Lavender, the Gentle Cleanser

The lavender is in full bloom in the garden now, and the bees love it. The genus name lavendula comes from the Latin lavare and means ‘to wash’, which explains its ancient purpose.  The Greeks, Romans and Carthaginians all used lavender in bath water for both its scent and its therapeutic properties. 

Lavender is a gentle ingredient that helps skin heal and renew itself, fights wrinkles and helps prevent acne. It has the added benefit of being calming, reducing stress and anxiety. Add lavender oil to your homemade cosmetics. Add it to skin washes, toners, lotions and creams. It is a natural deodorant.  Make a lavender bath bag by putting lavender flowers into a muslin bag and drop into the water. Or add your own infused lavender oil on cleansed feet that tend to sweatiness.

For minor cuts, wash with a lavender infusion. Lavender salve is antiseptic for cuts, bruises, skin irritations and will help minimise scarring. It can also be applied to burns, varicose veins and other skin injuries. Take lavender tea for a soothing effect on the central nervous system, mild pain relief, to sooth nervous tension or to act as a mild sedative before bed.  For centuries lavender has been used as a treatment for inflamed skin and skin conditions like eczema.  Lavender protects the skin and provides deep moisture to cracked and red skin while reducing the inflammation.

The energy of lavender is to purify and cleanse, and this tells us its magical uses too. A lavender infusion may be used in the washing of ritual robes and equipment, added to the pre-ritual bath, or used for washing down the temple.  This will remove negative influences and attachments. Lavender tea, incense or oil brings inner stillness and peace during meditation. Burn lavender incense, have lavender wands or bowls of lavender around to bring about peace and harmony during meetings and gatherings.  Lavender may be used as an incense in working and rituals that explore the element of air, to develop the intellect and powers of logical thought. It may be added to love incense, oils, sachets and charm bags, or used in love spells. Lavender attracts fairies, elves and nature spirits. Lavender is worn in charm bags as protection against the evil eye.

You can even use lavender in cooking, especially cakes, biscuits, ice creams and desserts such as creme brulée, but the secret if to be very, very sparing with it. Rather than added lavender flowers, try using lavender sugar instead, as this will be much more subtle. Try using a lavender syrup in cocktails and smoothies, lemonade or in vodka.  Infuse a few stems of lavender in vodka or gin overnight for an interesting lavender spirit.

CAUTION:

Lavender is considered safe for most adults in food amounts, and probably safe when taken orally, applied to the skin, or inhaled in medicinal amounts, though it can cause irritation and headaches in some individuals.  Do not use medicinally or use the essential oil if you are pregnant or breast feeding, for two weeks before surgery or if you are taking barbiturates.  Do not use lavender essential oil on pre-pubescent boys.  People with sensitive skin may find it irritating.  Do not take in combination with other sedative or anticonvulsant drugs.

© Anna Franklin. 2022

Author: annafranklinblog

Anna Franklin is the High Priestess of the Hearth of Arianrhod, which runs teaching circles, a working coven, and the annual Mercian Gathering, a Pagan camp which raises money for charity. She regularly speaks at conferences, moots and workshops around the country. She is the author of many books on witchcraft and Paganism, including the popular Pagan Ways Tarot, Sacred Circle Tarot, The Fairy Ring, Herb Craft, Magical Incenses and Oils, Personal Power, A Romantic Guide to Handfasting, Familiars, The Oracle of the Goddess, Hearth Witch, The Path of the Shaman and The Hearth Witch’s Compendium. Anna’s books have been translated into nine languages.

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