insomnia, anxiety, depression, restlessness, dental anxiety, and stress. It has also been proven effective for nearly all kinds of ailments, from pain to infections.

I am particularly fascinated by lavender oil’s potential in fighting antifungal-resistant skin and nail infections. Scientists from the University of Coimbra found that lavender oil is lethal to skin-pathogenic strains known as dermatophytes, as well as various Candida species. The study, published in Journal of Medical Microbiology,found that lavender oil kills fungi by damaging their cell walls (a mechanism that I believe could apply to bacteria and viruses as well). The best part is that this oil does not cause resistance, unlike antibiotics.

Lavender oil can also be used to:

  • Relieve pain. It can ease sore or tense muscles, joint pain and rheumatism, sprains, backache, and lumbago. Simply massage lavender oil onto the affected area. Lavender oil may also help lessen pain following needle insertion.
  • Treat various skin disorders like acne, psoriasis, eczema, and wrinkles. It also helps form scar tissues, which may be essential in healing wounds, cuts, and burns. Lavender can also help soothe insect bites and itchy skin. According to Texas-based dermatologist Dr. Naila Malik, it’s a natural anti-inflammatory, so it helps reduce itching, swelling, and redness.
  • Keep your hair healthy. It helps kill lice, lice eggs, and nits. The Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database (NMCB) says that lavender is possibly effective for treating alopecia areata (hair loss), boosting hair growth by up to 44 percent after just seven months of treatment.
  • Improve your digestion. This oil helps stimulate the mobility of your intestine and stimulates the production of bile and gastric juices, which may help treat stomach pain, indigestion, flatulence, colic, vomiting, and diarrhea.
  • Relieve respiratory disorders. Lavender oil can help alleviate respiratory problems like colds and flu, throat infections, cough, asthma, whooping cough, sinus congestion, bronchitis, tonsillitis, and laryngitis. It can be applied on your neck, chest, or back, or inhaled via steam inhalation or through a vaporizer.
  • Stimulates urine production, which helps restore hormonal balance, prevent cystitis (inflammation of the urinary bladder), and relieve cramps and other urinary disorders.
  • Improve your blood circulation. It helps lower elevated blood pressure levels, and can be used for hypertension.

Lavender oil can help ward off mosquitoes and moths. It is actually used as an ingredient in some mosquito repellents.

How to Make Lavender Oil

dried lavender flowersLavender oil is produced via steam distillation. The flowers are picked when they are in full bloom, where they contain the maximum amount of esters. It takes 150 pounds of lavender to produce just one pound of pure lavender essential oil.

You can also make a cold infusion by soaking lavender flowers in another oil. Try this recipe from

Ingredients and Materials:

  • Dried lavender flowers
  • Mineral oil or olive oil
  • Jar
  • Cheesecloth or muslin
  • Sterilized bottle


  • Clean and dry your jar completely, and then place the dried lavender flowers in it. You should have enough flowers to fill your jar.
  • Pour the oil all over the flowers until they’re completely covered.
  • Put the jar in a place where it can get a good amount of sun, and let it sit for three to six weeks. The sunlight will help extract the oil from the flowers and infuse it with the base oil.
  • After three or six weeks, pour the oil through your cheesecloth and into a sterilized bottle.

How Does Lavender Oil Work?

Lavender oil’s effectiveness is said to be brought on by the psychological effects of its soothing and relaxing fragrance, combined with the physiological effects of its volatile oils on your limbic system.Lavender oil can be applied topically or inhaled as steam vapor. Although dried lavender flowers are can be made into lavender tea, I advise against ingesting the oil, as it may lead to side effects, such as difficult breathing, burning eyes and blurred vision, vomiting, and diarrhea.

Is Lavender Oil Safe?

I believe that using natural oils like lavender oil is one of the best holistic tactics that you can incorporate in your life. However, there are a few important guidelines to remember when using lavender oil.

Using diluted lavender oil topically or in aromatherapy is generally considered safe for most adults, but may not be recommended for children. Applying pure lavender oil to your skin (especially open wounds) may also cause irritation, so I recommend infusing it with a carrier oil, such as olive oil or coconut oil. Dissolving it in water also works.

Be careful not to rub lavender oil in your eyes and mucous membranes. If this happens, wash it out immediately. Lavender oil may also cause allergic reactions in people with unusually sensitive skin, so do a spot test before using it. Simply apply a drop of lavender oil to your arm and see if any reaction occurs.

Side Effects of Lavender Oil

Some people may develop an allergic reaction to lavender oil. There are also instances when people experience side effects such as headaches, nausea, vomiting, and chills after inhaling or applying the oil topically.

I advise pregnant women and nursing moms to avoid using this oil, as the safety of lavender oil for these conditions hasn’t been identified. The US National Institutes of Health (NIH) also warns against using lavender oil when taking medications like barbiturates, benzodiazepines, and chloral hydrate, as it may increase their sedative effects and cause extreme drowsiness and sleepiness.

Lavender Fragrance and Fancies {How To Make Potpourri}

Making your own potpourri is a delightful hobby and easier than you may think….
The ancient and fragrant art of potpourri is one of the few truly civilized and civilizing processes left for the twentieth century inhabitant to partake of. This ‘preservation of garden souls’ is a work worthy of time and loving care and its products can bring delight not only to the maker but to so many others.
We will disdain the often quoted and unworthy translation of the French ‘rotten pot’, and proceed hastily to the fact that there are two distinct techniques for potpourri production, ‘moist’ and ‘dry’.
Moist potpourri is an old method of production and its presumably the source of the French title, for it is the fragrance, and most certainly not the appearance  that is the attraction with this variety. Moist potpourri are reputed to retain their fragrance for up to fifty years, so the process results in much longer staying power. They are made from floral materials that are partly dried, despite the name.
The peak time to pick any floral ingredient is just as it is coming into full bloom. Pick after the dew has dried but as early as possible on a sunny day. Dry the flowers on papers or preferably on screens, out of sunlight but in an airy place. For moist potpourri they should be only partly dried. leathery when finished rather than crisp. Aim for a very limp appearance. Around one third of their bulk will be gone.
We use large straight sided glazed pottery crocks with good fitting tops to hold and mature moist potpourris. These should really be set aside for the purpose as it takes a number of weeks to mature a batch. Never use metallic spoons to turn the mixture. Buy some long-handled wooden spoons and keep them for this purpose alone. To make your job pleasant the crock needs to be sufficiently large and wide-mouthed to hold all the ingredients comfortably during the necessary turnings and stirrings as the mixture ages. The shortest time needed to mature the mix is two weeks. This is really far too short. The best results come with longer maturation. We wait at least six to eight weeks, but in previous centuries, far more noted for their patience than our own, the crocks were left to stew for months.
The general principles are simple. Place a layer of ‘leathery stage’ petals at the bottom of the crock, then cover with a layer of common {not iodized} salt. Add another layer of petals, then salt, alternating them until the crock is about three quarters full. A batch requires at least two weeks ageing before the remaining ingredients are added. Weigh the mixture down with a plate on which is placed some heavy non-corrodible object. A large bottle of homemade preserves is an answer. A large glass jar filled with sand and tightly capped will do the job well too. Each day the mix needs to be stirred well from the bottom. A kind of ‘petal soup’ appears and should be mixed back into the petals. If a hard crust appears, remove it and allow it to dry. Reserve this for the final mixing when it should be crushed and added back.
Next the spices, ground roots, dried peels, fragrant leaves and fixatives are added and blended. Leave for one month, stirring daily and covering again, to mellow and mix the fragrances. Finally add whatever essential oils may be required and allow the mix to continue to ‘stew’ {the word is too appropriate to be avoidable}, stirring daily, for a few more weeks.
If all this sounds tedious in the extreme, interrupting a very busy schedule, you are probably one of those who would most greatly benefit from its therapy! The fragrance alone is sufficient reward as the mixture is stirred each day, and it is no more difficult to build this routine into your day than any other daily routine.
Now is the time to move the potpourri into its final containers. Remember how long it will give pleasure to its owner and choose something worthy of the contents. Old Chinese ginger jars, oriental porcelain jars, even old-fashioned tea-caddies and marmalade jars in fine pottery are suitable. Haunt secondhand and antique shops for suitable potpourri jars. The only provisos are that there is a solid cover and that it is made of glazed pottery of some kind. Once you are looking, it is amazing how many unusual and attractive old containers suggest themselves.
The mixture in its new container will still be a little raw in its quality of fragrance, but in a few weeks will be a delight. When you wish to scent a room, remove the cover and a delicious subtle fragrance will gently pervade the whole area. Otherwise keep the lid on the mixture.
Here are a few recipes for moist potpourri. Once you have mastered the basic technique you will be able to devise your own mixes.

Lavender Antiseptic Washes & More..

Lavender Antiseptic Wash.
This is a favorite treatment for eczema, cuts, acne and minor burns.
Take a good handful of the flowers and boil together with half a liter of water for ten minutes. Filter and allow to cool before using.
Since Roman days this has been used in hot baths, to relax the body, and it is known to have a marked effect on the peripheral nervous system. It has also been widely used as a gargle for sore throats and sore or infected gums, due to its antiseptic properties and relaxant effect on the nervous system.
Hungary Water.
1 gallon brandy or clear spirits {equal to 16 cups}
1 handful of rosemary
1 handful of lavender
1 handful myrtle
Handfuls are measured by cutting branches of the herbs twelve inches long. A handful is the number of such branches that can be held in the hand. After measuring, the branches should be cut up into one-inch pieces, and put to infuse in the brandy. You will then have the finest Hungary Water that can be made.
Four Thieves Vinegar.
This antiseptic vinegar is attributed to a gang of four thieves who robbed the bodies of victims of the plague in Marseilles in 1722. They washed their bodies with it, frequently disinfecting their hands, and sprinkled it on their clothes and around their houses. It is said that all four survived without infection.
Actually it is not surprising that this famous aromatic vinegar was so successful. Many of its ingredients are among the most powerful natural antibiotics in the world. Another case of empirically gained knowledge long preceding that obtained by scientific investigation.
*Infuse garlic cloves, lavender flowers, rosemary, sage, calamus root, mint, wormwood, rue, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves in a glass flagon of wine vinegar and leave sealed in the sun for 3-4 weeks to release the powerfully antibiotic oils into the vinegar. Filter, pour into smaller bottles, add a little camphor and seal until ready for use.
Soothing Massage Oil.
1/2 cup safflower or sunflower oil
Dried pot marigold petals
12 drops essential oil of rose geranium
12 drops essential oil of lavender
10 drops essential pine oil or oil of cypress
Place the safflower oil in a glass jar and add as many freshly dried pot marigold petals as possible.
Cap the bottle and place in the sun for 4-5 days. Filter off the petals and squeeze out any retained oil from them before discarding. The oil will now be deep orange and fully charged with the active healing principles of calendula. Mix the other essential oils into the infused oil of marigold, bottle and store in the refrigerator.

Recipe: Lavender Water.

Of course this can be bought commercially. My favorite comes from Norfolk Lavender in England. But for home purposes you can enjoy making up your own supply.
In a clear glass bottle steep 100 g of lavender flowers in half a liter of alcohol {brandy or vodka are both good}. Place in the sun for a few days, then strain. Repeat until the fragrance is very strong.
Strain and seal in a glass bottle. If your hair is weak, falling out and breaking, try an old idea and rub lavender water into your scalp several times a week. Try it too as a rub for rheumatism. It has a long tradition of usage for both problems.

Lavender Cream & Lavender Night Cream.

This is an antiseptic cream and has been traditionally used for all manner of minor cuts, abrasions, bruises etc.
* 125 g white wax
500g sweet almond oil
370 g distilled water
10 g essential oil of lavender
2.5 g spike oil
Lavender Ointment:
25 drops essential oil of lavender
10 drops essential oil of lemon or neroli
5 drops essential oil of thyme
2 tablespoons oil of lavender
60 g pure beeswax
Warm the beeswax in a small pot in a roasting pan of hot water and, when melted, beat in the oil of lavender; then, as the ointment cools, add the essential oils, continuing to beat until cool. Store in a covered jar in the refrigerator.
Oil of Lavender.
This is not the commercially distilled essential oil, but a rubbing oil which can be used at full strength. {Essential oil of lavender obtained by distillation of fresh lavender flowers should be diluted in light vegetable oil for use as a massage oil when needed.}
To make oil of lavender, take a clean glass bottle and add to it a good large handful o fresh lavender flowers and cover with one litre of olive oil. Cover and leave to macerate in the warmth of the sun for three to five days. Strain through a cloth, add fresh flowers to the bottle and return the lavender-infused oil. Repeat until the oil is highly perfumed and charged with the active principles of lavender.
Lavender Night Cream
1 tablespoon avocado oil or apricot oil
1 tablespoon almond oil
3 tablespoons lanolin
1 teaspoon oil of lavender {see
‘Oil of Lavender’}
If you work outside a lot this is the ideal answer to sore chapped hands and weather beaten skin.
Put the lanolin in an ovenproof bowl and place in a roasting pan half full of hot water.
Pour in the avocado and almond oil and beat well to completely combine.
Remove from the heat and continue to beat as the mixture cools and thickens.
Add the oil of lavender. Continue beating until mixture is thick and creamy and cool.
Pour into a small pot, cover and store in the refrigerator.
Vitamin E can be added by squeezing the contents of 2 or 3 capsules at the same stage as oil of lavender is added.

Lavender Water for Fever and Headaches.

2 tablespoons dried lavender leaves
1 tablespoon Sweet Cicely
1 tablespoon marjoram
1 tablespoon red rose petals
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 large pinch ground cloves
Powder all the ingredients as finely as possible and mix with four cups of either surgical spirit or brandy.
Allow to steep for 14 days, strain and bottle, sealing tightly. Add a few drops to cold water, wring out a towel in the liquid and place on the forehead. Repeat until relief is obtained.
In my experience, a sachet of the same mixture makes an excellent portable headache reliever.
In the once Imperial Library of Hungary lies a handwritten manuscript inscribed long ago by Queen Elizabeth of that country and dated 1235. In it is written the original prescription for the famous Hungary Water. The Queen was paralysed, but was cured by a secret herbal recipe invented for her by a hermit. The preparation was rubbed each day into her limbs and eventually restored her. The Queen’s formula for Hungary Water became well known throughout Europe and was particularly widely used in southern France. The original recipe given here is on a queenly scale but can of course be made in much smaller quantities.

5 Lavender Craft Ideas To Try At Home..

Lavender Bottles.

19, 21 or 23 fresh supple lavender stalks in full flower
Lavender-colored satin ribbon 0.5-1.0 cm wide

Tie the bunch of heads together tightly just below the flower spikes. One end of the lavender should be about 30 cm, the other as long as possible.
Gently turn all the stalks up around the bunch of flower spikes to make a cage. Tie the stems together above the flowers so that they are completely enclosed in a cage of green stems evenly spaced.
Use a bodkin {or thread onto a hairpin or use a safety pin} to weave the long end of the ribbon in and out of the stalks, working round and upward until the flowers are enclosed.
The short end of ribbon should be brought down with the flower heads so that it is enclosed in the weaving. Now wind the long end several times around the stalks to secure them and finish with a bow of ribbon. I like to tie a second bow at the top of the stalks.
Dry the lavender bottles, preferably on drying frames in a well-aired, warm place out of direct light.

Lavender Dolls and Lavender Mice

Lavender dolls are a pleasant pastime for rainy days, but you must first locate a source of old-fashioned wooden clothes pegs. Use a strongly lavender-scented potpourri and place it in an 8 cm wide circle of pretty sprigged cotton fabric.
Tie onto the top of the peg with lavender satin ribbon to create the effect of a mob cap finished with a bow.
For a truly professional effect, tie a bundle of some fine black or brown wool at one end to form a little wig on the top of the peg, and fasten it on with PVA glue. It can be plaited in various ways.
Paint a face on the peg. Then tie on the mob cap of lavender when hair and face are fully dried.
Paint the base of the two prongs to imitate shoes. Then either paste on a simple wrap around cloak, or, if inspired to finer things, make a pretty little neck to ankles old fashioned dress with a lace ruff at the top.
The loveliest Lavender Mice by far that I have seen were being sold at the popular Salamanca Market held each week in Hobart in Tasmania. The upright body, made of grey felt, with a very pretty bewhiskered face was filled with fresh fragrant dried Tasmanian lavender. The mouse was finished with a lavender sprigged white cotton mob cap, lace trimmed Victorian dress gathered around the neck and lavender ribbon.
The effect was pure Beatrix potter.
Lavender Fragrance Wreaths

Florist’s wire
Fresh lavender flower spikes and fresh herb foliage eg. silvery artemisia, thyme, rosemary, lavender cotton, sweet marjoram etc. {Cut more than you expect to use.}Frames for herbal wreaths vary according to tastes. You can make your own from a single circle bent from heavy gauge wire. This is then encircled with dry sphagnum moss, binding it on tightly and evenly to make a padded base for the wreath. Raffia or thick natural string are best for creating the herb base.
Frames can also be made from various vines such as grape, Japanese honeysuckle, wild clematis {which can reach pest proportions on our property, smothering valuable shrubs}, or wisteria. Create the basic circle, then twine lengths of vine continuously in and out around the basic circle until it has reached the required thickness. Tuck ends into the wreath base as you go so that a neat but rustic effect is created.
Or visit your local florist for a wire frame which should then be bound with sphagnum as above, or a straw wreath base, or a professionally made grapevine base.
To obtain a professional appearance for the wreath, all materials need to swirl in the one direction. I prefer to work with fresh materials for the base and allow the  wreath to dry almost completely before wiring or glueing on the flowers and other ornaments. Dried foliage is brittle to work with and it is far easier to work with fresh flexible stalks of herbs. It’s important to cut much more material than you imagine you will need. Wreaths positively swallow herbs.
Gather the chosen foliage material into numerous small bunches and begin wiring these to the frame with florist’s wire. Spread each bunch over the frame carefully to cover it and overlap progressive bunches so that they will hide the stems of previous bunches. Continue swirling the material in the same direction until the frame is complete. Now tuck in extra sprigs of foliage all around the outside and inside edges, continuing to work in the same direction.
Small bunches of lavender are now wired into position in a swirl through the center of the wreath. It can now be given to a friend as a fresh green herb and lavender wreath, or placed in an airy, cool,  dimly lit place to dry and further decorate.
Dried lavender and herb wreaths can be further prettied up with small bunches of dried flowers like pinks, oregano, lavender mint and sage flowers, pink yarrow or pink and lavender statice  wired to florist’s picks and arranged around the wreath to hide the stems. Tiny lavender potpourri bags secured with lavender ribbon can also be wired or glued into place.

Lavender Basket

I began making these several years ago and they proved so popular that I have continued ever since. They can be of any size, from tiny cane baskets with handles up to substantial ones.
 Lavender baskets are very fragrant as they are filled with dried lavender potpourri as a finish to the product.
Basket with handle
Dried whole stems of lavender flowers {French L. dentata looks great but English will look good if used generously}
Lavender potpourri
Oasis cut to fit the basket and reach half its height {florist supply shops are a source}
Florist wire
Dried stems of thyme, silver flowering stalks of wormwood, oregano flowering stalks, golden achillea flowers, dried pink rosebuds wired through the base, dried sprays of white baby’s breath {gypsophila}, pink everlasting daisies, dried sprays of silver lavender cotton, cream, pink and lavender statice, dried stalks of pink larkspur, or any other dried flowers and foliage you like.
Loop the florist wire over the oasis and push through the basket to secure. Push the ends back into the basket neatly. Make sure the oasis is firmly fixed.
 Arrange the dried foliage material in the basket to form a framework for the arrangement, making sure all pieces are securely embedded in the oasis. Now fill in with lots of dried lavender spikes which should predominate and a selection of golden or pink dried flowers to add color, Gypsophila will give a lovely misty airy appearance to the basket.
 Finally sieve lavender potpourri into the basket so that the oasis is well covered.
 No two lavender baskets are the same, and they can be very individual expression of their maker. A few drops of essential oil of lavender can be added to refresh the scent of the basket from time to time.
 If you are doing a substantial pruning of large lavender bushes you can even fashion the basket itself from dried lavender twigs.
Lavender Drawer Liners
There are quick and easy ways of doing these, but for something very special try this version.
Lavender colored poster paint
Silver green poster paint
Flowering spikes of lavender
Short sprigs of lavender leaves pressed for 2 to 3 days
Watercolor paper in appropriate sized sheets, around 140 – 170 g weight preferred
Lavender potpourri
Large plastic rubbish bin liner
The paper is decorated by means of flower and leaf prints.
Squeeze out each paint into a separate saucer.
Mix with a very little water to keep a reasonably thick consistency.
Use a lavender head to do some practice printing on spare paper. Place one side of the lavender head in the paint, then press gently along its full length to obtain a print. If the paint is still too thick, or you press too hard, you will end up with a sludged effect and no details will show. Adjust the consistency of the paint with a few more drops of water if necessary. If it is too diluted it will flood the paper.
Print the pressed sprigs of leaves by placing on one side in the paint, placing on the practice sheet, covering with a second sheet of paper and gently pressing down.
When you are satisfied you have mastered the art of print painting with the leaves and flowers, design you own pattern of lavender sprigs and flowers across each sheet of watercolor paper.
Dry the sheets overnight, then place flat in the plastic bag with a good layer of lavender potpourri. Seal and store flat. After a month the paper will be fully impregnated with the scent.
If giving this paper as a present, roll and tie with lavender ribbon and decorate with a little bunch of fresh or dried French lavender flowers.

Lavender Bath Cream & Moisturising Cream.

Lavender Bath Cream
This recipe makes the bathwater feel ultra soft, fragrant and luxurious, leaving the skin satiny and moisturized with no greasy residue on either you or the bath tub.
Add 1/4 cup to each bath tub when the water is adjusted to body temperature.
Very hot water will curdle it like custard!
1 egg yolk
1/4 cup almond oil or peach kernel or sesame oil
10 drops oil of lavender
10 drops oil of bergamot
4 drops oil of verbena
2 cups water
Place the egg yolk in the blender and whirl.
Mix together the oil with the various essential oils and, with the blender on, gradually add the oil.
Now turn the blender to high speed and add the water in a thin stream into the bowl.
If there is no blender to call upon, the same procedure will work with ab egg beater or whisk-it’s just tougher on the muscles!
The cream can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks.
Shake well before use.
Lavender Body Moisturizing Cream
1/3 cup white beeswax {chips or grated from block}
3 tablespoons lanolin
12 tablespoons sweet almond oil
4 tablespoons distilled water
20 drops oil of lavender
20 drops oil of orange
10 drops oil of rosemary
10 drops oil of bergamot
Melt the wax chips in a double boiler over hot water, add the lanolin and blend, whisk together then slowly add the almond oil.
Continue to whisk the mixture for a few minutes, then add the water a little at a time, still continuing to whisk.
Remove from the burner and, while still whisking, add each of the essential oils.
Store in a closed glass container.
Lavender Bath Moisturizer
Bath moisturizers leave the skin feeling silky smooth.
Pat rather than rub dry with the towel to get the full moisturizing effect.
This one smells just like early morning with the dew on the herb garden.
3 tablespoons sesame oil or almond oil or safflower oil
3 tablespoons gum Arabic powder from the chemist
1 1/2 cups water
15 drops oil of lavender
2 drops of rose geranium
Place the gum Arabic in a bowl.
Blend the oil with the essential oil, then mix with the powder until a completely smooth consistency is reached.
Place in a blender and, with the blender switched on high, gradually add the water in a stream to produce a rich silky emulsion.
Store in a glass bottle and refrigerate.
Allow to mature for two days before using. Shake well before using and add 1/4 – 1/2 cup to each bath.

Lavender Fans.

These can be quite exquisite but should be treated as strictly ornamental and hung from a mirror or used to ornament a pillow or dressing table. They are better made as miniatures.
English lavender is freshly cut with long stems when approximately half the flower spike is open. Tie at the base of the bunch and about one-third of the way up the stems.
Cut two pieces of lavender organza or lace into a fan shape to cover the upper two-thirds of the lavender stems when gently teased out to form a fan shape. The lavender stems {I use pairs of stems for strength} form the ribs of the lavender fan. These are now sown into the lace casing, sewing both sides of each rib.
Press flat between books until dry and retaining their fan shape. Finish each little with lace and lavender ribbon bows, and wrap the satin ribbon tightly around the handle as a final touch, tying off with a bow and sprig of dried French lavender.

Lavender..A Story Of.

Lavender was once a virtual medicine chest in every home. It was used for everything: as a nerve stimulant and restorative, for the relief of muscular aches and pains and sprains, to induce peaceful slumber and ease the ache of rheumatism and nervous headaches, to promote the appetite following illness, and to relieve flatulence.
Merck said of true lavender {L. angustifolia} that it was ‘a stimulant, tonic, and used internally and externally in hysteria, headaches, fainting, nervous palpitation and giddiness’. The ‘vapours’ so beloved of susceptible victorian ladies were frequently treated with lavender water. No doubt loosened stays contributed to the cure!
As has so often occurred when old herbal remedies have been tested by modern science, many of lavender’s medicinal uses have been found to be solidly based in fact. Lavender oil has been shown to have antibiotic activity and will kill pneumococcus  streptococcus, Koch’s bacillus, diphtheria and typhoid bacilli. So the traditional use of oil of lavender in the treatment of mild burns, abrasions, cuts, sword wounds, sores, varicose ulcers ans stings, and also for coughs, colds and chest infections with a lavender tisane or steam inhalation, would have been effective. An infusion of the flowers of true lavender was also used as a douche for leucorrhoea.
Lavender oil was used extensively as an antiseptic in World Wars I and II when surgical supplies became scarce. Lavender farms, herb farms and every grower of a lavender bush in England were asked to contribute lavender for the cause. Britain, cut off from Continental sources of much needed drugs, appeals to its citizens to assist the war effort by gathering various herbs from the seashore and countryside. Among the herbs requested in World War II were foxgloves, comfrey, wormwood, marigolds, yarrow, elderflowers and hawthorn berries from the hedgerows and woods, and seaweeds rich in agar from the coast. Some 750 tonnes of dried herbs were gathered by the Woman’s Institute, Girl Guides, Boy Scouts and men and women in the various services. And should that quantity not sound enough, the quantity of fresh required to produce that amount of dried herbs was 6,000 tonnes!

In France, it is still quite common for housewives to keep a bottle of essence of lavender for use on bruises, sprains and bites.
Anyone who has stripped dried lavender flowers from their stalks on a warm summer day in a fairly closed room will know that the temptation to fall asleep is utterly irresistible. Its sedative action is amazingly strong and often, by just opening a bottle of oil in a confined space, I have seen visible relaxation in a person who is very anxious or stressed.
A week infusion {5 g of dried flowers in a litre of boiling water} sweetened with honey was a traditional treatment for problems of nervous origin such as insomnia, irritability and nervous headaches. A few drops of oil of lavender rubbed on the temples was considered equally effective. And if your sleeplessness is of the tossing and turning variety compounded by summer heat, try my favourite trick of sprinkling the pillow with cool fragrance lavender water. It is amazingly effective as it is old-fashioned. Sleep pillows containing fresh dried lavender are the answer for those who make a habit of seeing the dawn in.
A rub-down of lavender oil before retiring to bed completely relieves night-time symptoms of constantly spasming leg muscles, which is a truly exhausting condition to suffer from. For those with weary legs at the end of a hard day’s work, a few drops of oil of lavender in a hot footbath can relieve fatigue remarkably. A few drops of oil rubbed into the skin has also been used traditionally to ease neuralgic pain. And an old countryman’s trick in both England and France was to tuck a spray of lavender under a hat to prevent or cure a nervous headache.
Lavender water rubbed on the back and chest can, in my experience, do much to quieten irritating chest coughs and has traditionally been used for this purpose in France. Lavender is sedative to both the nervous system and the respiratory tract.
Compound tincture of lavender or tincture of red lavender was listed in the British Pharmacopoeia for over two hundred years. It was known in the eighteenth century as Red Hartshorn or Palsy Drops. The early formulation was a complex one involving the distillation of lavender flowers, sage flowers, rosemary flowers, cowslips, betony flowers and others with French brandy. A maceration was then prepared from the distillate and various aromatic spices. Finally fixatives, colourants and fragrance were added in the form of the Apothecary’s Rose {R. gallica officinalis}, musk, ambergris, saffron and red sandalwood. The 1746 Pharmacopoeia saw a considerable simplification in the formulation, consisting of the oils of rosemary and lavender added to spirits of wine and macerated with nutmeg, cinnamon and red sandalwood. This formulation remained virtually unchanged thereafter.
Red lavender lozenges were also favoured as a mild stimulant against faintness and giddiness. Other traditional formulations included the famous Oleum Spicae, which consisted of one part of oil of lavender and three parts spirits of wine and was popularly used on sprains and stiff or aching joints. Pure oil of lavender was once commonly used rubbed into paralysed legs to stimulate them. I imagine that in cases of hysterical paralysis caused by trauma of various kinds it might well have been very effective.
The volatile oil obtained from distillation of L. angustifolia contains lavenderyl acetate, terpineol, pinene, borneol, camphor, cineole, linabol, limonene and linalyl acetate.
Spanish lavender oil, which is distilled in Spain, has a chemical composition resembling that of spike lavender oil. L. stoechas {Italian lavender} is similarly distilled and is likewise low in the esters present in L. angustifolia. They are used to add fragrance to soaps, disinfectants and other household items, in the manufacture of some fine varnishes and lacquers and by porcelain painters.
While its medicinal use appears to be restricted to veterinary practice, there is a traditional use of spike lavender oil in promoting the regrowth of hair that is falling out Where the problem is of nervous origin there may well be a particular basis for such a tradition. Lavender also had a reputation as a stimulant to the scalp. Arab women have traditionally used a lavender and basil based tonic to perfume and strengthen their hair, To make it, mix together in a glass bottle 2 cups of vodka, 30 ml lavender water, 30 drops of essential oil of lavender and 30 drops essential oil of basil. Allow to mature for two months, shaking thoroughly at regular intervals.
Even the ‘straw’, the stems of dried lavender after the flowers have been stripped, has found medicinal use, being burned in bundles as a deodorant and disinfectant of sick rooms.
Many lavender products are available on the market, but if you grow your own lavender it is possible to make up some of these old-fashioned fragrant formulas for yourself. Be sure to use English lavender {L. angustifolia}.