Monday, December 17, 2012

Many Benefits of Lavender

Over the years I began being very interested in the benefits and the many uses of the Lavender flower.   Not only does this flower smell nice, brighten up any room, add a unique taste to food and teas, it is also recognized for its many medicinal properties.  Lavender oil is used as an antiseptic, a natural antibiotic, a sedative and to detoxify.

While there are many applications for this wonderful flower, I'm hoping this list will give you a brief but practical overview of some of the possibilities.  I'll be printing out the list for my own information and I'll post it on the inside door of my herbs / medicine cabinet for quick reference.

- Skin Problems (Acne)
- Headaches (rub on temples)
- Digestive Problems (use a tea)
- Scrapes and Wounds (apply a drop directly to the wound - scratch)
- Bug Bites (apply directly)
- Bee Stings (apply directly)
- Scars (apply directly)
- Insomnia (rub a few drops in your hands and rub on pillowcase before going to bed)
- Calms and relaxes (rub a few drops lavender oil on feet to relax)
- Deodorant (rub over armpit area)
- Helps with hay fever symptoms (diffuse the oils in the air or use lavender capsules- find online)
- Helps with dandruff (rub in scalp)
- Repels mothes and insects in linen Closet (add drops on cotton ball and store in linen cupboard)
- Place a few drops in water fountain (refreshes the air, kills bacteria and reduces cleaning time)
- Add drops of oil on cloth and add to dryer to freshen your laundry.

I personally really enjoy lavender in herbal teas, in my bath and in my lip balm.  Some also add the Lavender flowers to a small cotton or linen pouch and add it to dresser drawers or hang it in the closet to keep clothes smelling fresh and clean.

I was also really surprised to learn how good Lavender tastes in Honey.  We had the opportunity of visiting a small Lavender Farm on our Nova Scotia tour last summer.  They had an array of wonderful Lavender items to choose from.  Lavender skin products such as soap, lip balm, cream, massage oils and more.  They had a wonderful collection of candles and other great stuff.  We decided to try the "Lavender Honey".  It was the best purchase ever!  It was sooo delicious!  I had to fight my husband to get the last bit of it.  I would definitely suggest the Lavender Honey to anyone!   I also noticed Lavender jelly - Hmmm... I wonder what that tastes like?  I must try it. 

I never actually tried it, but there are wonderful recipes using Lavender and I actually found this book and the feedback is wonderful.  I must try as well.

Little Tip for the Garden and the Patio:
I've also added a few plants to my garden box to repel insects - they don't care for the odor.  I must say it works quite well.  A friend of mine also keeps Lavender plants on the patio in the summer
for the same reason. 

If you know of any other application for this powerful and wonderful flower, please leave a comment!!

Here's a great, unique gift idea - Lavender plant with cute clay pot- grow it inside too.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

New Super Food- Dark Chocolate!

I'm a chocolate nut!!  Although I don't care for sweets in general such as cake, cookies and candy, I do have a weakness for chocolate!  Who can blame me?  It's hard to resist a smooth, silky piece of chocolate with crunchy hazelnut pieces! 

The best part is that chocolate is not only delicious, it's also very healthy!!  Research has shown cocoa to be very high in antioxidants, which is great for fighting off disease.  In fact, chocolate has ranked highest in antioxidants when compared to other fruit juices deemed "Super Foods", with the exception of Pomegranate.

What makes the cocoa bean the new "Super Food"?  The cocoa bean contains polyphenols and flavonols, which are also found in various seeds and fruits.  These components are knows to help against cardio-vascular disease and help keep the arteries clean. 

So, the next time you have a an urge for a sweet treat, reach out for a dark chocolate bar.  It'll make your heart glad!

Check out these dark chocolate, caramels with sea salt.  Yummy!!