Lovely lavender

Lavender has healing properties and is an effective fly-repellent, writes Kim Dyson.

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Lavender smells great, looks good all the time and has many health benefits for people and animals alike. There are many species of lavender. The hardy plant was first introduced to England by the Romans, who used it in their bath water for its healing properties on cuts and wounds, and as a flea and nit repellant. 

Lavender oil for a healthy, calm horse A few drops of lavender essential oil on a horse’s dock and poll will help repel mosquitoes and midges that carry the dreaded horse sickness.  Applying a few drops on your horse’s blanket at night will also help keep the creepy-crawlies at bay. French lavender was traditionally cultivated for its insect repelling, antiseptic and relaxing oils. If you have a horse that is easily excited, a few drops of lavender oil around its nose and behind its ears will help calm its nerves and bring about a sense of peace.

No more flies with lavender water In my opinion there are few things as annoying as flies around my horse. Spray lavender water, made from L. stoecha, liberally around your horse’s head and tail while tacking up to chase the flies away. Lavender water is also wonderful for washing minor grazes to help check infection. I use it to wash out my horses’ water buckets and feed bins. It’s non-toxic and very effective.

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It’s easy to make your own lavender water. Place a handful of organically grown lavender flowers in a saucepan, add cold water, cover and gently bring to boil. Simmer for 15 minutes, then turn off the heat and allow to stand and cool. Strain the lavender out.  Lavender water also provides a great scent for your tack room and stable.

Stimulating a mare’s milk production If your mare is having trouble producing enough milk for her foal, take half a cup of dried lavender flowers, half a cup of fenugreek seeds and one cup of chopped alfalfa.  Put them all in a saucepan with 1â„“ of water, cover and bring to boil for 15 minutes.  Turn of the heat and let it cool, then feed the whole mixture to your horse once a day. Add Tissue Salt No 8 and your mare will be producing great milk in no time!

Decorative, functional and profitable Planting lavender around the stable is not only decorative and very functional, but could also be profitable.  One of my clients started manufacturing oil from the beautiful field of lavender near his stable for a bit of bonus income. Furthermore, his beautiful horses are always photographed in lush fields of purple! Lavender will grow in containers, and it can be cut and maintained in beautiful hedges.