Best known for its ability to induce relaxation and promote restful sleep, lavender flowers produce a heady, sweet fragrance. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, the name lavender comes from the word "lavare" meaning “to wash,” probably because it was used in baths to cleanse both the body and the spirit. Today, lavender is used medicinally to treat insomnia, depression and anxiety. When dried, lavender flowers retain their scent, making them suitable for a variety of home uses.
Miniature pillows or sachets filled with dried lavender flowers provide sweet fragrance for drawers and closets. According to ancient folklore, sleeping with a lavender sachet under the pillow induces restful sleep. The University of Maryland Medical Center confirms that lavender does promote relaxation and improve sleep.
Dried lavender flowers add both fragrance and color to potpourri. Placed in glass containers with decorative covers, or tied up with colorful ribbons, lavender blooms add a touch of romance to any room. Simply remove the cover to release fragrance or seal to save for another day.
Lavender wands allow you to display lavender buds and capture the fragrance, as well. An uneven number of stems are woven with pastel ribbons to create a delicate wand. According to Jennifer Schultz Nelson, Unit Educator from the University of Illinois Extension, lavender wands freshen clothes and repel insects.
Lavender infusions, made by submerging 1/2 cup of lavender flowers in 3 cups of boiling distilled water and steeping for 20 minutes, can be used with berries or fruits to flavor jams. Candace Romig, Master Gardener from Colorado State University, explains that lavender can be used as flavoring in nearly any recipe, but warns that it should be used in small doses, as it is pungent.