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Purple Haze. Lavender Fileds.

The historic use and recognition of lavender is almost as old the history of man. As a herb, lavender has been in documented use for over 2,500 years. Mention of lavenders can also be found in the Bible, not by the name lavender but rather by the name used at that time - spikenard.
It is likely that the use of the lavender plant and its domestic cultivation was first initiated by the Arabs (outside their natural habitat), and thereby spread across Europe. The ancient Greeks knew of lavender and its powerful fragrance. They called it nardus because at that time the best lavender came from a Syrian city called Narda. The Greeks imported the flower heads in quantity to scent rooms and to be used in medicine. The Romans were a little apprehensive when it came to lavender as they were convinced that a poisonous snake, the asp, liked to live among the lavender bushes. This didn’t stop them from buying the dried flowers once someone else had risked his life picking lavender in the countryside. However, it made dried lavender one of the more expensive medicinal items at the market. From its first appearance in the written record, lavender was used for scent. The ancient Libyans made a perfume of it, and the Romans used it for bathing. The Egyptians utilised the lavender herb in the process of mummification and perfuming, as did the Phoenicians as well as the Arabs.
Lavender Paintings. Abbey du Senanque
Abbey du Senanque
Its scientific name, Lavandula, comes from the Latin "lavare", "to wash." 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 made its way to northern Europe well before the Middle Ages and was used for both medicine and scent. was used to keep fabrics fresh-smelling. Lavender is a unique fragrance widely used in the perfume industry.

Lavender Paintings. bernie donahuebernie donahue
It is said that where there is lavender, there is great fairy activity. These fairies bring healing, protection, and aid in overcoming emotional blocks. In England, it was common practice for a bride to braid lavender into her hair to retain female power and luck. In Ireland, brides wore lavender garters to protect them from witchcraft. Lavender is mentioned in the Bible as a charm against the devil and was a flower and essence dedicated to the Goddess of Witches and Sorcerers, Hecate.

Lavender Paintings. clark eslplinclark eslplin

Of the 25 – 30 species of lavender, the English lavender is considered most prized of all, due to the high quality oil which is derived from it.

An interesting and unique lavender fact – this plant does not produce seeds. Propagation is via cuttings or root divisions.

It was in the 1600s that the history of lavender took a further turn and the lavender herb first made an appearance on the continent of America.

irene shari. lavender twilight

During the Great Plague in London in the 17th century, it was suggested that a bunch of lavender fastened to each wrist would protect the wearer against the deadly disease and glove makers would scent leather with lavender oil, as this was known to ward off the plague. This claim may well be true as the plague is transmitted by flies, and lavender is very effective as a repellent.

Lavender's popularity with the English royalty gave it a berth in the ranks of a cosmetic herb, and it was with Queen Victoria that lavender was recognized as a tonic for nerves.

Sources: thepurpleshop.com, theflowerexpert.com

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