Lavender has been favoured by many since ancient times, not only because of its delightful fragrance but also for its medicinal, personal, and household uses. Few gardens or apothecaries would have been without it, and today the plant is just as popular, perhaps because its fragrance is the longest-lasting of any dried herb. Listed below are some of the herb's common uses and those not so common.
1. Antiseptic - Lavender essential oil is a very powerful antiseptic and was used extensively during World War Two when hospital supplies were scarce. Lavender was harvested from thousands of British gardens at the urgent request of medical authorities, desperate for an antiseptic needed in field hospitals to combat infections, and clean and purify surgical dressings and wards.
2. Scented garments and linen - Plant a lavender bush near your laundry and on a dry day, drape handkerchiefs, pillow slips, and underwear over the bush.
3. Cake or Biscuit Topping - Gather lavender flowers, bruise them and add them and an equal amount of sugar to a glass jar. Screw on a lid and shake well every few days for about a month. Sift the sugar to remove the flowers and store the sugar in an airtight jar. Sprinkle on cakes or biscuits to give them a delicate lavender flavour.
4. Insect Repellant - The essential oil is a powerful insect repellant. A few drops rubbed on the skin will repel sandflies, mosquitoes, and flies. Be careful not to overdo it though as you could become too sleepy to enjoy the outdoors.
5. Bites and Stings - Apply the essential oil to bites or stings from wasps, bees, ants, blue bottle, and spiders.
6. Aches and pains - Rub the essential oil on rheumatic joints and muscular aches and pains.
7. Sleep aid - To encourage sleep, put a few drops of lavender essential oil on a pillow or in a bath.
8. Headaches - To help relieve headaches, tension, and stress, dab the essential oil on the temples and back of the neck.
9. Burns - Dab the essential oil on minor burns to bring quick pain-relief and comfort.
10. Lavender in Baths - Add a few drops of lavender oil to bathwater to soothe skin irritations, rashes, and to comfort fretful infants - very useful when they're teething.
11. Skin problems - Lavender oil helps to clear acne, and gives relief to symptoms of eczema, and dermatitis by reducing inflammation, promoting healthy tissue growth, and helping to prevent scar tissue. Do a test-patch on a small area before using.
12. Fungal infections - Dilute the essential oil and apply topically to tinea and ringworm.