Recently I had the honor of teaching some outdoor classes in Norfolk County at Applehill Lavender farm, Windham Centre.
Before doing a mindful walk through the lavender fields, or stress-reducing yoga class under the umbrella trees of the apple orchards, we learned about this century-old family farm and the plant medicines it nurtures.
Jan Schooley, has loved plants since childhood and is the co-owner of Schooley Orchards and Apple Hill Lavender. After retirement from the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) she focused on planting various varieties of lavender.
Jan holds an M.Sc. in Botany from University of Guelph and is a professional Plant Pathologist. She specialized in ginseng and medicinal herbs and participated on a national team to develop production and harvest practices for wild and field-grown herbs and spices, a protocol recognized by Health Canada and used by the World Health Organization to assist countries such as Africa, to learn and implement the use of plants medicines.
Jan shared with us a few of the many, many varieties of lavender: white lavender with its spicy aroma often used for culinary purposes such as spice rubs, French purple variety with an aroma, sweet with slight camphorous scent and the English purple lavender with a lovely perfume.
Did you know lavender is part of the mint family?
The French Lavender can have up to 10% camphor and is often considered good in cleaning products and products designed to freshen your home. Because of their high camphor content, French lavender may help with sinus and snoring issues.
Lavender (Lavandula) historically has been used for medical purposes, since medieval era where physicians used lavender to treat epilepsy and migraine attacks. In many countries, lavender is the burn treatment of choice.
Many studies support and recognize the soothing effects lavender has on the body, mind and heart such as the following: anti-inflammatory effect on muscle fibres, calming the mind, aiding sleep, ease migraines and headaches, treating acne and help facial complexion and relief of pain. It has been shown beneficial in fighting respiratory issues, supporting overall brain health, act as bug repellent, promotes healthy urinary tract, and a is source of antioxidants.
Also, I must mention after Jan’s informative talk and relaxing mindfulness practice, we enjoyed the farm’s award-winning vanilla bean and lavender ice-cream.
That’s a spoonful of medicine that was easy to take!