All About Lavender
One of the most multifaceted herbs that can be grown is Lavender. Although originally native to Africa and the mediterian, it eventually spread far and wide across the globe. Mostly due to trade and the general versatility of the herb. It has been used all throughout history, the ancient Egyptians even used it in their embalming process. Cleopatra is said to have worn the scent to seduce Julius Caesar and Mark Antony, and the Romans used it in their extravagant baths.
The name lavender is derived from the Latin word lavare meaning to wash a reference to it being a common herb used for the washing of clothes and to scent bedding. The washerwomen of the middle ages were known as lavender. In ancient Greece and India, it is also referred to as a spikenard. Lavender is a genus of 39 known flowering plants belonging to the mint family known as Lamiaceae.
It is a perennial herb that grows in a variety of shapes including small to large shrubs. Leaf shapes vary across the genus, most have fine hairs from which the essential oil is extracted from these fine hairs are also known as Indumentum. Flowers grow on long spikes rising above the foliage and colours are generally blue-violet and lilac, however, in the wild black/purple or yellow flowers have also been seen. An abundance of nectar is produced by these vibrantly coloured flowers. Collecting the abundant nectar are the Bees, making a high-quality honey from it, known as mono-floral honey. Lavender honey can be used on infected wounds, to aid in the healing process.
Used in gardening and landscaping commercially and in the home. The blossoming scent is said to deter mice, flies, mosquitoes and other pests. Best grown in dry well-drained soil as well as sandy or gravelly soil. It prefers full sun with little to no fertilizer. In high humidity areas, root rot and fungus can be a problem. English lavender or Lavandula angustifolia is the most commonly used for essential oils it has a naturally sweet scent and yields high amounts of essential oil. Commonly used in a wide array of products.
The dried flower buds can be used in a wide range of foods including salads, dressing, cake decorations, lavender sugar, herbal teas, lavender custard and lavender cookies. Apparently tasting amazing combined with chocolate. The dried flower heads added to boiling water drunk before bed soothes and relaxes, aiding in a sound nights sleep.
Lavender Medicinal Properties
A lot of beauty products use this amazing herb to help wash and purify skin and hair. Lavender has a wide range of medicinal uses as well it can be used as an antiseptic due to this factor it was used in hospitals in WW1, to cleanse walls and floors maintaining sanitary conditions. Lavender essential oil can be used to help with anxiety, depression, insomnia, and general restlessness, it also can aid with vomiting, nausea, relieve headache pain, toothaches, and sores, soothe insect bites and has anti-inflammatory properties. Lavender works as an anti-fungal and can promote hair growth in alopecia sufferers. Lavender seeds and flowers can be kept in pillows to aid sleep and relaxation.
Spiritual Meaning Lavender
In Wiccan, it is said to increase clairvoyance. Whilst mixing together rose petals, lavender, mugwort, and chamomile is said to attract sprites, fairies, brownies, and elves. It is also a useful tool for healing, love and purification magics. Wearing a sprig of lavender offers protection, reduces fatigue and stimulates the conscious mind. The world’s natural beauty surrounds us as always, occasionally reminding us to stop and smell the lavender. – © Ange Marxsen