Lavender is a 2 foot tall perennial, usually evergreen in the Northwest. It needs full sun and overwinters best in well-drained soil. Shrubby plants are graced with purple-blue flower spikes in early summer.
Traditional Healing Uses: Lavender flower tea has been given as a remedy for headaches, nervousness, depression, faintness, nausea, and indigestion. Lavender oil has been applied externally to eczema, psoriasis, aching joints, rheumatism, headaches, wounds, bruises, and insect bites. Lavender compresses have been used to relieve chest congestion, bites, and bruises; lavender baths have been used to sooth nervousness, fatigue, neuralgia, and sore feet; and rosemary-lavender tea has been used to lift depressed spirits.
Other uses: Fresh lavender florets can be added sparingly to vinegars, jellies, conserves, salads, and tomato sauce. Lavender sachets may scent clothes and linens and repel moths. Dried lavender flowers are pretty in wreaths and dried flower arrangements, and are an aromatic addition to potpourri.
Harvest: Collect and dry flowers just before opening.
Preparation: Pour boiling water on 1 teaspoon of dried flowers and infuse 10 minutes. Take 3 times a day.
Caution: In large doses, oil distilled from lavender is poisonous. Use oil externally only.