Saturday, January 10, 2009
Because of its elevation, mild climate and temperature, and fertile volcanic soil, Bandung highland is a very good place for agriculture. A lot of non-native plants grow well here, including a lot of varieties of flowers like this lavender, which is grown in several places in the northern hills of Bandung. This particular patch of lavender garden is part of the recreational and educational camping ground at Vin's Berry Park at Cisarua where my son and his classmates were camping a few weeks ago.
Lavender (the generic name for the 39 species of the flowering plant of the lavandula genus), by the way, is a native plant of the Mediterranean, parts of Africa, the Middle East, and India. It has a variety of uses. Its dried petals, for example, can be placed in the wardrobe to keep the clothes fresh and fragrant and repel moths. The oil extracted from its flowers is believed to have antiseptic property and is good for aromatherapy. In addition, lavender flowers are also rich in nectar that is a good feed for honey producing bees. (Bees fed with lavender nectar is believed to produce high quality honey.) In some countries like France, lavender is also used as some sort of "spice" for a variety of dishes, and even made into syrup (French lavender syrup).
Lavender is also believed (and has scientifically been proven) to have medicinal properties. A particular species of it, lavandula angustifolia, or the English lavender, has long been used to make balms and salves that can reduce inflammation and soothe and heal insect bites. Furthermore, its fragrant oil has the soothing property that can help reduce headache and naturally induce better sleep.
Despite its proven medicinal properties, however, it should be noted that lavender oil is also a very powerful allergen. Therefore, those who are prone to or suffering from allergies should avoid it.