Lavender

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The more adventurous amongst us will use lavender in cooking to flavor sugar for cake baking and desserts. It can also be added to jams and cooked (in muslin bags) with soft fruit.

I make a honey and lavender ice cream.



To make tea, take a spoonful of flowers and pour boiling water over - about half a pint - allow to brew for 5 minutes and then strain.

You can use a cooled infusion as a compress to relieve headaches as well - just make the tea, allow it to cool and then soak a cloth. Apply it to your forehead and relax.

If you apply the essential oil of lavender to burns, scalds or sunburn, it acts as an antiseptic and soothes the skin.

It's best if you dilute the oil in a carrier oil (almond oil or similar) before applying to the burn.

Do be careful though - if you apply it as soon as the burn happens, you might end up frying your skin - the treatment for minor burns of any description is cold water first to cool the skin, then when it's cooler, apply the oil to aid healing.

If you have a serious burn, then you need to seek medical attention.

You can tie a sachet round the hot tap in your bath, allowing water to run over it to scent your bathwater.

It's very soothing and if you suffer from sleep problems, stress or anxiety, then it can help you relax.

To make a lavender sachet, cut the flowers with a good length of stalk on a dry day as soon as the flowers are fully open.

Tie the stalks with string and hang upside down in a warm, dry place - put paper bags over the heads to keep off dust and catch the petals when they fall.

After a week or so, the flowers should be dried - rub them off the stalks.

Cut circles of muslin or similar and put some flowers in the centre - gather up and fasten with a small elastic band then finish off with a ribbon if you want to.

These sachets can be put in with your clothes to give them a wonderful frangrance.

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› Lavender

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