Lavenders history goes as far back as records were used, which is 2500 years ago. It was a plant sold by Greek traders around 600 B.C. As you would expect it has a Latin name which means to wash–lavare.
It was written in the gospel of Luke “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 odor of the ointment.” Spikenard is the name used for what we know as lavender and is mentioned often in the bible, the name comes from the Greek name for lavender–naardus after the Syrian city Naarda. You will also find another Christian reference to how lavender got its scent. It is believed that the plant was taken from the Garden of Eden by Adam and Eve, but, the powerful perfume came later. Legend states that the clothing of baby Jesus bestowed the scent when Mother Mary laid them upon a bush to dry. No doubt this explains why, the plant is used as a holy safeguard against evil. Many of the Christian houses hung a cross of lavender on the door for protection.
Egyptians used lavender for mummification, also making stills so that they could extract the oil.Lavender contains tannin which is a bitter substance it also has mineral substances and contains essential oils.
Lavender oil contains the active ingredients in the form of natural alcohols, known as linalol, ketones, esters and aldehydes.
Linalol provides lavender’s antiseptic properties that kill bacteria and viruses extremely effectively. It also aids the healing of skin irritations which include wounds, burns, sores and acne.The distinct aroma and soothing properties are due to the aldehydes.Ketones within lavender reduce inflammation and pain and actually bring on sleep.
Esters reduce swelling and soreness, prevent muscle spasm, fight fungal infections and actively prevent scarring. It is the esters which help tension to slip away, the onset of depression and generally can help regulate moods swings.
Next time you have a headache, or feel in a state of anxiety, maybe having pain from rheumatism, try making yourself a cup of lavender tea. It is always best to use the lavender flowers, rather than going for the easy option of teabags.
Suffering from insomnia is not pleasant, if you are one of those unfortunate people why not try putting a few drops of lavender oil onto your pillow. A triple action will occur, for it also reduces stress whilst at the same time clears the nasal passages.Use lavender vinegar for treating colds or slight temperatures.
Were you aware that lavender is a good insecticide? Have a few drops of sunflower oil mixed with a few drops of lavender oil massaging the exposed parts of the body. Lavender pouches kept in drawers keep the moths away.
Lavender is an herbaceous plant which simply means that the green soft stems and leaves die at the end of each growing season back into the soil, but it is perennial and therefore quickly grows to produce its flowers and many seeds in a short period of time. It belongs to the labial family and its origins are Mediterranean
It has small mauve flowers with leaves that appear to be covered in silver fairy dust. An extremely adaptable plant, which happily sits in wet soil or extremely dry soil conditions, one thing it does insist on, is to sit in a bright position to allow the sunlight to increase its growth.
The best time to harvest this herb is when half of the flowers are open during the summer mornings; this is the time when the flowers contain optimum amounts of active substances.
As with so many things the Romans were astute enough to realise the benefits of lavender, they loved its perfume and used it in their bath water, its Latin name lavare means “to wash.” They also used it for medicinal purposes. It is a natural antiseptic and has strong astringent properties.
Grow your own lavender and when ready gather the herbs early in the day, once the morning dew has disappeared. Tie a rubber band around the stems as it contracts as the stems dry, make sue you hang them in a cool, well ventilated area out of direct sunlight. It’s best to cut lavender when two of the flowers are opened, yet the others are still closed. Soon your kitchen will begin to smell as did the medieval apothecaries, who were individuals that prepared and sold their drugs and medicines.
Take a moment to consider before sipping your lavender tea of the benefits it may give to you, such as helping fight insomnia, depression, anxiety and stress. It is also useful in uplifting your mood. If you have been off you food, after illness of some kind you will find that lavender will increase your appetite.
Buy a really nice teapot that will suit all your moods whenever you look at it, choose one than has its own sieve that separates the leaves from the water.
This is my suggestion on how to make your delightful cup of lavender tea.
- Take two teaspoons of dried lavender flowers which is enough to make one cup.
- Add hot not boiling water and allow steeping for at least ten minutes.
- Should you find this a little strong, next time steep for only five minutes! Sweeten with a little honey if required.