Merry Meet my friends! It’s a cold day here in Ohio after a warmer day yesterday…and it just started snowing! I love watching the snow, love Winter, but I am the first to admit that by the end of February my thoughts are turning to Spring and to my herbs and flowers and garden beds! I can picture them in my mind’s eye…all green, and colorful and lush and growing! And the scents…so wonderful! So I thought I would pick back up on my herb postings while I dream of getting my hands in the dirt again soon 🙂 I’m sure there are many of you that are dreaming out there too!
Picture courtesy of Peaceful Acres Lavender Farm
*this place is near me and I intend to get there this year!
Lavender (Spikenard) is one of the most beloved herbs of all time. Well, to me it is…it’s a personal favorite! Its scent is unmistakable…. pleasant and mellow, sweet and earthy. It’s immediately recognizable. Lavender can put you into a complete state of relaxation and bliss with one whiff!
There are approximately 30 different varieties of lavender around the world. It has been prized as perfume by the ancient Greeks and harvested in France for its essential oils. Lavender attracts butterflies, is drought and heat tolerant and grows well in gardens and containers. Both flowers and foliage are fragrant. The blue-purple flowers on silver foliage make this a must-have plant in any garden bed and especially in a Witch’s garden! I love planting it along a sidewalk and near the front door….it is such a lovely, scented introduction to your magickal home. I defy anyone to walk past it and not run their hands thru it then smell their hands….everybody does it!! J
Plant it in warm, sunny spots. Lavender can grow 12 to 24 inches tall depending on the variety…..there are annual and perennial varieties as well. I like to plant the perennial and watch it grow bigger and spread more each year. Sometimes a plant will get leggy and unattractive..that is when it’s time to pull it out and plant a new one. To dry lavender, just cut the stalks, tie the stems and hang them to dry.
Lavender has been used therapeutically for thousands of years. Its uses as medicine are many. Lavender can be used externally or internally. Internally, Lavender is believed to be of benefit for a multitude of problems, including stress, anxiety, exhaustion, irritability, headaches, migraines, insomnia, depression, colds, digestion, flatulence, upset stomach, liver and gallbladder problems, nervousness, loss of appetite, and can aid in reducing a fever. Inhaling the essential oil in some cases has been reported to work as well as narcotics for inducing relaxation and sleep, easing symptoms of depression, and reducing headache pain. Lavender Tea is a great way to take lavender internally. Just add 1 to 2 tsp. lavender flowers to a cup of steaming hot water. Let it steep for 10 minutes, and sweeten as desired. You can add the flowers to any of your favorite teas as well. Also, lavender buds are quite edible in salads and many recipes..a couple I’ll be sharing in my next posting! A delicious way to get lavender’s benefits internally!
The external use of lavender is the easiest and most popular way to use lavender. It’s been used in cosmetics, shampoos, soaps, lotions, sachets, bath products, and healing salves and balms since well..forever! As an herbal shoppe owner, I use LOTS of lavender in my products. Lavender is used to treat burns, rheumatism, muscle pain, neuralgia, cold sores, insect bites, bee stings, cuts, and bruises. Lavender has antiseptic and antibacterial properties and even local pain killing action. It helps with psoriasis and eczema and acne. Lavender oil..whether the essential oil…or making your own by infusing your favorite carrier oil with lavender flowers is wonderful for skin care. The essential oil is safe to use straight from the bottle too. You can make lavender oil into a balm by adding a wax, like beeswax, in a 2 part oil to 1 part wax ratio. Every Witch should have a lavender oil or balm in their cupboard!
There is an abundance of ways to use lavender therapeutically. Here are a few. As always, be sure that lavender doesn’t cause you a problem before taking it internally or using it externally!
-Rub a bit of lavender oil into your temples for a headache.
-Place lavender buds in a mojo bag under your pillow to aid sleep
-Also to aid sleep, make a linen spray using lavender essential oil and vodka.
-Drop a few drops of essential oil or a handful of lavender buds in your bath to ease achy muscles, calm your nerves and help with a good night’s rest
-Put some lavender essential oil in a pan on the stove with water and breathe in the steam to help a cold
-Make a diluted lavender massage oil to ease sore muscles
-Use lavender essential oil in a vaporizer to help with allergies, sleeplessness, headache, tension and irritability.
-Use lavender water as a face rinse or use a lavender oil infused cotton ball for acne, insect bites, canker sores etc.
-Make a cold or warm compress of lavender water for bruises, sores, arthritis.
-Lavender infused vinegar water is a natural antibacterial for your home
-Make a lavender healing balm for cuts, burns, bruises, scratches and bruises.
– Lavender can be used as a tincture to treat fungal infections such as vaginal yeast.
-Drink lavender tea or food with lavender buds to aid any of the above ailments
-Throw lavender buds on your salad or find recipes using them to eat!
In Aromatherapy, Lavender oil blends well with eucalyptus, cedarwood, clary sage, geranium, pine, nutmeg, rosemary and all the citrus oils.
The Magickal properties of Lavender are abundant as well. Lavender is cleansing, protective, calming, purifying, soothing, and healing. It increases mental acuity and focus. It can be used to bring love, romance and fertility. It lends itself to clairvoyance, consecration, happiness, Midsummer, money, passion, peace of mind, psychic protection, tranquility, blessings, divination, dreams, energy, gentleness, good luck, grieving, and harmony. Also meditation, ritual, and weddings..especially handfastings! Whew!
Lavender is Masculine…its element is Air and it’s connected to Mercury. Attributed by some to Hecate and Saturn. The elves and fae love it too. Some ways to use Lavender magickally……
-Make lavender infused vinegar water to cleanse your home..great on floors and windows
-Burn lavender incense or throw lavender buds on your fire to clear your home of negativity
-Put lavender in a dream pillow to aid you in remembering your dreams and helping you sleep deeper
-Put lavender essential oil in your bath to cleanse your energy and calm you before spells and rituals
-Use lavender oil to anoint your candles before candle spells.
-Carry some lavender buds in a mojo bag to bring love to you
-Put lavender oil on a cotton ball and sniff it from time to time during a test or anytime you need to be focused (like doing your taxes!)
-Make lavender wands for use at your altar
-Plant LOTs of lavender around your home..especially right by your front door for protection..and of course the added pleasure of it’s scent!
-Add lavender stalks to your sage sticks for added cleansing of negative energy and protection
-Keep cut lavender stalks on your altar when you are practicing divination
-Keep lavender buds in your pocket….for multiple reasons as listed above!
-Dried lavender stalks can be burned like incense….or make up a loose incense using dried herbs for divination, consecration, cleansing….
This is just a few things I could think of right now. There are so many other ways I’m sure you can come up with yourself or are already using. As you can see, Lavender is more than just a pretty, sweet smelling herb. I’m a firm believer that herbs are such a great way for us to stay healthy in a more natural way. It should be in every Witch’s garden!
I’ll be adding more herbs soon…very soon 🙂 So keep an eye out! In the meantime, stay safe and warm in this Winter we’re having……and dream of Spring!
*Some of you may have seen this posting I wrote in the Sunday Stew..the Pagan online blog. Well good news..the Sunday Stew is coming back soon! You’ll be able to get to it by clicking on the icon on the right hand side of this blog. I’ll be the Kitchen Witch again this year..posting amazing recipes!
Blessings and Love, Autumn