Spring is near – I know I’m starting to feel the tug toward the garden. One of the easiest herbs to grow (other than the mint family), and the most beneficial herbs to have at your disposal is lavender. Lavender is one of the best herbs for healing and relaxation. And, it looks gorgeous in your garden too.
Lavender is a versatile herb that can easily be incorporated into your life through teas, balms, oils, diffusions, and even in your baking. It has a mild inoffensive flavor that works wonders on mind and body.
Lavender’s Healing Properties
Lavender has been shown to relax an anxious mind. You can diffuse the oil, use a lavender body oil on your skin, or use a roller ball oil applicator to your wrist when you are feeling anxious.
Due to lavender’s calming properties, it can help ease a person to sleep. If you have troubles falling, or staying, asleep try using an essential oil diffuser by your bed at night or have a cup of hot lavender and chamomile tea before laying down. Both of these herbs contain a mild, natural, sedative.
Restlessness goes along with anxiety to some extent. If you are feeling restless and unfocused, try diffusing lavender or use a roll-on to help you get your work done.
Lavender works well to heal minor abrasions, burns (sunburns), sores, and bug bites. It contains anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties.
Lavender also contains anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties which can heal some fungal infections. It’s great for using on your feet.
Drinking a tea made from lavender and lemon balm can help ease an irritated belly. Again, lavender’s anti-inflammatory properties can have a soothing effect for mild nausea, gas or irritable bowel.
Lavender Application Methods
Oils are a great application method. You can use lavender oil for inflammations, burns, or to ease anxiety or restlessness.
Lavender is the perfect ingredient to soaps. It’s antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, it can help reduce acne, and soothe eczema related skin irritations.
Tea is an amazing method of administering lavender. Lavender tea is soothing and fragrant. It can also be combined with other herbs to gain even more benefits and taste sensations. You can make your own lavender tea by adding 4 teaspoons lavender buds to 8 ounces of hot water.
From helping you ease to sleep at night, to curbing anxiety, drinking lavender tea is the way to go.
Many people use diffusers in their houses and offices. It’s a great way to get the benefits of the relaxing effects of lavender. One caution when using a diffuser is that house pets can be poisoned by breathing certain essential oils. Lavender is one that is safe to have around pets.
Alternative to a diffuser is a Lavender smudge stick. I use them to clean the air in my house regularly and they are easy to make. Dry a small bunch your favorite lavender, wrap in twine and hang dry. When dry, place in a heat proof dish, light the end with a lighter or match and carry through your home.
Adding lavender to food can be fun and beneficial. Make lavender and lemon cookies, add lavender to your favorite meat rub, add it to soups and sauces, or make a lavender syrup to add to lemonade or sun tea.
Lotions and creams are another great way to get the benefits of lavender. Use a lavender lip balm or lotion to soothe your nerves. Do the same before bed to help you fall asleep. It’s like a two-for-one – soft skin and a calm mind.
Not only can lavender do all of the wonderful things mentioned above, it can also attract bees. As you may know, our honey bee population is in danger. Anything you can plant in your yard to keep honey bees happy is beneficial to their population.
Can you imagine a world without honey? Or without flowers for that matter?
That being said, if you have bee hives – planting lavender nearby can provide you with delicious lavender flavored honey. I can’t think of anything better than that!
You can find a wide array of lavender products at the MB Botanicals Online Shop! From balms to oils, we’ve got you covered.
While it is not officially winter yet, cold and flu season is here. Whether you’re sick from your co-workers or your kids, it can bring you down for a few days. There is still no cure for the common cold and many people resist getting their flu shot. I’ve put together a list of things that can help ease you through cold and flu season.
Lemon Balm – Lemon Balm is an herb that smells wonderful, attracts bees to your garden, and has many useful purposes. One of those being a relief from colds. It can be infused with alcohol (vodka works great) and taken a teaspoon at a time to reduce the discomfort of a cold. Or you can make lemon balm into a hot tea. Lemon balm contains antiviral properties and helps calm the mind and body.
Peppermint – Peppermint is an amazing herb. It has so many uses and it smells great too. Peppermint can be used as a natural fever reducer and nasal decongestant. Peppermint oil can be applied to the forehead to relieve a headache. It can also be used in combination with a steam tent (see below) to reduce inflammation in the lungs.
Peppermint is also great at settling an upset stomach or bowel issues. Drinking peppermint in tea is the best way to ease stomach discomfort.
Rosemary – Rosemary is helpful for boosting the immune system. It also reduces inflammation and is an antiviral. This means it can open up congested sinuses and help reduce lung discomfort. It is also known as a warming herb and can greatly reduce muscle aches and pains.
Epsom Salt Baths – Epsom salt baths aren’t only good for sore muscles, although we can all agree that sore muscles come with most colds and flu. Epsom salts help detoxify our bodies by drawing out the toxins via our skin. Mix Epsom salt with some powerful essential oils and you will help your body fight off the sickness. It’s also well known that a hot bath will help you sleep better and sleeping is so important when you aren’t feeling well.
MB Botanicals offers four different bath salt options. Soak in a hot bath while the salts extract toxins from your body and the essential oils ease the pain from your head and chest.
Scented Steam – There is a bevy of herbal options when using steam to clear a foggy head. Peppermint, rosemary, eucalyptus, tea tree, lavender, lemon, etc. will all help reduce inflammation in your sinuses and lungs and work to ease congestion.
You have a few options when it comes to steaming. You can boil water, add a few drops of preferred essential oil and then, with a towel over your head place your face at a safe distance over the water. The steam will penetrate your sinuses and provide the relief you need.
You can also add essential oils to the bottom of your bathtub while taking a hot shower. Or use one of MB Botanicals sugar scrubs Sugar Scrubs on your face, neck and chest to relieve pain and pressure from your sinuses. The Lavender Eucalyptus and Rosemary Mint are both amazing when you’re feeling under the weather.
Compresses – Compresses work great for relieving sinus pressure. If you are suffering from a sinus headache or your sinuses are painful, try a hot compress on your face.
To make a compress
Sleep – Never underestimate the power of rest and sleep while you are sick. Take it easy and sleep when you need to. If that means you don’t get out of bed for two days, so be it! Just make sure you are staying hydrated and taking care of any fever you may have.
Herbal Tea with Honey and Lemon – Herbal tea can provide an immense amount of comfort when you are sick. The herbs will help heal by antiviral or anti-inflammatory properties within the herb. By adding lemon to the tea, you give yourself a boost of vitamin C to reduce the length and severity of your sickness. Raw honey can help soothe a sore throat and it comes packed with antioxidants and antibacterial properties.
For the best results, ensure you are using a non-caffeinated herbal tea.
Apple Cider Vinegar – There are entire books written about the virtues of apple cider vinegarand for good reason. ACV detoxifies your body and supports a healthy immune system. The following drink can be used to clear up a cold that just won’t go away.
A note of caution when drinking apple cider vinegar – it is acidic and can burn your esophagus if it’s not diluted. Always dilute before drinking.
Apple Cider Cold Tonic
When using herbs and essential oils, always take caution and follow usage recommendations. Pregnant or nursing women must be very cautious when using herbal remedies.
I hope that all of you stay healthy this winter and have no use for these tips, but if you use one I would love to hear how it worked for you. Or, do you have something that isn’t on the list?
As I was making my latest batch of Rose oil, I decided it would be nice to share it with you.
Since I discovered the art of botanical infusions I have been obsessed. I love how simple it is and how wonderfully light the aromas turn out. You would expect to smell the oils but the botanicals come through quite nicely.
I started making botanical infusions to incorporate them into my soap. I wanted a Rose scented soap but Rose Essential Oil is extremely expensive and rose fragrances are full of random chemicals. I like to stick to a more natural approach so I decided to try an infusion.
After some research I found that there are a couple of methods of infusion. There is the Solar Infused method and the Quick method which requires a little heat.
First the Solar Infused - start with your dried botanicals. This can be flowers or herbs. Some of my favorites are dried roses, chamomile and calendula. You want to make sure the botanicals are dry. If there is moisture in the botanicals this can cause rancidity in the oil.
Use a clean, dry mason jar and add enough botanicals to fill about half to three quarters of the jar. Add your favorite oil and make sure to cover the botanicals by at least 1”. Stir and cap the jar tightly.
Place the jar in a warm, sunny window and shake at least once a day. You will need to do this for at least 3 weeks.
After 3 weeks, strain the oil from the botanicals with a strainer or cheesecloth and place in a glass jar of your choice. Make sure to squeeze the very last bit of oil from the botanicals, you waited 3 weeks for it and you don’t want to waste a drop!
Now on to the Quick Method - this is what I like to use since patience is not one of my virtues.
This method requires a little bit of heat so I like to use the trusty crockpot (thanks to my good friend Athena).
Place the botanicals in the clean, dry crockpot. Add enough oil to immerse the botanicals completely and turn on low heat. Leave in the crockpot for about an hour and a half.
You don't want to use too warm of heat or heat for too long as you can scorch the oil.
Once the time is done. Turn off the crockpot and let cool completely. I usually like to leave this overnight.
Strain as I mentioned in the Solar Infused method and place in glass jars.
Be sure to store your oil in a cool, dark place.
Here are a few botanicals I like to infuse.
And some oils that make great carriers.
Leave me a comment if you have made your own infusions:)