While there are tons of herbs out there with multiple uses, lavender (Lavendula spp.) is truly one of the most versatile. Not only is its fragrance and aromatic essence useful in cooking and aromatherapy, it's herbal therapeutic qualities make up quite the list. Lavender may be most widely know for its unique scent but its antibacterial, antimicrobial, expectorant, stress-relieving, antiseptic and analgesic properties are nothing short of fantastic.
No summer survival (or first aid kit) would be complete without lavender. It's essential oil is a standard for preventing and treating bug bites and other itchy conditions that often pop up when we spend more time outdoors. Though there are some small cautions when it comes to this amazing herb, it is definitely worth your time to know more. Check out a few of our favorite products and recipes below!
A caution: Some people may develop an allergic reaction to lavender. Nausea, vomiting, headache, and chills have also been reported in some people after inhaling or absorbing lavender through the skin. Lavender applied to skin may cause irritation in some people. Oral use of Lavender may cause constipation, headache, and increased appetite. Lavender oil is toxic if taken orally.
-University of Maryland Medical Center
Herbal Formulations with Lavender
Peaceful Tea: Our own herbal tea blend
A combination of herbs formulated to tame wild & anxious spirits and calm overactive minds. Great for the end of a long day when you just need to relax!
It contains: Organically grown herbs: Chamomile, Spearmint, Passionflower, Lemongrass, Skullcap, Rose petals, Lavender, Catnip & just a hint of Stevia.
Head Soother: An Herb Pharm blend
Formerly called the Feverfew-Lavender Compound, this blend is often quite effective at diminishing and relieving various types of headaches and minor pains. Particularly effective when taken at the first sign of a headache.
Ingredients: Organic Feverfew leaf & flower, Meadowsweet leaf & flower, Periwinkle flowering tip, Lavender flower, and organic alcohol
Lavendar Bay Insect Repellant: A Redwood Oasis blend
A local and summer festival favorite, Redwood Oasis' Lavendar Bay Bug Spray is sure to keep you pest-free naturally.
Ingredients: Lavender water, witch hazel, bay leaf, essential oils of Lavender and Eucalyptus.
Delicious Recipes with Lavender
Here in the US, Lavender is known mainly for it's aromatic and therapeutic qualities but elsewhere it is used widely in gourmet cooking lending a unique savory flavor to any recipe. It's important to note that you want to use the culinary lavender species (Lavandula angustifolia, Lavandula officinalis, Lavandula intermedia). For example, lavender spike (Lavandula laterifolia) is often used in cleaning products and can taste quite soapy. Enjoy!
Lavender Marionberry Scones
*from Isa Chandra
Makes 12 scones
1 1/4 cups almond milk (or your non-dairy milk of choice)
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
3 cups flour
2 tablespoons baking powder
1/2 cup sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup fresh culinary lavender, chopped
1/2 cup non hydrogenated shortening
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups marionberries, or berries of your choice
Preheat the oven to 375 F. Lightly grease a baking sheet or line with parchment paper. Measure out the milk and add the vinegar to it. Set aside to curdle.
Mix together the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar in a large mixing bowl. Add the shortening in small clumps, then use your fingers to cut it into the flour until it appears like small pebbles. (You an also use a food processor for this, but I prefer to use my hands.) Mix in the lavender.
Create a well in the center and add the soy milk, oil and vanilla. Mix with a wooden spoon just a bit, then add in the berries. Mix again until everything is moistened, but don’t overmix. A couple of dry looking spots are just fine.
Use a 1/4 cup measuring up to scoop the scones out on to the baking sheet. Spray it wth cooking spray first so that the batter comes out easier.
Sprinkle tops with a bit more sugar, then bake for 18 to 22 minutes, until tops are firm to the touch and lightly browned. Serve warm!
Fresh Summer Fruit Salad with Lavender Essence
2 Tbs. honey or agave nectar
3/4 teaspoon dried lavender
1/8 teaspoon black pepper, fresh ground
Pinch of salt
1 Tbs. fresh lime juice
1 each: Peach, Nectarine & Plum, 1/2 inch thick slices
1 cup raspberries
1 cup blackberries
1/4 cup blueberries
1 Tbs. whole mint leaves
1. Combine honey, 1/3 cup water, lavender, pepper, and salt in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring until honey has dissolved. Remove from heat, and cover. Let steep 10 - 15 minutes or until room temperature. Strain into a serving bowl. Discard lavender and stir in lime juice.
2. Add peach, nectarine, and plum slices to honey mixture, and toss well. Add berries and mint, and toss gently to combine. Refrigerate 1 hour or until chilled. Serve.