Lavenders are widely grown in gardens. Flower spikes are used for dried flower arrangements. The fragrant, pale purple flowers and flower buds are used in potpourris. Dried and sealed in pouches, they are placed among stored items of clothing to give a fresh fragrance and as a deterrent to moths. The plant is also grown commercially for extraction of lavender oil from the flowers. This oil is used as an antiseptic and for aromatherapy.
French chefs in and around Provence, France have been incorporating this herb into their cuisine for many centuries. Lavender lends a floral, slightly sweet and elegant flavour to most dishes. For most cooking applications it is the dried buds (also referred to as flowers) of lavender that are utilised, though some chefs experiment with the leaves as well. It is the buds however that contain the essential oil of lavender, which is where both the scent and flavour of lavender are best derived.
It yields a highly effective essential oil with very sweet overtones, and can be used in balms, salves, perfumes, cosmetics, and topical applications. Essential oil of lavender has antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties.
An infusion of lavender is said to soothe headaches. Lavender is frequently used as an aid to sleep and relaxation: an infusion of flowerheads added to a cup of boiling water are recommended as a soothing and relaxing bedtime drink. Lavender oil is claimed to heal acne when used diluted 1:10 with water, rosewater, or witch hazel; it is also used in the treatment of skin burns and inflammatory conditions.
For maximum benefit, medicinal tea must be properly prepared. Pour 8 oz. freshly boiled water over a tea bag in a cup. Cover cup and steep 10-15 minutes. Water temperature, covering your cup and steeping time greatly influence the yield of beneficial components that will end up in your teacup! Lavender Tea is not recommended to consume over 5 grams daily.
Highly aromatic tea, you may try blending it with other teas such as rooibos, mint, earl grey, ceylon black or Chinese green tea for better taste.