Category Archives: Tidbits & Facts

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Doing things Backwards

LWback

Backwards Day is on January 31. Time to celebrate the potential in doing things in reverse (with lavender, of course).

When I was in Aix-en-Provence studying during my junior year in college I took many classes in French history,language, art history, and more. I wanted to be out roaming the streets and countryside (back then lavender wasn’t a twinkle in my eye). I was focused on finding young people to go with me to “Les Boites” and dance all night. Also, all those Patisseries were calling my name. So, as you can imagine, the lectures in the classes would seem rather dull. Being a good art student, though, I came up with a great solution. I’d practice being like Leonardo da Vinci and write in mirror writing. I took many notes in that way which ended up costing me. Studying, using those notes, was challenging and my grades suffered a bit.

Why would you want to do anything backwards like do mirror writing? Someone was wondering what purpose Leonardo da Vinci had in doing his mirror writing. He thinks it might be for the very process of forcing himself to slow down. In addition to slowing down, it gives those of us with over-active minds something to do while we are supposed to be listening to someone talking.

Then, almost as if it was a family tradition, my son adopted a part of mirror writing in the logo of his work. It is particularly cool if you knew that he is a physicist and was working in theoretical particle physics where they analyze the results of atoms speeding through a huge ring and crashing into each other. That would tend to send some of them backwards.

But, all those esoteric backwards events miss the basic need every kid has in doing things the wrong way around. And that is:

Eating Dessert FIRST!!

Lavender foods are some of the best way to do that. We have lavender chocolates, lavender cookies, lavender candied pecans, lavender jams… the list goes on and on. We also have lavender baking extract and culinary lavender so you can create your own dessert first goodies. Click here for a great recipe of Lavender Brownies so you can get started celebrating doing things backwards with lavender.

Finally, a quote from my favorite Art History teacher when she was taking us around to amazing cathedrals and other places in France.

EMichaud

 

 

 

by Sarah Richards


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Hugging

Huggable Stuffed Black Labrodor - Filled with Lavender

Huggable Stuffed Black Labrodor – Filled with Lavender

Did you know that hugging has health benefits? Having warm human contact improves both psychological and physical development in babies. Hugging makes people just feel happier and loved. It can help build a robust immune system, decrease heart disease and stress responses.

So we have some great ways to get hugs into your life.

Soaps, Lotions, and much more!

Soaps, Lotions, and much more!

Get Clean and Soft

People want to get close to you when you smell good. We can help with that. You can get fresh goats’ milk lavender soap, lavender shampoo, Lavender Body Gel, Lavender & Rosemary Bath Oil, and Immune Booster Massage Oil.

Bears, Dogs, and Bunnies! Hugs all around!

Bears, Dogs, and Bunnies! Hugs all around!

Lavender Stuffed Animals

Huggable animals are perfect for hugging when you are alone and needing some comfort, or sharing hugs when you show your beautiful little critters to others. We have several cute ones!

Give lavender presents

When you give someone who loves lavender a beautiful basket full of lavender goodies, you are most likely to get a huge hug back! We make it easy for you to send a scented hug. We can ship, or you can come into the store and pick one up. You can create your own Hug in a Basket, too!

Scent yourself with goodies in this basket!

Scent yourself with goodies in this basket!


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Dragon Appreciation Day

Lavender DragonJanuary 16.

When you think of a dragon, what comes to your mind? A fire-breathing flying amphibian-like creature? Something that inspires fear? Or do you think of wisdom, benevolence and a gentle nature? In our western culture, it would surprise me if you think of a dragon as other than scary. 

Dragons have wings which allow them to fly above the worldly drama, or to get places quickly. In flight, they are able to see the big picture. In other aspects they are able to see into the future, to see things that are coming when we are blinded by fears, lack of vision, or anger. In the Orient, dragons are seen as benevolent.

Dragon Flies

Dragon Flies

In most western cultures, the dragon is seen as a larger-than-life foe, and that foe is primarily fear. The hero of a mythic story is the slayer of the foe, of the frightening creature that inspires quaking fear. In spite of that, in some stories & traditions, dragons can be symbols of wisdom and possess great magical powers. In many stories they are the jealous guardians of treasure.

I have been thinking about times when I breathe fire, when I belch out painful flames within the context of creating something new. In so many images, dragons are fire-breathing, terrifying creatures. Aren’t we all when we breathe the fire of anger? That expression of fury is terrifying, and yet, at times, it can be transformative. Anger can show us a number of things if we are ready to listen. It can show us what is treading on our turf (or invading our boundaries). It can show us areas in which we might be defensive when we need either to strengthen our fortress or stop the automatic lowering of heavy gates and instead allow the entry of something new, an antidote to the old wounds. Often, anger comes out as a habitual reaction or an expression of frustration and we might breathe fire at our loved ones. That fierce breath tends to burn relationships into little black crisps. If we try we have options when the dragon inside rises. We can calm the fire by learning how to calm ourselves, how to bring peace to our minds and spirits.

Dragon Soaps

Dragon Soaps at Lavender Wind

The best way is to train your mind by meditating, or finding ways to adopt alternative reactions. This can represent years and even decades of hard work. Meanwhile, on your journey to peace, having lovely scents around you can help. Lavender is known to have relaxing, calming properties. Remember your affection for lavender next time you need to respond with calmness in the face of a dragon.


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Lavender Bubbles on January 8

Happy National Bubble Bath Day

Happy National Bubble Bath Day

What goes better with lavender on a cold wintry day? Bathing! And while you are considering bathing, think about Bubble Baths. What better way to unwind and relax than by putting your phone on mute, lighting a candle, playing your favorite relaxing music, getting a great book (or not), dimming the lights, filling the tub with warm water and Lavender Bubble Bath, and putting the world on hold as you settle into your private luxurious world.

Relax with Bubble Bath Music

Relax with Bubble Bath Music

January 8th is National Bubble Bath Day. Never mind that there is no official declaration, just be satisfied that hundreds of people think it’s a great idea to celebrate January 8th by taking a Bubble Bath. People have been enjoying warm baths for thousands of years. In Ancient Rome, bathing at a public facility was part of the daily routine for most citizens. Up until the mid 20th century, the average American bathed once a week for personal hygiene. The truly decadent people bathed in milk. These days, a shower is usually how we get clean. So, it’s important to remember that having a good soak in a bubble bath can help open up your pores, cleanse your skin, and relax your muscles. Be sure to leave your troubles and worries at the threshold of the bathroom, so they don’t annoy you while you are soaking.

We have Lavender Bubble Bath or you can use our Lavender Essential Oil to scent the bubble bath you already have. While you are soaking in luxurious bubbles, let your mind wander through all the ways you can relax into being the real, unique, and wonderful self that you are.


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Lavender helps with Stress, Fatigue, and Post-Party Effects

Tags : 

new-years-eve-free-clip-art

Did you know?

Lavender helps with Stress, Fatigue, and Post-Party Effects.
by Sarah Richards

Well, nothing cures a hangover, but…. we are discovering that lavender helps hangovers and other stress – just like old wives tales have told us for centuries.

Stress Word

Stress: you know it when you feel it, or do you? Sometimes, what we think are normal conditions might be stress.

Are you:

  • Having trouble remembering?
  • Finding your concentration isn’t working?
  • Making some bad decisions?
  • Hearing your own self talk putting you down all the time?
  • Worrying too much?
  • Snapping at people around you?
  • Having trouble sitting still?
  • Feeling overwhelmed?
  • Feeling like you’re alone, no one around to be with you and help you out?
  • Procrastinating or neglecting responsibilities?

And then your body might be talking to you by sending you aches and pains, digestion changes, nausea, dizziness, chest pain, rapid heartbeat. Lost that loving feeling, getting colds a lot, eating too much or too little? Got these messages?

Now, back to the hangover bit, are you using alcohol, cigarettes, or drugs to relax?

These are likely to overwhelm you. In addition, sleep troubles are often a symptom or a cause of anxiety and stress. Getting enough sleep is a key to well being. Studies have shown that lavender helps with getting to sleep and improving the quality of sleep, which goes a long way toward helping people overcome the stress of anxiety. (1)

Eye Soothers, lie back, cover your eyes, press on the acupuncture point for relaxation.

Folklore has named lavender for stress relief and relaxing for centuries. Now, scientific studies are starting to describe how that might be true. They are testing using lavender flowers in infusions, lavender essential oil in aromatherapy, and even taking lavender essential oil internally (supervised by a physician). (1)

Anecdotally, we see the relaxation response everyday when people walk in the door of our shop. They take a deep breath in and say “Ahhhhhh” and then they breathe out exclaiming how much they love that smell.

You might think that studies on adults show that lavender works because the subjects had heard about it, or someone has instructed them in the relaxing aspects of lavender. But, babies don’t read and they don’t get instructions like adults. There was a study in which babies cried less and spent more time in deep sleep after a bath scented with lavender oil. (3)

Even horses respond to lavender. One study found that the horse’s heart rate went down considerably when exposed to a stress after a treatment of humid air and lavender oil. (2)  So, my friends, those of you who have horses and have learned to trust your noble steeds, maybe you could listen to them while they tell you a little about lavender’s usefulness for stress relief.

For those who like to measure stress hormones, levels of cortisol went down with lavender use in rats. (4)

Basket of Folgate

Bunches of lavender by a sunlit field.

These are just a few of the situations and studies that are showing that lavender can be useful to you when your world feels out of control. In this season of parties, it’s reassuring to note that a lavender compress can help with that nasty morning-after headache. If the lavender doesn’t do the trick here are some more tips on what to do for your hangover.

References

  1. Lavender Oil for Anxiety and Depression; Review of the literature on the safety and efficacy of lavender, 2/7/2012, by Jeremy Appleton, ND. http://www.naturalmedicinejournal.com/article_content.asp?article=289
  2. Effect of Lavender Aromatherapy on Acute-Stressed Horses, Clarence E. Ferguson, Harry F. Kleinman, Justin Browning, Journal of Equine Veterinary Science – January 2013 (Vol. 33, Issue 1, Pages 67-69, DOI: 10.1016/j.jevs.2012.04.014) Found in: Horsetalk.co.nz on Jun 03, 2013 in Training & Husbandry. http://horsetalk.co.nz/2013/06/03/lavender-aroma-calms-horses-research/#axzz2oe8Z8biH
  3. Early Hum Dev. 2008 Jun;84(6):399-401. Epub 2007 Nov 28, Lavender bath oil reduces stress and crying and enhances sleep in very young infants. Field T, Field T, Cullen C, Largie S, Diego M, Schanberg S, Kuhn C. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18053656
  4. Psychiatry Res. 2007 Feb 28;150(1):89-96. Epub 2007 Feb 7. Smelling lavender and rosemary increases free radical scavenging activity and decreases cortisol level in saliva. by Atsumi T, Tonosaki K. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17291597
  5. 5 Tips to Soothe Holiday Hangovers, By Dr. Maoshing Ni, Dec 06, 2013 http://health.yahoo.net/experts/drmao/5-tips-soothe-holiday-hangovers

 


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Dessert May be the Best Medicine

The Holiday Season should be a time of celebration, but for many of us it can also be a time when our love/hate relationship with all those delicious Christmas deserts we’ve been enjoying can turn us into grinches. Here’s some good news about common holiday spices that should put you back in a festive mood.

CinnamonCinnamon (Cinnamomum cassia and C. zeylanicum) may be one of the oldest recorded spices, with documented use going back to ancient Egypt and China. There was even a time when counties were invaded to gain control of the world’s cinnamon supply. It’s used to increase circulation and perspiration, and to lower fevers, as well as to treat diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, flatulence and colic. It’s also antibacterial, antifungal, anti-spasmodic and astringent. The pure essential oil should be used with caution, however, because, unlike lavender essential oil, it can irritate tissues. There’s even some contemporary evidence that small amounts of ground cinnamon taken daily (a gram or less) may lower both blood glucose and triglyceride levels.

Don’t think all cinnamon is alike. C. camphora should never be confused with culinary cinnamon. It’s a source of camphor, that strong-smelling ingredient in many liniments and decongestant inhalants. Camphor is highly poisonous in large quantities — even via absorption through the skin!
ClovesCloves (Syzygium aromaticum) are the dried flower buds of a tropical Old World evergreen tree. Believe it or not, those rock hard and highly aromatic nubbins start out as delicate, pink blooms. Eugenol, the main ingredient in clove essential oil, is antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal, as well as anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic and astringent. It can be used in a mouth wash for mouth infections or bad breath, or dilute it in a carrier oil before rubbing it on sore gums, abbesses, insect bites, and infections. Clove tea treats gastroenteritis and, if strong enough, kills parasites.

Nutmeg and mace both come from Myristica fragrans. Nutmeg is the seed, while mace is the red appendage that wraps around the seed’s shell. Their essential oils have similar properties to those of cloves and cinnamon.

Nutmeg_Zanz41Nutmeg and mace were once considered tonics, but are now seldom used in Western Herbalism, despite being very potent and still prescribed in Chinese and Ayurvedic Medicine. There are recorded cases of people getting high on nutmeg, even overdosing. It’s estimated that anything over five grams will cause headaches, confusion and drowsiness, and lead to hallucinations. Nutmeg might also potentiate, or increase, the effects of MOAI (monoamine oxidase inhibitors) as well as St. John’s Wort.

AllspiceAllspice (Pimenta dioica) got its name from a seventeenth century botanist who thought it tasted like a combination of nutmeg, cloves and cinnamon. Unlike the Old World spices above, it’s native to South America. Because it also contains some eugenol, it has similar medicinal properties as cloves. Allspice is also very high in beneficial antioxidants.

So, let go of the guilt and pile on the whipped cream!

By Toni Grove 2012


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Catnip Hanging to Dry

Catnip, it’s not just for cats

We are growing more than lavender around here. Over the last couple of days we’ve harvested a lot of one of lavender’s cousins, catnip. Both these plants are in the lamiaceae family (mints are in that family, the members of this family have square stems).

Catnip Hanging to Dry

Catnip Hanging to Dry

If you’ve ever watched what happens when you put a cat and a pot of catnip (Nepeta cataria) together, you’ve witnessed what could rightly be called the feline version of reefer madness. Most cats, even lions and tigers, are helplessly drawn to nepetalactone, an aromatic compound in the plant’s leaves. They’ll energetically play with catnip-stuffed toys — even roll on the plants themselves! — and become frisky, playful, and even amorous. Most cats find it irresistible, but not all cats. It’s been discovered that sensitivity to catmint is inherited, so if your cat turns her nose up at catnip, it may just be that she’s immune to its spell and not a big party pooper. We have our own quality tester. Lavender Wind Farm’s cat, Siduri,

Siduri

Siduri

who’s job is to make sure the current year’s crop is excellent for cats.

For people, on the other hand, Nepetalactone has the opposite effect. Catnip tea is traditionally used to reduce tension, nervousness, and anxiety. And like many other members of the mint family, it can settle a stomach and ease motion sickness. For generations, in fact, herbalists have recommended it to relieve discomfort in colicky babies.

Catnip (Nepeta cataria)

Catnip sprig

Catnip sprig

and Catmint (Nepeta x fassennii)

Catmint

Catmint just starting to bloom

are actually different plants. Cats are not attracted to catmint the way they are to catnip, although sometimes one will be interested. Catmint has graceful long spires of blue flowers. Catnip’s flowers are white. Catnip will reseed itself and can become a bit of a pest, whereas, Catmint will not reseed (being a hybrid, its seeds are sterile). If you want blue beauty in your garden most of the summer, Catmint is your plant.

Catnip is the more potent when it comes to herbal effects. As mentioned above, it has numerous health benefits when used as either a tea (infusion) or tincture. A researcher at Cornell University1 says that Catnip developed it’s unique scent and chemical profile to repel insects that might want to chomp on its leaves. This turned out to be a great hint to researchers who seek mosquito repellants. Catnip essential oil has been shown to be effective against those pesky, buzzing, disease bringers – but the effect varies depending on how, where, and when the oil is distilled.

For an easy way to protect against bugs, you can use catnip, along with lavender, and make some bug repellant sachets. Combine dried catnip and dried lavender and use that mixture to stuff sachet bags. Put them in your closet and drawers for a much more natural and pleasant way to keep moths and bugs at bay.

Catnip is an amazing plant – your stomach, your cat, your skin, and your clothes will thank you for growing and using it.

(Authors: Sarah Richards & Toni Grove)


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Full Bloom Viewing

Hundreds of people ask us every year….

“When is the best time to see the lavender in bloom?”

The short answer is summer. But that is really short and doesn’t really give you the full story. Lavender’s home turf is the area around the Mediterranean. It thrives on the wet winters and dry summers in the chalky, rocky soils that are found there. There are over 400 varieties of lavender world wide. Many people in hot and dry climates grow lavender – and they bloom earlier (usually). So, our lavender colleagues in Texas can have lavender festivals in May and June. Here in the Pacific Northwest in view of the Salish Seawaters, the lavender can bloom from sometime

Lavendula Stoechas

in May to October. That is true, if you include Lavendula Stoechas

which can grow here. But to see fields of lavender you typically won’t fine that kind of lavender in large fields. You will see Lavendula Angustifolia starting to bloom sometime in June, last year it was towards the end – but you never know for sure.

Lavendula Angustifolia

Lavendula x-Intermedia, which is the larger of the two species/hybrids that you will find in large plantings. It’s most famous variety is named “Grosso” and has a wonderful scent. These bloom from the beginning of July well into August: It depends on the variety and the season. When you’re farming, you can’t dictate the decisions that “Mother earth” makes.

So, now you know. Tell your photographer friends, and the family members who want to go on picnics in purple, and others who are just curious. Lavender blooms in the summer.

The pictures are thanks to various sites – you can click on the pictures and see their original sites. (We like sharing, how about you?)

Lavandin

Lavendula x-Intermedia


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How long does lavender hold its scent?

Lavender buds (the bits of flowers that are stripped off the stems) that are used in sachets hold their scent for a long time. During the first year after harvest they put out a lot of sweet aroma. After the first year all you have to do is squeeze them and the natural oils will release and the scent will refresh. We’ve had some sachets that were still putting out sweet smells 10 years after they were put in our underwear drawer.


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Toni’s Notes: What are essential Oils?

What are essential oils?

Essential oils are concentrated complex aromatic compounds that are extracted from plants, usually through steam distillation. Also known as volatile oils, they’re fragrant because the molecules that make up these compounds are tiny and can easily travel up into the air, unlike fatty-acid-based “fixed” oils, such as olive or corn oil.

But what makes essential oils so attractive to the senses can also pose problems if you’re not careful. Their volatility not only makes them combustible, their bottles must be kept tightly capped or they’ll eventually evaporate.

Keep all your essential oils in dark glass bottles, not plastic or metal, and away from heat and direct sunlight. Remember too that these purified, highly concentrated compounds shouldn’t be ingested at full strength. And avoid applying any pure essential oil except for lavender directly to the skin.

Copper Separator for Essential Oil

Copper Separator for Lavender Essential Oil

What makes lavender essential oil unique?

Essential oils from plants are highly concentrated compounds. Because of this, they have the potential to be both effective natural medicines and also, if used incorrectly, dangerous toxins. For example, when applied full strength to the skin, lemon oil can cause photo-toxicity, and both cinnamon and clove essential oils can be highly irritating. And it’s been discovered that some people are allergic to members of the sunflower, or aster, family of plants, even when not in a concentrated form.

For this reason, do your homework and find out as much as you can about the plant the oil comes from, any known toxicity, and how it is best used. Don’t assume all essential oils are safe. Then dilute your essential oils in a fixed oil, like almond or olive oil, before applying to your skin or adding to your bath water.

Lavender essential oil is a wonderful exception to this rule. For almost everyone, it can be applied full-strength directly to burned skin, insect bites, minor wounds, and inflammations. At the same time, its calming fragrance will soothe you and help your body to heal.

By Toni Grove, Lavender Wind Farm


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