Gran’s Remedies

There are many nifty things our grandmothers knew such as how to sew a button, how to keep the garden free of pests, how long it takes to cook the perfect chicken but they also knew how to keep their families healthy.

Back in your grandmother’s day, doctors only ever made house calls for serious conditions and other day-to-day illnesses such as insomnia and coughs and colds were administered using the herbs and plants growing in the garden.

Lavender is one of the herbs long associated with older generations but is now at the cutting edge of science as it contains powerful essential oils which have shown to have a calming effect.

Lavender essential oil is obtained by distillation from the flower spikes of the certain species of lavender and can help in relaxation, anxiety and tension headaches even just through its aroma.


Aroma is the word for a fragrant scent, one that pleases the nose in a way that makes you lick your lips. Unlike its foul-smelling cousin the odour, an aroma smells but never stinks.

Although essential oils do not form a distinctive category for any medical, pharmacological or culinary purpose, medical herbalists, naturopaths and even top chefs are beginning to use essential oils for their aroma and healing qualities.

Planting lavender gives you a ready supply of herbal medicine and means that you have your own personal nana right there in your garden.

In just the same way a sauna can help soothe and relax your body, lavender steam inhalations are a time-honoured remedy in reducing stress and helping to achieve a deep and restful sleep.

It’s easy to make a steam bath. Just bring the kettle to the boil and fill a large ceramic bowl and throw in a handful of lavender flowers and leave it to cool on a stable surface for 15 minutes.

Place a tea towel over your head and bend over the bowl (make sure your face is at least 30cms away from the water) and place a towel around the edge of the bowl to keep the steam in.

Take five deep breathes in through your nose and lift your face away from the bowl. The water can then be added to the bath water for a relaxing soak before bed time.