When you think of lavender, the image of purple flowers swaying in a gentle breeze comes to mind. The scent is calming and woodsy, and you commonly find lavender in essential oil form. While many manufacturers and beauty companies utilize the flowers, the leaves of the plant are very useful. The leaves have not been studied as extensively as the flowers, which is why they are not widely used.
What Is Lavender?
This flowering plant belongs to the mint family and you can easily identify it based on the aromatic purple blossoms. Researchers believe that it is native to the Mediterranean and the Middle East, dating as far back as 2,500 years. Ancient civilizations used lavender to freshen up and almost as a perfume, lightly scenting personal items like clothes and hair. Today, scientists understand that lavender exhibits many therapeutic and medicinal health benefits. Many people use the essential oil to help promote restful sleep, while others incorporate it into beauty products. Learn how you can start using lavender leaves in your DIY applications below.
Who doesn’t love a relaxing bath? To make a bath soak using lavender leaves, you’ll need a handful of lavender leaves and a fresh green herb of your choice. Thyme, mint, violet needles, or sage are excellent options. Add the lavender leaves and the herb of your choice, ensuring you use the same amounts of each, to a food processor and blend until smooth. Add in about one cup of Epsom salt and blend thoroughly. Spread the blended mixture onto wax paper and allow it to dry. Add a few drops of lavender essential oil and a touch of baking soda, which will help soften the water during your soak. Store in a glass jar and use when ready.
In order to make lavender-infused vinegar, which can be a great DIY cleaner or hair rinse. You need to fill a jar about 1/2 to 3/4 of the way with fresh lavender leaves, but you can also use dry lavender leaves. If making a cleaner, pour distilled white vinegar into the jar until full, stir gently, screw on the lid, and allow it to infuse for three to four weeks. Then you can strain the liquid and use it to clean. If making a hair rinse, pour apple cider vinegar into the jar until full, stir gently, screw on the lid, and allow it to infuse for three to four weeks. Strain after the infusion process and use the hair rinse after shampooing. Make sure to dilute up to 1/2 of the rinse with water.
One of the easiest things to do with lavender leaves is to make lavender-infused oil. Similar to the infused vinegar, fill a canning jar about 1/3 to 3/4 of the way with dried lavender leaves. Fill the jar with your favorite carrier oil, such as sweet almond oil, olive oil, rice bran oil, or sunflower oil. Stir a few Tims to release the bubbles and then place the jar in a small saucepan filled with a few inches of water. Place the saucepan over low heat for a few hours. Make sure that the water doesn’t evaporate out. Remove from the heat and strain the oil. Store the oil in a glass jar and use as you please.
If you want to add a pleasant aroma to your dishes, you can season them with a small amount of finely diced lavender leaves. Make sure not to overuse them in food because they can ruin a dish, as they are quite powerful. You may experience a soapy taste if you use too many lavender leaves in your food. Always start with a small amount and add more according to taste.
Anti-Itch Bug Bite Sticks
Filled with lavender, anti-itch bug bite sticks are great for relieving the itchiness and inflammation from bug bites. If you venture into the outdoors, take these with you. You can even lather some on your skin prior to walking in nature to help ward off peak insects. You’ll need a handful of ingredients, which you can find by clicking here.
Making tea with lavender is a great way to promote more restful sleep. Similar to chamomile, lavender has a calming effect on the mind, helping to quiet it before bed. Steep lavender leaves in hot water, sweeten with raw honey or agave nectar, and sip to help you relax. It’s beneficial to drink this tea about an hour or so before bed to help calm your nerves and mind.