The beauty of lavender

February 29, 2012

Essential oils, Food, Healing, Herbs, Recipes

English lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) is a member of the mint family and, because it cross-pollinates easily, there are countless variations within the species.

by Linda Nedbalek — 

English lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) is a member of the mint family and, because it cross-pollinates easily, there are countless variations within the species. The plants are extremely fragrant, with rich, invigorating healing properties.

Lavender has been cultivated from the beginning of recorded civilization. It is used in aromatherapy oils and fragrant bouquets. You can also spray your linens with the oil, scent your lingerie drawers with sprigs or make a sachet for your bath.

For a lavender bath, place a quarter cup of dried lavender blooms in the center of a six- to eight-inch square of thin cotton fabric. Gather the corners together, secure the bundle with a piece of 12-inch ribbon and tie in a knot. Tie the ends of the ribbon together to form a loop by which to hang the bag. Slip this over the bathtub faucet so that the water will run through it as the tub fills. The lavender can be used for several baths before being replaced.

Lavender also can be used in a delicious, relaxing tea or in baking. Here is a recipe from the Lavender Herb Farm Tea House.

Lavender Bundt Cake

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 2-2/3 cup sifted unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon rose water
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 4 tablespoons fresh lavender flowers (or 2 tablespoons dried)
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated orange zest
  • 8 egg whites
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1-2/3 cups granulated sugar

Instructions:

In a bowl, beat butter until creamy, gradually add 1-1/3 cups flour. Add rose water, vanilla, lavender and orange zest. In another bowl, beat egg whites, salt and cream of tartar until soft peaks form. Add sugar and beat until glossy, about 3 minutes. Stir 1/4 of egg white mixture into the butter mixture, then fold in the remaining egg-white mixture. Stir in the remaining 1-1/3 cups of flour, a little at a time, folding until incorporated. Pour into a buttered and floured Bundt pan. Bake at 350 degrees for about 50 minutes.

 

Linda Nedbalek is the owner of the Lavender Herb Farm & Tea House in Chino Valley, Ariz., a working farm where lavender is raised.  www.lavenderherbfarm.com or 928-636-5270.

Reprinted from AzNetNews, Volume 28, Number  3, Jun/July 2009.

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