Lavender History and Lore
- Where there is lavender there is great
faerie activity. These faeries bring healing, protection and help to
overcome emotional blocks.
- In Ireland
lavender is a traditional herb often used in the bouquet. Also, it is
common for the bride to braid her hair; this is considered a sacred
way to retain female power and luck.
- Irish Lavender
- is a striking plant forming colorful
purple patches on the landscape of the Irish countryside.
- England's oldest lavender farm
- has nearly 100 acres of lavender, an essential oil distillery,
fragrant, herb and riverside gardens, gift and plant shops and
tearoom. Admission is free. Minibus trips to see harvest in
because of its mentions in the Bible, lavender was said to be a charm
against the devil. Lavender flowers bound into the shape of a cross were
hung on doorways to deter evil spirits and in Ireland, brides wore
lavender garters to protect them from witchcraft.
- It was also
thought that rubbing yourself with lavender oil would attract a suitor,
although, ironically, anointing oneself with lavender was also supposed
to protect one's chastity and deter a suitor with dishonorable
intentions. Perhaps only the right sort of person is attracted by the
scent of lavender!
- Lavender is
indigenous to the mountainous regions of the western Mediterranean but
was thought to be first domesticated by the Arabians, then spread across
Europe from Greece and was probably taken to England by the Romans.
- Lavender was a familiar plant in English gardens in the
sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. In 1653, Nicholas Culpeper (The
Compleat Herbal) went so far as to write, "Being an inhabitant
almost in every garden, it is so well known, that it needs no
description." Fifty-six years earlier, John Gerard had described three
"Lavander Spikes" and three "French Lavanders" or "Stickeadoves" in
- Stickeadove or Sticadove was the Middle English common name for
French lavender (Lavandula stoechas Linnaeus). The Romans
used many kinds of lavender including a particular lavender growing in
the Stoechades [ste ka' des], islands now known as Îles d'Hyères. The
French lavenders were called by Gerard, Stoechas, but the
Roman name of the islands, and hence the herb, remained among the
"simple people" as stickeadove.
- According to Mrs. Grieve (1931), by the Middle Ages, the plants
were associated with St. John and branches were tossed onto bonfires
on St. John's day (June 24th) to drive away "evil spirits" that may be
abroad. Sprigs of lavender were a strewing herb in churches and in
homes. It was sold in bunches by street vendors and placed in linen
closets. Lavender was burned in sick rooms to clean the air; the
powerful fragrance covered a multitude of 'sins'. Strangely, no one is
certain when lavender cultivation began in England; the plants cannot
survive in cold, damp climates without human intervention.
- Lavender changed our language; the roots go back to the Romans,
particularly the Roman habit of washing, lavare, bathing,
lavatio, and a Roman bath, lavabrum. Lavender,
originally called spica for the flower spikes, was so
generally associated with bathing that it became lavandula,
the name retained in New Latin for the generic designation.
- According to the 1889 Century Unabridged Dictionary, in
Middle English (12th to 15th centuries), washer women were called
lavanders or lavenders; to lavender meant to
launder, and lavatories were stone-floored rooms for washing clothes.
Lavender, the plant, went along to keep the fabrics fresh-smelling
(and probably to keep insects out). Gerard, living at the end of the
Middle Ages, actually spelled lavender as lauander.
- Sometime after the Romans invaded Britannia (England) in 54 BCE,
they discovered a hot spring and in succeeding years built a temple
and bath complex with the sacred spring at its heart. There is no
archaeological evidence the Romans ever cultivated lavender there, but
as they imported olive oil, they may have also imported lavender. The
Roman Baths in Bath, England has a beautiful site about the ancient
Roman ruins. To view the site and take a virtual tour, click on the
- Plant lavender around your house to keep away
bad luck/evil spirits.
Spouses who place lavender flowers between their bed sheets will never
- Lavender will help you sleep.
- Lavender is an embalming fluid and a remedy for
- Lavender will cure insanity, an aching back, is
an antiseptic, and heals wounds more quickly…
- Lavender is an aphrodisiac!
- Lavender will keep
the moths away.