Dried Lavender Flowers are not only pretty, but they offer many useful medicinal properties too!
Lavender flowers innumerable uses range from flavored vinegar and jellies to sachets, potpourri, candles, soaps, aromatic in pillows, shaving creams, and cleaning supplies.
Lavender use has been documented for over 2500 years. The ancient Egyptians used lavender for mummification and perfume. Romans used lavender oils for cooking, bathing and scenting the air and the name is derived from the Latin verb lavare—which means, “to wash.” The Romans also used lavender oil in soaps and carried it with them throughout the Roman Empire. In Medieval and Renaissance France, women who took in washing for hire were known as “lavenders.” Clothes were washed in lavender and laid to dry on lavender bushes. Lavender was used to scent drawers, perfume the air and ward off infection and heal wounds. It was also recognized in Roman times for its antiseptic and healing qualities. The Ancient Greeks used lavender to fight insomnia and back aches.
Current medicinal uses promote lavender as a mild sedative and an aid to relieve neuralgia pain when used in the bath. It’s also used for treating bruises and insect bites with a compress. Lavender sprays are also purported to discourage mosquitoes.
Do you have an ample supply of lavender? Then why not turn it into a luxurious, healing, heavenly-scented homemade lavender oil? It is exceedingly easy to make your own lavender oil at home using whole dried lavender flowers. While not as concentrated as pure essential oils, there are many wonderful ways to incorporate lavender-infused oil in your natural beauty, health and home care routines.
Lavender oil is used primarily in perfumes and soaps. But its uses vary from household cleaning products to deodorizers, candles and food products. It is known for its antiseptic and antibiotic properties that can kill bacteria, alleviate the effects of bee stings and migraines, heal burns and ward off moths in clothing closets. The fragrance of lavender is also used for calming horses, promoting deeper and longer sleep and balancing emotions. Aromatherapy owes its existence to lavender. Essential oils are used to bring healing and balance to the body.
Lavender oil is created by steeping dry lavender flowers in a carrier oil of choice for a minimum of a week, up to several weeks. As the dry flowers infuse in the oil, the natural essential oils in lavender are drawn out and into the carrier oil. Popular carrier oil options include extra virgin olive oil, jojoba oil, sweet almond oil, and many more. To help you narrow down what type of oil to use, we will briefly discuss the unique properties and benefits of about a dozen different carrier oils in just a moment.
HOW TO MAKE LAVENDER INFUSED OIL
- Fill a glass container at least ¾ full of dried lavender flowers or buds. The size container and amount of lavender oil you make is totally up to you. If you intend to make lavender salve or other homemade body care products, we recommend using at least a 500ml jar or more. Note that you’ll need about the same volume of oil as the size container you select.
- Pour your carrier oil of choice over the dry lavender, filling the container enough so that all the flowers can be fully submerged and move freely in the oil. Add a tight-fitting lid. We often blend two types of oils, such as almond oil and olive oil.
- Place the jar in a sunny warm location to infuse for at least one week, or up to 3 weeks. If possible, set it somewhere you’ll remember to stop by and shake it on occasion. Lavender tends to float in oil, so you’ll want to lightly turn and shake the jar to keep things mixed up (this is most important during the first few days). A sunny windowsill is the perfect spot for this method of solar infusion extraction. A warm room with bright ambient light works as well. Avoid excessively heating the oil.
- When the time is up, strain the lavender flowers and reserve the oil. We do this by positioning a fine-mesh strainer over a bowl and pouring it all through. For an even ‘cleaner’ product, use cheesecloth.
- Bottle your oil and store in a cool and dry place.
You can now use your lavender oil for a variety of uses including make your own herbal cream!