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lavender-history-1

Lavender through the ages

lavare – {Latin} meaning to wash or bathe.

livendulo – {Latin} meaning livid or bluish.

Nard – {Latin} Greek/Roman term derived from Nardus, after Syrian town Naarda, known for its fragrant plants.

Spikenard – {Indian} development of Nard, name given to aromatic plant imported from India during the middle ages.

“Then took Mary a pound of ointment of spikenard, very costly, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped his feet with her hair; and the house was filled with the odour of the ointment.”

John 12:3

“Sage, Beaver, gland excretion, lavender, primrose and nasturtium are cleansing and soothing for paralytic limbs.”

Flos Medicinae (1020)

“Lavender (Lavandula) is hot and dry, having very little moisture…Its odour clears the eyes, since is possess the power of the strongest aromas and the usefulness of the most bitter ones. It curbs many evil things and, because of it, malign spirits are terrified.”

Abbess Hildegard (1098-1179)

“Two spoonfuls of the distilled water of the {lavender} flowers taken helpeth them that have lost their voice; as also the tremblings and passions of the heart, and faintings and swounings”

Nicholas Culpeper, physician (1652) 

“Lavender green, lavender blue, {diddle-diddle}, I shall be king and you shall be queen.”

Traditional children’s rhyme, origins c1670s

“Lavender is good against the biting of serpents, mad dogs and other venomous creatures, being given inwardly and applied poultice wise.”

William Salmon, Herbal, (1644-1713)

“1 cup boiling water, 1 scoop coffee beans, 3 scoops dried lavender, 1 cup melted chocolate.”

Josephine’s aphrodisiac nightcap for Emperor Napoleon (early 1800s)

“Bergamot oil 6.2kg, neroli oil 0.8kg, lavender oil 1.2kg, lemon oil 3.1kg, clove oil 1.6kg, rosemary oil 0.8kg, with alcohol 90o added to make up to 100l.”

Ingredients for Eau de Cologne (1834)

“Lavender is an admirable restorative, and tonic against faintness, nervous palpitations, weak giddiness, spasms and colic. Its pleasant smell provokes the appetite, it raises the spirits and dispels flatulence taken on sugar…”

Mrs Grieve, A Modern Herbal (1931)

Compiled with reference to Lavender: The Genus Lavandula, edited by Maria Lis-Balchin, Taylor and Francis (2002).

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