Latin: Lavendula angustifolia
Lavender is an aromatic herb. Aromatic herbs are the plants high in volatile oils that are highly fragrant. Their fragrance has evolved over the years to deter herbivore’s, insects, and detrimental fungi and bacteria. Consequently it is pretty standard that all aromatic plants are antibacterial, and anti-fungal or can be used in insecticide recipes.
For years I have dabbed my sleeves with Lavender oil as I go about my day. For years each time I pass it, in summer gardens or meadows, I pick a flower and crush it softly between my fingers and allow the fragrance the penetrate my being. This year though, I really met Lavender for the first time as a tea and what a tea it is…
Lavender is a relaxant, it is specific for tension and tension headaches, particularly those where stress is related. When there is stiff tension in the neck and shoulders and across the head that just wont shift, even once the environment and stress has. Though the neck and shoulders are the most common place we hold tension, we can hold tension anywhere (sometimes in the back and the hips or even the ankles). Lavender will help open up the body and create a calming safe space for the tension to leave. This is why it is such a good ally to massage and therapeutic touch work. It is anti anxiety and anti spasmodic meaning it relaxes all the muscles.
Its qualities don’t stop there, it is anti depressant, and through its relaxing properties can help with restorative and healing sleep. It reminds the nervous system how to relax after long periods of stress when the nervous system finds it difficult to feel safe enough to restore and rest effectively. Something very common with the ongoing social oppressions people face such as poor quality and unaffordable housing, poverty, and the various traumas that harshly greet us in our modern daily lives. Over time, with other support, Lavender is a great aid in exhaustion and nervous debility and rebuilding the bodies ability to restore and rest.
My favourite this summer has been nettle seed and Lavender flower tea, restoring and healing my adrenal glands (Stress glands on the kidneys) while restoring and reminding my nervous system to rest and take stock.
Drink the tea daily and freely as needed
Dry the flowers in summer and store for the darker colder days of winter, when we need most to be reminded that the lightness of summer will come around again.