The lavender (Lavandula) genus contains a number of flowering plants that are cultivated across the globe for their heavily fragrant flowers. Lavender is an excellent garden ornamental, not just because the blue, purple or white flowers look lovely but also because they may be cut and dried. Dried lavender has a variety of uses, most of which center around the plant's intoxicating aroma.
Dried lavender can be used in a number of recipes and may be sprinkled as a garnish on deserts and in lemonades. Dried lavender also makes tasty hot herbal tea. Simply steep 2 tbsp. of dried lavender in a liter of hot water for a few minutes. The aromatic tea will ease headaches, relieve stress and help with indigestion. Use cool lavender tea as a mouthwash or as a drink on a hot summer day. Always be sure to use lavender flowers that have not been sprayed with insecticides or other harmful chemicals.
Use dried lavender for a variety of decorative purposes. Dry a small bunch of lavender by tying it with a string or rubber band and hanging it in a cool, dark location. A closet is ideal and comes with the added benefit of giving fragrance to clothes. Tie with a ribbon and place in an empty glass vase, or get crafty and weave the lavender into a wreath with other dried flowers and foliage. Lavender wands are an old-fashioned and simple craft that involves braiding fresh lavender stems with ribbon to create a fragrant fairy wand. Just let the wand dry and enjoy the scented scepter for weeks or even months.
Mix lavender with other dried herbs and flowers to create a heavily fragrant potpourri. Mix 1 cup of dried lavender with cloves, dried rose petals and mint leaves, add a few drops of lavender oil and mix together in a jar. After a few weeks, put the herbs in a sachet and place in a clothing drawer, suitcase or linen closet to enjoy the rich fragrance. A small lavender satchel placed under a pillow provides a soothing smell while you sleep. Or use dried lavender in the bath. Simply fill a small muslin bag with 1 tbsp. of Epsom salts and 4 tbsp. of dried lavender and hang under hot running water. The water will release the potent smell of the dried lavender.