Thursdays were spaghetti night.  Our teacher’s kitchen was small and Lacye and I had gotten good, during the first weeks of our apprenticeship, at dancing round each other to prepare our meals.

Lacye grabbed the soup pot of spaghetti off the stove and carried it to the colander in the sink. Her back was to me, so I didn’t see what happened but I heard the screaming.

Red welts already covered her arm where spaghetti and boiling water had splashed.  Our teacher Gina rushed in and shoved Lacye’s arm under cold water from the tap and sent me to fetch the lavender essential oil.

For the next half hour we alternated cold water and lavender oil.  After a half hour Lacye stopped crying. After an hour the welts were gone.

I’ve had many opportunities to use lavender since then – most dramatically when I came home from teaching, exhausted, and ended up spilling lentils that had been cooking all day in the crock-pot onto my hand.

Somehow between the exhaustion and the shock, my brain thought it was more important to clean what had spilled on the floor instead of getting the burning hot beans off my arm.  By the time I stuck my arm under water, it was brilliant red and my nerves were screeching.

The pain had me hyperventilating and too distressed to think straight.  I called a neighbor and she somehow got, through the sobbing and huffing, that I needed her help.

For the next hour we alternated cold water and lavender essential oil.  I took St. John’s wort tincture and Advil to help quite my screaming nerves.  Miraculously the heat went down.  Slowly my nerves quieted.  I left a message on my husband Andrew’s voice mail and fell soundly asleep.

At 2.a.m. Andrew arrived home (it was October and in October, Andrew’s stilt-walking alter-ego works at our local haunted house).  He crept into the bedroom and gently disentangled my arm from the blanket so he could see my hand.

There was nothing to see, no blisters, no redness.  Nothing.


  • Make sure your lavender essential oil is therapeutic grade Lavender angustofolia.  There are many types of lavender.  This is the one you want for burns.
  • “Therapeutic grade” means that it is the highest quality oil.
  • Lavender hydrosol doesn’t smell like lavender…. at all!  It’s even a little bit stinky.  But it feels great on sunburn!  Keep it in the fridge.  This will make it deliciously cool on your hot skin and increase the shelf life.  (A hydrosol is the water part of an essential oil distillation).
  • Want your hydrosol to smell like lavender?  Add a few drops of the essential oil.
  • If you look like Andrew in his zombie get-up and it’s not stage make-up, it’s probably time for a trip to the E.R.

Lavender– don’t leave home without it!