Lavender ranks high as a sustainable crop because it does not rely on pesticides and fertilizers. It does not require fertilizing, although in rare circumstances irrigation may be called for.
Lavender is a type of flowering plant that belongs to the mint family. There are more than 30 species of lavender that originate from Mediterranean region, northern and eastern parts of Africa and southwestern Asia.
Lavender grows in dry, sunny areas on well-drained soils. Okanogan Highlands Lavender Farm is growing 7 varieties of lavender.
The essential oil of certain lavender species has a sedative, antispasmodic, and tranquilizing effect. Lavender has been long valued as a headache remedy. It can be taken in a mild infusion, or can be rubbed on the temples, or sniffed like smelling salts to provide relief from headaches.
Lavender oil is antiseptic, and has been used as a topical disinfectant for wounds. In high doses, it can kill many common bacteria such as typhoid, diphtheria, streptococcus, and pneumococcus, according to some research. The essential oil has also been used as a folk treatment for the bite of some venomous snakes.
LAVENDER AS SOOTHER
When used in hydrotherapy as part of an aromatic, Epsom salt bath, the essential oils of some species will soothe tired nerves and relieve the pain of neuralgia. They are also used topically on burns and have been shown to speed healing. Lavender essence makes pleasant massage oil for kneading sore muscles and joints. Acting internally, lavender's chemical properties increase the flow of bile into the intestines, relieving indigestion.
Lavender is best known and loved for its fragrance. The herb has been used since ancient times in perfumery.
As an aromatic plant, lavender lifts the spirits and chases melancholy. Taking just a few whiffs of this sweet-smelling herb is said to dispel dizziness.
The dried blossoms, sewn into sachets, may be used to repel moths and to scent clothing, or may be lit like incense to scent a room.
Because of its fumigant properties, the herb was hung in the home to repel flies and mosquitoes, and strewn about to sanitize the floors.
The essential oil of certain lavender species has a sedative, antispasmodic, and tranquilizing effect.
Lavender has been long valued as a headache remedy. It can be taken in a mild infusion, or can be rubbed on the temples, or sniffed like smelling salts to provide relief from headaches.
Lavender should be dried as soon as possible after harvest, as this insures the highest quality and color. Lavender is typically dried in small bundles 150 stems per bundle held together with rubber band hung upside down in a dark, well-ventilated area. Using rubber band for bundles gives elasticity to bundles, which shrank during drying process. The bundles can hang on wire or on individual hooks with enough space provided between bundles to allow air flow.
If the dried lavender is going to be used for loose lavender buds, then the lavender buds should be stripped from the bundles as soon as possible after the bundle is dry, and the buds must be placed in sealed containers.
The Lavender buds, which you use in your favorite recipe or teas should be put in a tightly sealed lidded jar and stored in the refrigerator.Storage on a cabinet shelf away from the stove will work too if you are one who uses things up pretty quickly. You should try to use the flower buds within six months for cooking purposes, if it takes more for you to use buds then add those buds to crafting stack and replace them with new ones.
Essential oils have been used for many centuries for a wide variety of purposes.
Essential oils are volatile oils that can be extracted from plants using a simple steam because they are in any way essential or necessary for any given purpose, but because they are considered the “essence” of the plant.
METHODS TO DERIVE ESSENTIAL OILS FROM PLANT
Hydro distillation (also known as water distillation) is a process in which water and plant material are boiled together in a vat. The result is a “hydrosol” rather than a pure essential oil. Hydrosols are the basis for a variety of retail products.
Steam distillation uses dry steam to vaporize and extract the oil. Steam distillation is used in large-scale production of essential oils for commercial purposes. It is the preferred method for lavender. Steam distillation can be accomplished with a pressure cooker on top of a kitchen stove, but only a few drops of oil are produced per batch.
Supercritical extraction uses carbon dioxide under extremely high pressure to extract both essential oils and oleoresins. Essential oil produced as a byproduct of the citrus industry requires a four story-fractionating tower.
DISTILLARY OF ESSENTIAL OIL
As indicated previously lavender oil primarily extracted using steam distillation. Lavender essential oil is extracted from the fresh flower heads and stems. A steam distillation unit has four basic components: steam generation, a still pot, a condenser, and a separator. The steam rises up through the lavender, which is suspended above the water in a basket contained within the still pot. Still pots are the container that holds the lavender. The steam escapes along with the lavender oil. As the steam moves through the lavender, the oil glands on the lavender flowers are ruptured, and the oil is quickly vaporized and moves with the steam. As the steam reaches the top of the still pot, it is piped to a condenser.The condenser removes enough heat to allow the water vapor to condense and re-liquefy. The condenser is typically a long coiled tube that is bathed in cool water, which removes heat. Since lavender oil is lighter than water, it floats to the top of the water in the separator. The oil layer on the surface of the water is then skimmed off, while the water is removed from a lower outlet and saved some of this water as “hydrosol” and used to make various products.Oil should be stored in a cool, dark place in containers that are filled to capacity, and that have air sealed caps that will keep the oil from oxidation.Some aging of the oil in storage may be beneficial for a few months; however, essential oils stored for long periods of time will eventually deteriorate in quality.