Also known as English Lavender,
Lavandin, Aspic, Spike Lavender.
Lamiaceae (mint) Family.
Parts used: Flowers, essential oil.
Its culinary applications are limited although the leaves and flowers are edible. They are used in the Moroccan spice blend of ras-el-hanout and in the French herbes de Provence. It goes well in sweet dishes containing cream, such as ice cream. It can be added to shortbread and icings and used in jellies and jams. Crystallise the flowers as edible cake decorations.
For centuries lavender has been used as a general tonic, sedative, antispasmodic, diuretic, digestive aid and gas remedy. Lavender tea and essential oil are prescribed to treat insomnia, nervousness, fatigue, headaches, nausea and flatulence. It calms patients with dementia and alleviates mild depression. It has antiseptic qualities killing disease causing bacteria. It is particularly good for skin conditions such as fungus, burns, wounds, eczema and acne. It deters mosquitoes and can help with alopecia. Lavender’s effectiveness against burns was first discovered by Rene-Maurice Gattefosse who is considered to be the forefather of aromatherapy. In a laboratory accident, he plunged his hand into a container of lavender oil and noticed that the pain subsided quickly. It healed rapidly without scarring. The Germans use lavender tea for IBS.
Historical / Myths & Legends:
The ancient druids threw lavender into bonfires at the midsummer solstice and put it into love spells. It was also burnt during childbirth to cleanse the air, calm the mother and bless the baby. The legend has it that lavender received its scent from the baby Jesus. When Mary washed his swaddling clothes she laid them on a lavender bush to dry and ever since, the smell of heaven has lingered on the plant. Apparently King Solomon, son of David used it to cleanse his temple. The Romans scented their public baths with it, hence its name from the Latin name lavare meaning to wash. In the Middle Ages lavender was used in a powdered form as a condiment and as a food preservative. It was used as a strewing herb and was a favourite in monastery gardens for it many uses in cooking, healing and simple hygiene.
Holistic / Spiritual uses:
Lavender brings calmness and peace, healing, happiness and joy as it is linked with the heart chakra. It helps to control anger and refreshes on every level. Place it under your pillow to calm and help increase psychic awareness. It helps your dreams come true. It protects against evil. It makes a healing bath when the essential oil is used. Leos and Virgos work well with this magical herb. It calms the spirit and connects us to our Higher Self. It promotes clarity and assists with one’s spirits evolution through life. Connected to the violet ray it aids meditation and feelings of oneness with the Divine. It helps men to connect to their gentler natures but makes women stronger. The Small Intestine meridian is stimulated, the emotional body is cleansed. Lavender has an association with snakes. Whether this is an aspect of lavender’s ability to increase one’s wisdom, (the snake has been associated with knowledge since early times) or of folklore, (snakes find comfort and rest beneath the lavender bush). It is a beautiful herb that can bring blessings to your life, home or well being.