Did you know that lavender is considered to be a natural relaxant and can assist you with getting a good night’s sleep? This fabulous herb can be grown right in your own garden too. Just plant several plants (obtained from your local nursery) in full sun with well-drained soil and harvest the flower buds (and stems) twice a year. Dry the flower buds by wrapping a bunch of stems together with a rubber band and hanging the bundle in a dark, dry area away from direct sunlight. Once the stems and buds are dry, remove the flower buds from the stem and use as a potpourri. (Hint: Place in a bowl or small basket and gently squish the flower buds periodically to refresh the scent.) You can also cut 2, 3-inch squares of pre-washed cotton fabric and make your own bed-time pillow insert. Stitch together the fabric squares on 3 sides, insert the lavender and stitch the remaining side closed. Place the small pillow in your pillow case for a relaxing night’s sleep. You will wonder how you ever slept without it!
The same pillow insert can also be used to help you relax at the end of a stressful day. Place the pillow on your forehead while reclining back in a chair or on the sofa. Close your eyes and inhale the sweet scent. In addition, a drop or two of pure lavender essential oil can be placed on a soft cloth or tissue and inhaled throughout the day. It is a great way to calm your frayed nerves.
Lavender essential oil is very versatile and can be used for a wide variety of situations. One of my favorite ways to use it is in a relaxing air freshener or body spray. Add 4-5 drops to a half a teaspoon of sweet almond oil (or any light oil), and then add the oil to about a cup of distilled water in a clean, recycled hairspray bottle (the amount of water depends upon the size of your spray bottle.) Shake the mixture up thoroughly before each use. You can use it as an air freshener or lightly mist your body and carry the luxurious scent of lavender with you throughout the day.
Lavender really is nature’s perfect remedy for the stresses of the 21st century and is one of my favorite simple pleasures of life!