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Lovely Lavender

Who doesn't adore lavender, that lovely blue eradicator of the blues, anger and insomnia? It is generally accepted that the word lavender stems from the Latin lavare, to wash, as the Romans used in the herb extensively in their baths. But in early Latin lavender was known as livendula, meaning, "to turn blue," from the same root as our word "livid.".

Lavender has long been used in love potions. The primary market still today for the essential oil is in perfumes and cosmetics. It is also used to scent love notes and clothing, where, in your chest of drawers, it makes an effective moth repellant.

Ironically, despite its erotic associations, during the Renaissance it was believed that lavender worn with rosemary would preserve a woman's chastity.There are about 30 species of lavender, plus countless hybrids and varieties, far too numerous to list here. But they include both tender and hardy perennials with a great diversity of colors ? including pinks and whites ? shapes and heights.Lavender is a mint native to the Mediterranean.

Like most herbs it prefers a sunny location in light, dry, rocky soil. It should be pruned lightly in the fall and fairly vigorously in the spring, removing any deadwood.Lavender is a wonderful relaxant and antidepressant.

In The Eve of Saint Agnes, John Keats wrote "And still she slept an azure sleep, /In blanched linen, smooth, and lavender'd." Lavender essential oil gently rubbed into the temples or the essential oil simmering in water in an aromatherapy lamp will ease you off to sleep and make your headache vanish, especially if it's stress related. A lavender eye pillow at the end of a stressful day is far more effectual and healthful than a double martini.Lavender is virtually de rigueur in potpourri.

Here's a recipe for Lavender and Geranium Potpourri to add relaxation and romance to any ambience:.4 cups of dried lavender flowers.2 cups of dried rose geranium leaves.2 cups of dried rosemary.

1 oz. of orris root.15 ? 20 drops of lavender essential oil.Mix all the ingredients thoroughly and place in a sealed jar.

Age at least one month. Shake the jar frequently.Lavender essential oil is antifungal, antiviral and antibacterial with a low level of toxicity, making it one of the few essential oils that can be applied directly to the skin undiluted. Added to the bath it will alleviate muscular pain and tension. As recent as WW1, the oil was used as an antiseptic wound dresser. As with all essential oils, do not take lavender oil internally unless it is strongly diluted.

The dried flowers infused as a tea will relieve indigestion, colic, gas and bloating. It is even helpful is some cases of asthma, especially when nervousness is a factor.Recent research shows promise that one of lavender's compounds, perillyl alcohol, may be useful in combating cancer of the breast, pancreas, colon and prostate.In the kitchen lavender blooms are used to flavor vinegars, soups (especially cold fruit soups in the summer), cookies, ice cream and sorbets. This markedly fragrant herb can be used in many ways by creative chefs.

Try the following Salmon with Lavender and Fennel:.2 medium sized salmon steaks.1-½ tsp.

dried, crushed lavender flowers.1-½ tsp. crushed fennel seeds.

Juice of ½ lemon.1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil.Pinch of salt.Mix all the ingredients together and cover both sides of the steaks. Then marinate them in the refrigerator for several hours.

Sauté over medium to high heat in a non-stick pan until done ? about six minutes per side.Lavender and lamb make a surprisingly good combination. The following recipe occasions a pleasant change from the usual rosemary and garlic accompaniment. .Lavender Lamb with Basil.

1 leg of lamb.1 cup of milk (non-dairy such as nut or coconut milk may be substituted).Juice of ½ lemon.8-10 lavender flower heads.8 basil leaves.Freshly ground pepper to taste.

Place the lamb in a tightly-fitting lidded casserole. Mix the remaining ingredients and pour over the lamb. Marinate for several hours, turning the lamb occasionally. Remove from the marinade and bake, uncovered, at 325ºF for approximately 30 minutes per lb. When the meat is done, strain the marinade, and then make it into gravy by pouring it into a frying pan over a medium-high heat. Reserve about a quarter cup and thoroughly blend in 1 tsp.

of arrowroot powder. When smooth, stir into hot marinade and simmer until thick.

.Bruce Burnett is an award-winning writer, a chartered herbalist and author of HerbWise: growing cooking wellbeing. Bruce and his wife Delaine own Olivia's Fashion, Furnishings & Gifts (http://www.

olivias.ca/) in Ladysmith, BC Canada. Read more published articles by Bruce Burnett on his websites: http://www.

bruceburnett.ca/ and http://www.herbalcuisine.com/.Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Bruce_Burnett.

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By: Bruce Burnett



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