5 Things I Learned From Living On A Lavender Farm For A Month
Lavender is pretty much the Beyonce of the herbal world. Everyone, even those who claim not to be a fan (population: zero), can acknowledge her queen-dom.
In September 2018, I got the opportunity to live and volunteer on a lavender farm in beautiful British Columbia during the harvest season…and what I discovered is that there are so many more reasons to worship this versatile plant than I was originally aware of. Here’s what I learned:
1) Lavender has been revered for like… ever.
Personally, I was first allured by the herb circa 2002, in the form of a lavender-stuffed bear. With all my eight-year-old heart, I knew that the purple teddy bear had powers that my cute-but-comparably-useless Beanie Babies couldn’t touch. I was far from the first human to be obsessed; lavender has a history as rich as its scent.
While its aromatic properties get a lot of attention, lavender has had some surprising uses over the years, from embalming corpses in ancient Egypt to taming lions and tigers and curing animals of lice…and that’s just the short list! The Greeks and Romans used it to scent basically everything, from bedding to bath water. Some of history’s most-famous leading ladies were well-known lavender lovers, including Marie Antoinette, Queen Victoria, and Queen Elizabeth I.
Lavender is more than just a pretty face: During the Black Plague, it was considered to be powerful protection from the disease, and prices soared accordingly. In anticipation of World War I, the French government planted fields of the beautiful plant in an effort to keep citizens from leaving. Women even used to clutch bundles of lavender for added courage during childbirth. Talk about flower power!
2) Lavender contains adaptogenic properties.
Most of us think of lavender as a fragrant sleepy-time fairy that grants us sweet dreams, but few people are aware that it’s actually an adaptogen. Adaptogens are just as magical: they balance your nervous system and provide your body with exactly what it needs at the moment.
In short, lavender is a powerful multitasker. If you’re feeling sluggish, lavender essential oil won’t put you to sleep; rather, it’s famously calming effects will shape-shift to stimulate your nervous system. Lavender is one of the safest, best, and, dare I say, sweetest-smelling adaptogens out there. Adding it to your aromatherapy arsenal is an excellent way to reduce the damaging effects of stress on your health.
3) The uses for lavender are truly endless.
It’s widely known that lavender’s tranquil properties work wonders on the nervous system, but it’s a mistake to think of this sedate shrub as a one-trick-pony. Some of lavender’s lesser-known benefits include:
-Insect bites: The sweet scent of lavender oil repels bugs, so dabbing it on your wrists or ankles is great protection from pesky blood-suckers. If you’ve already been stung, you can also use it to reduce swelling and itching.
-Cosmetic: Reap the beauty-boosting benefits by adding a few drops of oil to your shampoos, lotions, and other skin-care products. Lavender essential oil is particularly beneficial for rejuvenating dry skin.
-Deodorizer: Mix a few drops of lavender essential oil with water in a spray bottle, and spritz under beds and in closets to keep things fresh. You can also drop dried lavender buds on your carpets before vacuuming or use dried stems as incense.
-Cuts, burns, and bruises: The antiseptic and analgesic properties in lavender oil help fight infection, reduce inflammation and scarring, and accelerate the healing process. (It’s equally wonderful for cooling the overheated emotions that arise when you bang your knee or trip over your own feet!)
-Headaches: Relieve stress or tension headaches by massaging a drop of lavender oil onto your temples or inhaling 2–3 drops from your cupped palms.
4) This herb most definitely has a place in the kitchen.
I am a total sucker for anything that hints at pampering: DIY facials, foot scrubs you could hypothetically eat if you wanted to, yoga for your eyes, etc. This lifelong focus on spa-like lavender treatments means I pretty much overlooked its culinary potential in the past.
This was an amateur move on my part: lavender is incredibly versatile in the kitchen. The dried or fresh flowers can be added to stews, sauces, jellies, vinegar, desserts, teas, smoothies, salads, meat, breads, and beyond. Note: Make sure to use culinary lavender only. Also, a little goes a long way, so err on the side of caution!
5) There’s a lavender + Mercury connection.
Did you know that each herb has a planetary ruler, just like the Zodiac signs? Mercury rules communication, flexibility, balance, adaptability, and connection between the different subtle levels of being. This means lavender is an amazing tool for healing a range of Mercury-related issues, like feeling sluggish, nervous, disconnected, or perhaps having trouble expressing yourself.
Mercury is a neutral, versatile planet that is between yin and yang, which is also why it’s no surprise that lavender helps balance extreme mood swings and is great for those seeking more stability.
One thing is for certain: The more I learn, the more I adore lavender! Hopefully, this article has opened your eyes to all that lavender has to offer beyond its irresistible scent.