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  Lavender Flowers for Foods, Drinks, Health and Beauty  

NEW! Pharmacopeia of Flowers: Foods, Drinks, Health & Beauty

Potted Lavender FlowersLavender Flowers

Lavender |ˈlavəndər| noun

1) a small aromatic evergreen shrub of the mint family, with narrow leaves and bluish-purple flowers. Lavender has been widely used in perfumery and medicine since ancient times.
• Genus Lavandula, family Labiatae.
• the flowers and stalks of such a shrub dried and used to give a pleasant smell to clothes and bed linens.
• (also lavender oil) a scented oil distilled from lavender flowers.
• dated used in reference to refinement or gentility : [as adj.] she had a certain lavender charm.

2) a pale blue color with a trace of mauve.

verb [trans.] perfume with lavender.

ORIGIN: Middle English - from Anglo-Norman French lavendre, based on medieval Latin lavandula.

Lavender

Lavender Flower Foods

Lavender flowers provide fragrance and flavor to recipes of all types. Lavender, a member of the mint family, combines well with rosemary, oregano and thyme. When moderately measured, lavender flowers make pastries, meats and beverages come alive. Once you understand the basics of cooking with lavender, begin to explore its many flavorful possibilities. Cook with lavender for its "sweet, floral flavor, with lemon and citrus notes".

Lavender is an old stand-by found in many home gardens including mine. Its flavor is flowery, sweet and citrusy. Lavender has been used to flavor bread, cookies, jelly, beef, wine, sauces, stews, and custards. The blossoms are an attractive addition to champagne. The blossoms are also used around the house to impart a nice aroma from bedding to baths. It is also slightly diuretic.

Lavender Ice Cubes
Lavender is grown as a condiment and used in salads and dressings. Flowers yield abundant nectar from which bees make a high-quality honey. Monofloral honey is produced primarily around the Mediterranean, and is marketed worldwide as a premium product. Flowers can be candied and are sometimes used as cake decorations. Lavender flavours baked goods and desserts (it pairs especially well with chocolate), and is also used to make "lavender sugar". Lavender flowers are occasionally blended with black or green teas, or made into tisanes.

Though Lavender has many other traditional uses in southern France, lavender is not used in traditional southern French cooking. It does not appear at all in the best-known compendium of Provençal cooking, J.-B. Reboul's Cuisinière Provençale. In the 1970s, a herb blend called herbes de Provence usually including lavender was invented by spice wholesalers, and lavender has more recently become popular in cookery.

Lavender lends a floral and slightly sweet flavour to most dishes, and is sometimes paired with sheep's-milk and goat's-milk cheeses. For most cooking applications the dried buds (also referred to as flowers) are used, though some chefs experiment with the leaves as well. Only the buds contain the essential oil of lavender, from which the scent and flavour of lavender are best derived.

In the United States, both Lavender syrup and dried lavender buds are used to make lavender scones and marshmallows.

  • Use lavender for its multiple culinary possibilities.
  • Add lavender flowers to salads for a pop of color.
  • Substitute lavender flowers for rosemary in bread recipes.
  • Add lavender-flavored sugar to cake or custard recipes. Combine 1 tbsp. dried lavender flowers with 2/3 cup sugar in a sealed dish. Allow the combination to fully blend for two weeks before adding to recipes.
  • Grace drinks, baked goods and frozen desserts with lavender flowers.
  • Place lavender flowers in a champagne flute to accent the champagne with beauty and flavor.
  • Add lavender flowers to savory recipes, such as stew and sauces.

Lavender-Lemon Verbena Cake

  1. Add lavender to lemon verbena for an aromatic cake. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Oil and flour the cake pans.
  2. Combine butter, sugar, lemon verbena leaves and lavender flowers. Cream ingredients until smooth.
  3. Combine cake flour, baking powder, sugar and salt. Blend with sugar mixture.
  4. Beat together apple juice, milk, eggs and lemon extract. Combine with dry mixture. Mix with a hand mixer at medium speed until batter is smooth. Pour batter into cake or cupcake pans.
  5. Bake cupcakes 25 - 30 minutes for a sheet cake. Test cake with a toothpick. When the toothpick comes out of the center clean, the cake is done.

Lavender FrostingLavender Frosting

  • 1 cup powdered confectioner’s sugar
  • 2 tablespoons dried culinary lavender flowers
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 2 teaspoons light corn syrup
  • food coloring if you choose; red + blue
  1. In a small plastic bag, combine powdered sugar and dried lavender flowers. Let stand at least 1 day before using. (we let it stand for a few hours)
  2. When ready to use, sift the mixture into a medium size bowl; discard lavender flowers OR save to top off cookies as decoration.
  3. Add milk and corn syrup, mixing well.

NOTE: additional sugar or milk may need to be added to make frosting easy to spread, spread on cooled cookies.

Lavender Tea Cookies

  • 1 tablespoon dried culinary lavender flowers
  • 1 cup butter, room temp
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon lemon extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  1. In a mortar, grind lavender leaves with the pestle. (we used a food processor)
  2. In a medium bowl, cream together ground lavender flowers, butter, sugar, vanilla extract and lemon extract. (The smell is amazing!)
  3. Add flour and salt; mix until combined (dough should be soft but not sticky.)
  4. Refrigerate 1-2 hours or until dough is firm.
  5. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Remove dough from fridge.
  6. On a lightly-floured surface, roll dough apprx 1/4″ thick with your rolling pin
  7. Cut into desired shapes with your favorite cookie cutters and place onto ungreased cookie sheets.
  8. Bake 12-15 minutes or until cookies are lightly browned around the edges.
  9. Remove from oven and cool on wire cooling racks.

 

Lavender Flower Drinks & Beverages

Lavender has many uses, among them adding a distinct flavor to chocolates and drinks. Many times, lavender is used as a beautiful detail in champagne. A light floral flavor adds a unique taste to your drinks. Lavender also has calming qualities and is often used in teas with chamomile flowers and honey.

Blueberry Lavender LemonadeLavender-Mint Lemonade

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup mint leaves
  • 1 large handful of lavender stems (leaves & flowers)
  • 1–2 Tablespoons of dried lavender flowers
  • 1 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  1. Create a sugar syrup by bringing water and sugar to a boil. Remove from heat and add in the mint and lavender. When the syrup is cool, add the lemon and lime juice.
  2. Strain syrup and pour into a pitcher along with 5 – 8 cups of cold water. Add enough water to suit your tastes. I like a lot of water, so I usually fill up my pitcher with the full amount. Serve over lots of ice and decorate with fresh mint and a few extra springs of lavender.
Lavender Teabags Lavender Punch Lavender Cocktails
Lavender Hot Chocolate Lavender Juice Gin and Lavender Juice

 

Lavender Flower Health Benefits

Lavender Iced Tea
Lavender essential oil was used in hospitals during World War I.

Lavender is used extensively with herbs and aromatherapy. Lavender Infusions are believed to soothe insect bites, burns, and headaches. Bunches of lavender repel insects. In pillows, lavender seeds and flowers aid sleep and relaxation. An infusion of flowerheads added to a cup of boiling water is used to sooth and relax at bedtime. Lavender oil (or extract of Lavender) is used to treat acne when diluted 1:10 with water, rosewater, or witch hazel; it also treats skin burns and inflammatory conditions.

A recent clinical study investigated anxiolytic effects and influence on sleep quality. Lavender oil with a high percentage of linalool and linalyl acetate, in the form of capsules, was generally well tolerated. It showed meaningful efficacy in alleviating anxiety and related sleep disturbances.

Lavender may be very effective with wounds; however, Lavender Honey (created from bees feeding on lavender plants), instead of lavender essential oil has the best effects of uninfected wounds.

Use in Alternative Medicine

According to advocates of alternative medicine, lavender oil can be used as an antiseptic and pain reliever to be applied to minor burns and insect bites and stings.

It is also said to treat a variety of common ailments, such as sunburn and sunstroke.[8] It can also be used in massage oil mixtures, which may be effective in the relief of joint and muscle pain, or in chest rub mixtures for the relief of asthmatic and bronchitic spasm. It is also said to treat head lice when used in a hair rinse mixture, or on a fine comb to eliminate nits.One study suggests application of lavender essential oil instead of povidone-iodine for episiotomy wound care.

Lavender Bunch
In vitro, lavender oil is cytotoxic as well as photosensitizing. A study demonstrated that lavender oil is cytotoxic to human skin cells in vitro (endothelial cells and fibroblasts) at a concentration of 0.25%. Linalool, a component of lavender oil, reflected the activity of the whole oil, indicating that linalool may be the active component of lavender oil. The result of another study showed that aqueous extracts reduced mitotic index, but induced chromosome aberrations and mitotic aberrations in comparison with control, significantly. Aqueous extracts induced breaks, stickiness, pole deviations and micronuclei. Furthermore, these effects were related to extract concentrations.

However, according to a 2005 study "although it was recently reported that lavender oil, and its major constituent linalyl acetate, are toxic to human skin cells in vitro, contact dermatitis to lavender oil appears to occur at only a very low frequency. The relevance of this in vitro toxicity to dermatological application of Lavandula oils remains unclear."

In terms of phototoxicity, a 2007 investigative report from European researchers stated that, "Lavender oil and sandalwood oil did not induce photohaemolysis in our test system. However, a few reports on photosensitivity reactions due to these substances have been published, e.g. one patient with persistent light reaction and a positive photo-patch test to sandalwood oil."

How To Use Lavender For Burns:

  1. Gently clean affected area.
  2. Dab lavender oil on skin with cotton or simply use lavender salve.
  3. Allow to dry, bandage if needed.
  4. Repeat at least once per day until healed to prevent scarring.

 

Lavender Toxicity Precautions

Lavender Rows
Lavender oil can be a powerful allergen, and it is also recommended that it should not be ingested during pregnancy and breastfeeding.

In vitro, lavender oil is cytotoxic. It increases photosensitivity as well. Lavender oil is cytotoxic to human skin cells in vitro (endothelial cells and fibroblasts) at a concentration of 0.25%. Linalool, a component of lavender oil, may be its active component. Aqueous extracts reduced mitotic index, but induced chromosomal aberrations and mitotic aberrations in comparison with control, significantly. Aqueous extracts induced breaks, stickiness, pole deviations and micronuclei. These effects were related to extract concentrations.

However, according to a 2005 study "although it was recently reported that lavender oil, and its major constituent linalyl acetate, are toxic to human skin cells in vitro, contact dermatitis to lavender oil appears to occur at only a very low frequency. The relevance of this in vitro toxicity to dermatological application of lavender oils remains unclear."

Lavender Wine
In terms of phototoxicity, a 2007 investigative report from European researchers stated that, "Lavender oil and sandalwood oil did not induce photohaemolysis in our test system. However, a few reports on photosensitivity reactions due to these substances have been published, e.g. one patient with persistent light reaction and a positive photo-patch test to sandalwood oil."

In 2007, a study was published in the New England Journal of Medicine which indicated that studies in human cell lines indicated that both lavender oil and tea tree oil had estrogenic and antiandrogenic activities. They concluded that repeated topical exposure to lavender and tea tree oils probably caused prepubertal gynaecomastia in some boys. The Aromatherapy Trade Council of the UK has issued a rebuttal, and it is also disputed by the Australian Tea Tree Association, a group that promotes the interests of Australian tea tree industry.

Lavender Fields in France

Lavender Flowers in International Cultures

Oil of spike lavender has also occasionally been used as a solvent in oil painting, mainly before the use of distilled turpentine became common. For instance Francisco Pacheco mentions the use of lavender oil in his book "Arte de la pintura" (1649).

Lavender Lemonade
Flower spikes are used for dried flower arrangements. The fragrant, pale purple flowers and flower buds are used in potpourris. Lavender is also used extensively as herbal filler inside sachets used to freshen linens. Dried and sealed in pouches, lavender flowers are placed among stored items of clothing to give a fresh fragrance and to deter moths. Dried lavender flowers have become recently popular for wedding confetti. Lavender is also popular in scented waters and sachets.

The ancient Greeks called the lavender herb nardus, after the Syrian city of Naarda (possibly the modern town of Dohuk, Iraq). It was also commonly called nard. The species originally grown was L. stoechas.

Lavender was one of the holy herbs used in the biblical Temple to prepare the holy essence, and nard is mentioned in the Song of Solomon (4,14)

nard and saffron,
calamus and cinnamon,
with every kind of incense tree,
with myrrh and aloes,
and all the finest spices.

During Roman times, flowers were sold for 100 denarii per pound, which was about the same as a month's wages for a farm laborer, or fifty haircuts from the local barber. Its late Latin name was lavandārius, from lavanda (things to be washed), from the verb lavāre (to wash). The Greeks discovered early on that lavender if crushed and treated correctly would release a relaxing fume when burned.

In medieval times powdered lavender was used as a condiment.

Lavender Tree

Lavender Essential Oils

Lavender Tea
Lavender oil is an essential oil obtained by distillation from the flower spikes of certain species of lavender. Two forms are distinguished, lavender flower oil, a colorless oil, insoluble in water, having a density of 0.885 g/mL; and lavender spike oil, a distillate from the herb Lavandula latifolia, having density 0.905 g/mL. Lavender flower oil is a designation of the National Formulary and the British Pharmacopoeia. Like all essential oils, it is not a pure compound; it is a complex mixture of naturally occurring phytochemicals, including linalool and linalyl acetate. Kashmir Lavender oil is famous for being produced from lavender at the foothills of the Himalayas. As of 2011, the biggest lavender oil producer in the world is Bulgaria.

Lavender oil, which has long been used in the production of perfume, can also be used in aromatherapy. The scent has a calming effect which may aid in relaxation and the reduction of anxiety and stress. Lasea capsules containing lavender oil with a high amount of linalool and linalyl acetate, termed Silexan by the manufacturer, are approved as an anxiolytic in Germany. The approval is based on a finding that the capsules are comparable in effect to low-dose lorazepam.

It may also help to relieve pain from tension headache when breathed in as vapor or diluted and rubbed on the skin. When added to a vaporizer, lavender oil may aid in the treatment of cough and respiratory infection.

 

 

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