Flower Power

I’m not talking about the 1960s and 70s, I’m talking about the healing powers of flowers … specifically, lavender.

Lavender

Lavender is a wonderful Old World herb that has many uses, from medicinal to culinary.  I first learned that lavender was more than just an ornamental flowering herb when I worked at The Body Shop during college.  During the time I worked there, the company introduced aromatherapy items to their product line.  We all learned a lot about different herbs used in aromatherapy.

We learned that lavender aides in relaxation and that it is very healing.  We were told the story (true story) of René-Maurice Gattefossé, a French chemist who coined the term Aromathérapie in his book, Aromathérapie: Les Huiles Essentielles, Hormones Végétales.  In 1910, while experimenting in his laboratory, he burned his arm and instinctively plunged it into the nearest container of liquid.  That container happened to hold pure lavender essential oil.  After the quick healing of his burn and the lack of scarring, he began to study and write about the healing properties of essential oils.

Rene-Maurice-Gattefosse

I have recently become more interested in using herbal and natural remedies where I can (though I do still also use medicines, too).  On January 20th, I burned my arm on a pan I just took out of a 350F oven (home-grown filet mignon … it was worth it). Instead of running my arm under cold water or getting an ice pack, I went into the bathroom, put some lavender essential oil on a Q-Tip and applied it to the burn. Then I put my arm on an ice pack. The burn didn’t blister and by the next morning the pain was gone!  Below is a photo of the burn on 2/13/13 (24 days after getting the burn).

Burn

I have to tell you how amazed I was because about 10 +/- years ago I burnt my arm (same arm) on my oven when I was checking a pie.  The oven wasn’t much hotter and I put cold water and ice on it.  I ended up going to the doctor’s the next day and was prescribed burn cream for my 2nd degree burn.  Here is a photo of my scar (taken the same day as the previous photo).

old burn

And here is a photo of both burns.  What do you think I’ll be using the next time I burn myself?

both burns

Before I purchased lavender essential oil, I would pick some lavender leaves from my plant outside when I would get a burn (can you tell it happens relatively often?), crush the leaves between my fingers and apply them to the burn.  Blisters that had begun forming disappeared and the burns healed more quickly.  I also use lavender essential oil if, actually, when I get sunburn.  It helps with the pain and speeds healing, too.

Praying Mantis on Lavender Bud

Spring is coming soon… why not add a lavender plant or two to your garden.  Not only is lavender beneficial to your health, but it is also a beautiful plant and enjoyed by many insects.  Praying mantises lay egg cases in my lavender each year; and bees just flock to the fragrant flowers.

Praying Mantis laying Egg in Lavender

If you aren’t sure what variety to plant or are intimidated by the care, click here for a wonderful guide to lavender that I reference again and again!

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Disclaimer: I am not a doctor or herbalist!  Please use common sense when treating burns or any other ailment and seek medical attention when necessary!