One of my favorite herbs is Lavender because of its beautiful form and highly versatile function. This fragrant plant with its blue-green leaves and violet-white flowers offers an aromatic scent that has long been recognized as being useful for calming the mind, treating anxiety, insomnia, depression, and restlessness. Using a diffuser to create an aerial mist, lavender has traditionally been suggested for calming coughs and colds. It is also known to ignite passions as a powerful aphrodisiac.

Fresh and dried lavender leaves and flowers can be used to make a soothing herbal tea or used in gourmet recipes or steeped in a tub of warm water along with rose petals for a relaxing and calming bath. In fact, the very word Lavender comes from the Latin: “Lavare”, meaning to wash, and was used extensively in Roman baths. Extracting the concentrated essence from the plant, the essential oil of lavender is especially useful for soothing acne and other skin conditions or as a general skin ointment and moisturizer.

Horizon Herbs has seeds for over eight different varieties of lavender appropriate for various climates. It is best to choose a sunny location as lavender normally enjoys eight hours a day of full sun, although partial shade may be appreciated in hotter climates. It prefers slightly alkaline, well-drained soil so lavender does well in a raised box beds or grown in container gardens. You may want to add a little lime to keep the soil pH slightly above neutral. Be sure to allow room to grow because lavender is a perineal that can grow big if properly cared for. In colder climates the herb can also be grown indoors in containers if kept in a well-lit area such as next to a window that receives plenty of full sun.

Plant roses and lavender, for luck. Fall in love whenever you can.

Alice Hoffman, Practical Magic

By Brian Hetrich

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