Friday, March 4, 2011

Lavender, a Calming Herb

The vibrant, purple buds of the lavender plant are one of the most uniquely scented in the classification of herbs. Used for culinary as well as medicinal purposes throughout history, this delicate looking plant continues to be a favorite among gardeners and alternative medicine advocates.

Lavender was used by the Egyptians as a perfume and as part of the mummification ritual. The Greeks and Romans also used lavender as a perfume and for bathing and cooking.

The aroma that comes from the flowers and even the leaves of the lavender plant is said to have calming properties. Sprinkle some of the flowers under running bath water for a soothing aromatherapy treatment. Dab a little pure lavender essential oil onto a handkerchief to have at the ready during stressful situations for an instant balm to ruffled emotions.

The buds of organic lavender can be used in cooking. Make a delicious cup of hot tea by steeping them in boiling water. An aromatic sachet can be made with the petals and other herbs to be used in pastry cooking and even as a flavoring agent for savory meats. Try making lavender sugar by infusing cane sugar with the scent and flavor of this delicate flower. Add a bit of lavender to a cup of sugar and seal tightly. Allow to sit in a cool dark place for two weeks. Use in whipped cream as a topping for desserts, in teas, or in creme anglaise for a flavor infused version of this delicate custard.

Tie a bundle of flowering lavender stems into a pretty bouquet with a silk ribbon and hang from the rod of your closet or wardrobe to keep clothing smelling nice. A sachet made from dried lavender can be tucked into dresser drawers for the same effect. Every time you open the door or drawer, the calming aroma of lavender will surround you.


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