Flower Power

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


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).


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!


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!

Lavender and Cuckoo Clocks

You may be asking yourselves what could lavender and cuckoo clocks possibly have in common….  I’ll tell you:  Mrs. Parr.

When I was a little girl, my mom-mom would babysit my sister and I while our mom and dad worked.  She and my pop-pop only lived about 5 blocks from us in our small town in south Jersey.  Mrs. Parr lived 2 doors from my grandparents and I loved to visit her and her husband.   

When I think of her house I remember the smallish but beautiful cuckoo clock in the plain living room.  I loved to listen to it announce the hour!  The detailed carving was so lovely and the polished wood shone. 

Out back you were immediately met by gardens with a myriad of flowers as tall as I was (remember, I was 5 or 6 at the time).  There were daisies and other wildflowers everywhere.  I first learned about lavender there.  I remember Mrs. Parr showing me the flowers and giving me some to dry.  I had those dried lavender buds in a dish on my dresser for years… and thought of her each time I looked at them.

Now lavender is an essential part of my garden.  My 1st garden in Philadelphia had lavender and it came to the farm when we moved.  I’ve learned about its medicinal properties (see my previous post) and how to propagate it.  I’m now planning to plant a lavender hedge along our patio in the coming seasons.

Oh, and as for the cuckoo clock… I’m still waiting for one.  Dave has been to Austria and Germany for business over the past couple years.  I’ve requested one the next time he goes back!

Amazing Lavender

This evening I was pulling out some Pennsylvania smartweed but didn’t notice the bumblebee among the flowers and was promptly bitten.  I immediately remembered what my friend, Jenny, had told me after my encounter with a yellow jacket last month…  ” Lavender essential oil applied immediately r-e-a-l-l-y HELPS!  Almost no swelling/pain!” 

Well, I don’t have any lavender EO in the house, but I do have lavender plants in my perennial garden.  I plucked a few sprigs off a plants, crushed the leaves and held it to the bite.  I honestly wasn’t sure if it would help, even though I know lavender is wonderful for burns (more about that later).  Within a few minutes I had no pain!  I continued working in the garden and picked a bunch of beans!

…now to lavender and burns.  Back in college I worked at The Body Shop and learned that lavender can speed the healing of burns.  This was discovered by someone who was working with lavender oil a long time ago, got burned while doing his experiment and accidentally spilled the lavender oil on his hand.  The burned area that was covered by the lavender oil healed much faster than the rest of the burn. 

I have gotten burned in the kitchen several times and applied crushed lavender leaves immediately.  Viola!  Pain relief and quick healing. 

A few months ago I was having soup for lunch…it was much hotter than I thought it was.  I burned my mouth so bad…I don’t think I’ve ever burned my mouth that bad before!  I took a big drink of cold water, but I remembered that I read somewhere that sugar helps if you burn your mouth…not sure how or why…but I got some sugar out. 

Then I thought about the lavender…so I ran out and picked some leaves.  I put them in a sandwich bag with the sugar and crushed the leaves so that the sugar could absorb the lavender oil.  I picked out the leaves and let a couple teaspoons dissolve in my mouth.  The pain subsided slowly and I took a couple more teaspoons of sugar later that day.  Do you know how after you burn your tongue you can’t taste anything very well?  That evening my mouth felt better…and, even more importantly, I could taste my dinner.

If you’d like to make your own Lavender Infused Sugar, simply add a teaspoon or so dried lavender buds to a cup of sugar.  Store in a canning jar or other jar in a dark place for 2 weeks.  Shake the sugar every day or couple days so the sugar can absorb the oils.  You can strain the buds out or leave them in.  Enjoy!