Lavender flowers are only around for a short time, but there are plenty of uses for lavender leaves! Learn how to harvest, dry & use them in DIY projects.
First though, you may wonder – what are the health benefits of lavender leaves?
While the leaves haven’t been studied as specifically or extensively as the flowers, “Lavender (Lavendula angustifolia) flowers, leaves and oil contain linaloyl acetate, linalool, perillyl alcohol, 1,8 cineole (eucalyptol), and at least 100 other known compounds.” (source)
The powerful aroma of the leaves indicates that they doubtless have overlapping benefits with the flowers, which is why I enjoy including them in salves, balms, soaks, and other DIY projects.
It’s also enjoyable just to pick a handful of leaves to rub between my fingers and sniff when I’m walking around my garden – they smell so good!
How to Dry Lavender Leaves
Harvesting and drying lavender leaves is super easy!
To harvest, snip off the top tips of the plant while the leaves are green, avoiding the tougher woody section found further down the stem.
If you just want a handful here and there for a project, then you can snip them any time during the growing season. If collecting a larger amount of lavender leaves, soon after the flowers bloom is a good time to do so.
Next, spread the leaves out on a clean dish towel or paper towel and allow them to air dry for several days. (Learn more about my drying methods by visiting my article, “How to Harvest and Dry Flowers & Herbs from Your Garden“.)
Once dry, store them in a brown paper bag, or a glass jar tucked into a dark cabinet.
As long as they have a noticeable color and scent, they’re good to use. However, if you notice the color or scent of your lavender leaves has faded, then it’s time to compost them.
1. Infused Oil
You can make lavender oil from lavender leaves in the very same way that you make an infused oil with the flowers.
To make it: Fill a canning jar about 1/2 to 3/4 of the way with dried leaves. Fill the jar with your favorite oil, such as sunflower, sweet almond, rice bran, etc. Stir a few times to release air bubbles.
For a quick infusion: Set the uncovered jar down into a small saucepan filled with a few inches of water. Heat over a low burner for a few hours, keeping a close eye that the water doesn’t evaporate out. Remove from heat and strain.
For a slower, but stronger infusion: Cap the jar of dried leaves and oil and tuck away in a cabinet for around 4 to 6 weeks, shaking occasionally as you remember to. When the infusing time has passed, strain.
2. Headache Salve
Use lavender leaf infused oil to make this easy DIY sinus and headache balm.
It’s an all-natural remedy that helps relieve stuffy noses, allergies, and headaches.
Visit my article on Sinus & Headache Balm for the full recipe!
3. Bug Bite Itchy Sticks
These easy DIY bug bite sticks can be made with lavender leaf infused oil to help relieve the itchiness of pesky bug bites.
They’re perfect for outdoor enthusiasts on the go!
You’ll need lavender leaves, sunflower (or other) oil, beeswax, and lavender essential oil to make these handy itchy sticks.
You can find the full recipe for bug bite sticks on my site.
HERBAL SALVES & BALMS
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4. Green Lavender Bath Soak
This lovely bath soak features lavender leaves and other fresh green herbs from your garden, such as mint, rosemary, sage, thyme, plantain, violet leaves, or pine needles.
Blend equal parts of fresh chopped green herbs and Epsom salt in a mini food processor.
Spread the green colored salt over a sheet of wax paper and allow to air dry for a day or two, then crumble or re-blend the mix to an even texture.
If desired, stir in 1 to 2 tablespoons of baking soda, to help soften the water, and a few drops of lavender essential oil, for scent.
Add a half batch, or the whole amount, into a comfortably warm bath while the water is running.
For easier cleanup, pour the bath soak into a muslin tea bag or old sock before adding to the tub.
5. Infused Vinegar
To make, fill a jar about 1/2 to 3/4 of the way with fresh lavender leaves. You could use dried leaves as well.
Pour apple cider vinegar into the jar until filled. Stir a few times to release air bubbles.
Cap with a plastic lid, or if using a metal lid, place a few layers of wax paper or plastic wrap between the lid and jar to avoid corrosion.
Steep for at least 3 or 4 weeks, then strain.
Use lavender leaf infused vinegar for:
- a hair rinse after shampooing (dilute up to 1/2 with water)
- diluted to make an after-bath rinse for a dog, or spritzed on to repel fleas & ticks
- mixed with an equal amount of water + pinch of cornstarch to make a glass & window cleaner
- add 1/2 to 1 cup infused vinegar + 1/2 to 1 cup of Epsom salt for a detox bath
6. Cooking with Lavender Leaves
In many recipes, lavender leaves can be used in place of fresh rosemary.
Remember to keep a light hand though, so as not to overpower the dish. You can always add more, if needed!
Try finely chopping the smaller leaves and sprinkling over potato dishes, or include in marinades, herbal spice blends, or vinaigrettes.
Even More Uses for Lavender Leaves
Don’t feel limited to this list!
You can use the infused oil to make lip balms, bath bombs, lotions, creams, and soap.
Or, try including the dried leaves in bath teas or home cleaning recipes. (Like these Herbal Scouring Powders.)
Any time a project or recipe calls for lavender flowers or rosemary, there’s a possibility it might also do well with lavender leaves.