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A Calming Menu - Many Lives of Lavender

Updated: Dec 23, 2020

This is the beginning of our journey, and why we chose lavender as Zen Acres' centerpiece.

Why Lavender?

As with many people during these interesting times, my husband and I began a search for what we were going to do next in this new age of uncertainty. We had purchased an idyllic 10+ acre farm 5 years ago we named Zen Acres, and were ready to take the next steps into creating a new, self-sustainable life. One of those steps involved finding the perfect crop that would fit into our overall plan. The one that caught our attention was lavender. It fit all of our criteria and more. In upcoming posts, videos, etc., we will give you a blow-by-blow accounting of all we did, how COVID changed everything, and what we are doing now. In the meantime, here is the back story of why lavender has always appealed to us. Spoiler...if you hate reading about history, click to the Menu. Recipes will follow in the coming days.

Lavender - it's been called the swiss army knife of herbs and flowers. What can't it do with it?

As you can imagine, herbs such as this are not without a historical past. Dioscorides, the Greek naturalist, praised lavender’s medicinal attributes in the first century A.D. In ancient Egypt, it was used as a perfume and as an essential ingredient in incense. During the Middle ages, lavender was not only considered to be a powerful aphrodisiac, but it was believed that a touch of lavender water on the head of a loved one would keep the wearer chaste. Medical uses for lavender were also seen during this time period. The herb would be strewn over floors in castles and sickrooms as a disinfectant, deodorant and for its insecticidal properties (it was used to keep moths from linens.) Lavender was also used as an ingredient in smelling salts and for disinfecting wounds during wartime.

Other historical references to the use of lavender include embalming corpses, curing animals of lice, repelling mosquitoes, and as an ingredient in special lacquers and varnishes.

Throughout the years, the medicinal uses for herbs have grown exponentially. Lavender has been known to be used in the treatment of headaches, hysteria, nervous palpitations, hoarseness, palsy, toothaches, sore joints, apoplexy, colic, coughs, and rumbling digestive systems. As a vehicle for the proliferation of herbal remedies, aromatherapy has risen to the forefront, thanks to the studies being conducted in Europe. According to a report published by the University of Manchester, “Aromatherapy and bright light treatment seem to be safe and effective and may have an important role in managing behavioral problems in people with dementia,” said Alistair Burns, a professor of Psychiatry. Moreover, a report published in the British Medical Journal stated that both lemon balm (melissa officinalis) and lavender oil (lavandula officinalis) demonstrated to be of particular benefit to dementia patients when used in aromatherapy.

Here in the United States, studies conducted at the University of Connecticut’s Health Center showed a direct correlation between the use of lemon balm and lavender oil and the calming of agitated Alzheimer’s patients. According to their research, the terpenes in lavender and lemon can affect inactive brain circuits, even though the patient’s sense of smell may no longer function due to illness. The components are absorbed through the lungs and could directly affect the nervous system.

Dementia is not the only ailment that seems to benefit from lavender. In other studies, it has been shown to treat insomnia, and the inhaling of the herb’s essence via an atomizer may be effective as a prescription tranquilizer. When applied topically, lavender has been used in the treatment of muscular tension. The latter was found to be of particular help when dealing with the perennial discomfort experienced after childbirth. Patients in intensive care units or in post surgical recovery also found lavender to bring about a measure of relaxation and stress reduction.

In keeping with the Lavender theme, we developed a delicious menu filled with the aromatic and calming properties of this seductive herb. Recipes will follow in the coming days. If you'd like to be notified, please let us know at

Healing Lavender Menu:

Mixed Field Greens, Citrus, Roasted Almonds with

Honey Lavender Dressing

Grilled Lavender Chicken

Lavender and Garlic Smashed Potatoes

Lavender Liqueur Brownies

As with any medicinal claim, further studies and research will need to be conducted in order to reach definitive conclusions regarding the healing properties of lavender or any other herbal remedy. However, the fact remains that all studies to date tend to point towards the positive effects that natural/homeopathic remedies have on patients with certain symptomologies. The usage of lavender has benefits that surely outweigh the risks. And, at the very least, it provides an atmosphere of peace and calm that is sure to create a positive effect on patients and their family alike.

Lavender Limeade

2 ½ cups of water 1 cup sugar 1 tablespoon dried lavender blooms, stripped from stems 1 cup freshly squeezed and strained lime juice Lavender sprigs for garnish

  • Combine sugar with 2 1/2 cups water in a medium pan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly to dissolve the sugar.

  • Add the lavender blooms to the sugar water, cover and remove from heat. Let steep at least 20 minutes (and up to several hours) to create a lavender infusion. The longer you let the lavender steep the more intense the flavor. We prefer at least an hour.

  • Strain the mixture and discard the lavender. Pour the infused mixture into a glass pitcher. Add lime juice and another 2 1/2 cups water. Stir well and watch the limeade change color. It should turn anywhere from a subtle pink to a lovely purple depending on the variety of lavender you use.

  • Pour into tall ice-filled glasses and garnish with fresh Lavender sprigs.

  • Relax and enjoy!

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