An Herbal Column– Miss Jess

As I sit here writing to you I gaze out over my garden. With the plants barely in a month, I’m amazed at what Mother Nature can do.
 One of the plants that still find amazing after all the years of gardening is lavender. This herb has a wide variety of uses in the medicine basket. 
We all know that it is a relaxant, that it can sooth nerves and anxiety. When I feel an attack of the nerves I’ll take a sachet of the flowers, or a bit of the essential oil on a cloth and just inhale.
This works for both the mental and physical nervousness.  I’ve seen tea recipes that call for lavender to relax a nervous stomach.
Tea or lavender in a diffuser or pillow can help induce sleep. Lavender can help with the physical and the mental aspects of headaches.  
Often for tension or migraines, lavender is added to a lotion base can help ease the muscles in the affected area. 
 This is due to the camphorous quality of the oil.  It acts as an anti- inflammatory to the area reducing tightness and pain.  
Next time you take a relaxing bath try adding a few drops of the oil to your bath salts.Lavender can also be used for a variety of skin ailments. 
 In school, we often used it, in a lotion form for bug bites, sunburns, iron burns and scalding. 
It protects the area from both bacterial and fungal infections.  It decreases swelling of the skin, reducing pain from the burn.
  Along with chamomile it can help sooth the itch from psoriasis and eczema.  Lotions made for sensitive skin will often include lavender oil.
Lavender blooms early to mid summer and can tolerate semiarid conditions.  Don't overwater it, and if in a pot, be sure to have well drained soil.  
Prune off stems, just before the blooms open for the strongest fragrance. Don't prune too heavily in the fall, but   Instead give it a prune in the spring when you start to see new growth. 
No matter how you grow it, or how you use it, be sure to have some lavender on hand this summer.  You may use it more than you expect!
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