“There are some things, after all, that Sally Owens knows for certain: Always throw spilled salt over your left shoulder. Keep rosemary by your garden gate. Add pepper to your mashed potatoes. Plant roses and lavender, for luck. Fall in love whenever you can.”
― Alice Hoffman, Practical Magic
I planted roses and lavender. Over the years, the vines climbed higher, blooms evermore fragrant. I lined the beds with lavender. Drowsy bees slept, deep within the stalks. Sally’s wisdom: “always add pepper to your mashed potatoes,” is a ‘must.’ And Sally- harvest your lavender. Strip the flowers from the stalks. Create practical magic in the kitchen.
Lavender or Lavandula Angustifolia, is a species in the mint family, commonly used in aromatherapy. The fragrance is believed to promote calmness and wellness. Pure Lavender Oil contains certain antibacterial and anti fungal effects. When lavender is combined with a carrier- virgin olive oil, it is in ‘pure’ form- a serum to soften and soothe skin. Serums penetrate deeply into the skin, therefore, one need only apply one to two drops.
In many specialty markets, lavender is sold in bunches. It’s easy to grow. Over time, one small plant will yield plenty of flowers. Snip the stalks to encourage new growth.
Harvest your lavender. Cut it, dry. Separate the flower from the stalk. A Suggestion: Use your finger tips (pointer and thumb) to slide the flower down the stalk. Place the flowers in a bowl. Some people suggest leaving the bowl in the sun to further dry the flowers. I skipped this suggestion. A spell of sunny, hot weather has left the lavender in my garden beds, dry. Note the lavender is beginning to grey. It’s perfect!
To make Pure Lavender Oil Serum, follow a two part ratio: Two cups of Virgin Olive Oil to one part lavender flowers. You can reduce the receipe amount to one cup virgin olive oil to half a cup of lavender flowers. Following a two to one ratio, makes a gentle, lightly scented, topical skin serum. Olive oil is the carrier. It reduces the potency of the dried lavender flowers. It’s important to read up on the chemistry of plants and oils. The photo shows my lavender yield- more than enough dried flowers for two cups of serum. Make small batches. You only need apply a drop or two of serum to skin. Store dried flowers in a clean, glass jar.
One sterilized* glass jar with lid
*To Sterilize Glass and Lid: Place jar and lid in a pot of boiling water for 15 mins. Cool before removing from the water. Set jar aside.
A measuring cup
Virgin Olive Oil- two cups
Lavender Flowers- one cup
A suitable, safe stove top pot
A strainer or muslin cloth
Following the two to one ratio: Measure one cup of the lavender flowers and pour into the pot. Measure two cups of Virgin Olive Oil. Pour the olive oil over the lavender flowers. Turn on the stove element to the lowest heat setting. Let the lavender and oil warm for two hours. The element should be warm, never hot.
•Always supervise and remain in the kitchen area while the element is on.
Turn off the element. Allow the lavender and oil to cool.
Strain the cooled lavender and oil into the sterilized glass jar. Using a spoon, press the bits that remain in the strainer. This helps to squeeze out all of the lavender’s oil from the flowers. Strain twice for a ‘clear’ serum without bits. It helps to place a pump spout on your jar, allowing for easy distribution of serum to smaller amber glass containers. Less fuss. Store Pure Lavender Oil in a cool, dark place.
• Always pre test a small area of skin and check for any allergic reaction to the serum. If a reaction occurs- STOP.
• Label serum. Date it. Keep serum out of reach from little hands.
Pat a drop or two of serum onto skin.
• You Tube has many ‘DIY’ videos on the topic: ‘Lavender Oil Serum’ for skin. Sof McVeigh has created a fabulous site.
• WebMD- http://www.webmd.com has articles on the safe use of lavender and other natural remedies, salves