Tap into the versatility of lavender by learning ways to use this delightful herb.
Think lavender is beautiful? Learn about its many uses, and you’ll be digging up lawn and planting lavender. The many uses for lavender include traditional floral arrangements, dried lavender wreaths and making lavender oil, which has a host of applications from homekeeping to germ-fighting. Lavender uses don’t stop there. This perennial herb also holds its own in the kitchen—in desserts, grilled entrees and beverages.
When you’re deciding which lavender uses you’ll adopt, start with the obvious ones—the ones that celebrate the blooms. Make lavender bouquets by snipping flower wands and plunking them into vases, with or without water. Arranging lavender in a vase without water is a shortcut to creating dried lavender, which works well on its own, gathered into bunches or blended with other dried flowers.
Try crafting fresh lavender bouquets into a lavender wreath that brings perfumed beauty to any setting. Gather stems of fresh lavender bouquets with rubber bands and hang upside down to form dried lavender in a week to 10 days. These dried bouquets can stand in for a common lavender use: to scent linen and keep insects away. Or tuck dried lavender buds into decorative gauze nylon bags to create sachets you can slip into dresser drawers, closets or your car’s glove compartment.
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A common lavender use in aromatherapy is to soothe and relax. Scenting linens with lavender can help enhance sleep. Or make small sachets to tuck into pillowcases to weave the sweet scent of lavender into your dreams. Another use for lavender sachets is as a dryer sheet replacement.
To freshen carpets, grind 2 tablespoons of dried lavender buds and add to 1 cup of baking soda. Sprinkle onto carpets and wait 30 minutes before vacuuming to fill your home with a light lavender fragrance.
Making lavender oil is another way to take advantage of the many uses for lavender. Lavender oil can relieve sore muscles, release a tension headache when rubbed onto temples and help soothe and heal burns. Dilute lavender oil in water and store in a spray bottle to spritz on sunburns to reduce stinging pain. Another use for lavender oil is treating insect bites. The oil reduces sting, itching and inflammation.
Lavender uses for pets include treating a collar or bandana with lavender oil to help keep fleas away. Or slip a dried lavender sachet into your pet’s bed to keep fleas out.
Grow culinary lavenders, like English lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) or lavandins (Lavandula x intermedia), and harvest flowers to flavor baked goods. Make lavender butter or sugar and use these to infuse the floral flavor into cookies or cakes. Or add dried lavender buds to tea for a floral burst. Lavender lemonade is refreshing, as is lavender sorbet.
Try cooking with lavender on the savory side by including lavender in meat marinades or rubs, or by substituting lavender for rosemary in entrees or vegetable dishes. When pruning lavender, toss stems onto hot grill coals to infuse meat and veggies with a delicious, smoky, herbal flavor.