LEARNING

Learning At The Potter's Wheel is a collection of articles on home, family, marriage, parenting, natural medicine and herbs. . . along with a few other items of interest. Have fun sorting through my junk drawer of assorted thoughts and ramblings.

AT THE POTTER'S WHEEL

The Potter has persisted in giving me treasures I don't always understand or appreciate. Patiently, He is teaching me to trust that all I really need to know is that I am in HIS hands. . .

LAVENDER

ALSO KNOWN AS:
Lavendula angustifolia
English Lavender

PARTS USED
Flowers, stem

PHYTOCHEMICALS & NUTRIENTS
Alpha-pinene, beta-pinene, beta-santalene, borneol, camphor, caryophyllene, coumarin, geraniol, limonene, linalool, luteolin, 1, 8-cineole, rosmarinic acid, tannin, umbelliferone, ursolic acid.

Flowers are normally harvested between the end of July and the middle of August. Harvesting happens within a week’s span when the flowers are in full bloom, preservation/processing taking place immediately for maximum fragrance.

PROPERTIES & USES

ESSENTIAL OIL
As an industry, Lavender oil ranks in the top five essential oils produced per year. The essential oil of lavender is found in the flowers and stalks of the plant. Lavandula angustifolia, yields a highly effective essential oil with very sweet overtones, and can be used in balms, salves, perfumes, cosmetics, and topical applications. It is especially useful as an ingredient to cover disagreeable odors in herbal preparations and compounds.

AS A FOOD
Lavender flowers produce an abundance of nectar which yields a high quality honey. Lavender honey is produced primarily in the
Mediterranean. Lavender flowers can be candied and used as cake decoration. Lavender is also used to flavor sugar. The flowers are sometimes sold in a blend with black tea. Lavender lends a mildly sweet and floral flavor to foods. The dried flowers are used in most cooking applications.

FORMS OF USE
In addition to essential oil, Lavender can be used in fresh bunches, as a dried herb, or powdered for
sachets and/or potpourris.

Dried and sealed in pouches, Lavender gives clothing a fresh fragrance and acts as a deterrent to moths. Bunches of lavender are also said to ward off insects. Lavender oil is also used in veterinary practice to kill lice and other parasites on animals.

INTERNAL APPLICATIONS
At one time Lavender was considered a digestive aid and
used as a condiment at meals to soothe the stomach. As a carminative, Lavender is considered a substance that helps remove gas from the digestive tract, easing related bowel pains. As a vermifuge, Lavender is sometimes used to help expel intestinal worms.

A soothing bedtime infusion can be made by pouring boiling water over three flower heads and allowing them to steep. This makes a tea which aids relaxation.

AROMATHERAPEUTIC APPLICATIONS
The essential oil of Lavender is very popular in aromatherapy. Lavender’s soothing scent has nervine properties. This characteristic means that Lavender’s aroma helps support the nervous system’s function by easing anxiety and tension. A few drops rubbed on the temple will ease a nervous headache.

This property also makes Lavender a helpful treatment against hyperactivity and insomnia. A few drops of the essence of Lavender in a hot footbath can have a marked influence in relieving fatigue and can help relieve stress and depression.

Lavender is frequently used as an aid to sleep and relaxation. Sometimes, seeds and flowers of the plant are added to pillows to encourage restful sleep.

ANTISEPTIC & ANTI-INFLAMMATORY
Lavender’s essential oil has antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties. Its germicidal properties are pronounced. The essential oil is reported to have been used to swab wounds and as a surgical disinfectant (floors, walls and other surfaces) in some hospitals during World War I. It is useful in the treatment of sores, varicose ulcers, burns and scalds.

The antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties of Lavender also make medicinal inhalation of steam with Lavender essential oil a helpful treatment for congestion. By direct application to the skin or in bath water, Lavender is considered soothing.

Lavender constituents are believed to be effective against bacteria, fungus, microbial activity on gums, airborne molds, and even against staph germs (when mixed with other oils). It’s effectiveness in treating gum disease also makes it helpful in soothing resultant tooth aches. A distilled water preparation made from Lavender can be gargled to treat hoarseness and laryngitis.

In some French households it was once common to use Essence of Lavender as a remedy against bruises, bites and trivial aches and pains, both external and internal. An infusion of lavender is claimed to soothe and heal insect bites as a topical application. Lavender oil (or extract of Lavender) is claimed to heal acne when used diluted 1:10 with water, rosewater, or witch hazel

MISCELLANEOUS APPLICATIONS
Lavender is considered beneficial for the skin, easing the symptoms of psoriasis, and other skin problems. Applied externally, Lavender can help relieve neuralgia, sprains, and rheumatism.

The oil is sometimes used in the embalming of corpses.

CAUTIONS & CONSIDERATIONS

§ The essential oil of Lavender can mimic estrogens and should be used with caution, especially by those suffering from hormonal imbalances.

§ Ingesting lavender should be avoided during pregnancy and breastfeeding.

§ Lavender essential oil should not be taken internally.

§ Although Lavender oil has anti-inflammatory effects, it should be used with caution since lavender oil can also be a powerful allergen.

As with all herbs, avoid use of plants that have been exposed to toxic chemicals or have not been certified 'chemical free.'

Disclaimer: None of this is to be considered a substitute for medical examination and/or treatment. Use what you will, but do so knowing that you must consider your own circumstance and the application of these things with sound judgment.




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