Living stress free with lavender (By Nicole Noles, DOM LMT)

Lavender has such a variety of uses that it should be a staple in every home. The dried lavender flowers can be used to make scented sachets, relaxing eye pillows, dried flower arrangements and herbal bath balls. You can also find lavender in your tea and spices. Check the ingredient label on your favorite stress tea, and lavender could be there. Those of you who cook with the French spice blend Herbs De Provence already know how yummy lavender can taste in chicken and fish. Lavender scones and breads are popular too, although the flowers are usually finely ground when used for cooking.

For more information about cooking with lavender, check out “The Lavender Cookbook” by Sharon Shipley. Look for culinary grade lavender and organic as well.

When it comes to essential oils, lavender may be the most well known aside from tea tree oil. (Both oils are the only two that are safe to apply neat, or undiluted, on the skin.) With its reputation for relaxation, lavender is to go-to oil for people suffering from insomnia or stress. It’s a wonderful oil that can relax you and give you focus. Just one drop on the wrists or on a tissue tucked in your pillow can melt your stress away. You can also make your own linen and room spray by adding 10 drops of lavender oil to a small spray bottle along with a few drops of vodka (optional) to keep the oil dispersed. Just shake and spray to give your living areas a whole new level of calm. You could also add up to 10 drops of oil to your bath if the flowers are too messy for you. Just remember that the oil is far more potent – you only need a few drops to get its benefits. A drop on insect bites can take the itch out. Lavender also has antibacterial properties which makes this oil a wonderful addition to health and beauty products.

When looking for an essential oils, the best quality oils are gas chromatograph tested for purity and will tell where they were made. The Elizabeth van Buren line is an example of a high quality oil. The prices of individual essential oils are different, and cheaper isn’t better in this case.

With lavender in your life and in your home, you are sure to have a blissful and relaxing day!

Nicole Noles is an acupuncture physician and licensed massage therapist in Florida, as well as the editor of the Port Charlotte Herald, a full-color premium weekly insert to the Charlotte Sun. Nicole has two bachelor’s degrees – Alternative Medicine and Public Health – as well as a master’s degree in Traditional Chinese Medicine. She has a passion for both writing and natural health. Please visit her website at www.pcacupuncture.abmp.com and like her Facebook page at Vitalichi Acupuncture at New Hope Chiropractic.

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