The History of Lavender

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The history of lavender has been documented for over 2500 years.

The Egyptians, Phoenicians and people of Arabia used lavender in the mummification process by wrapping the dead in shrouds which had been dipped in it. They also used it as a perfume for the living.

In ancient Greece, lavender was known as ‘nardus’, ‘nard’, or ‘spikenard’. This comes from the Greek town Nardus which was the centre of the lavender trade.

It is mentioned in the Bible as spikenard, particularly in St Luke’s gospel.

The Greeks and Romans bathed in lavender scented water. It was a commodity which sold for high prices.

The Greeks used it for medicinal purposes. Dioscorides was a physician and botanist from the first century who said it had ‘deobstruent and roborant’ qualities (laxative and stimulant), and relieved chest complaints.

Cleopatra is said to have used lavender to seduce Julius Caesar and Mark Anthony.

In Medieval and Renaissance Europe, lavender was thrown over the stone castle floors as a disinfectant and deodorant.

The History of Lavender

Lavender was introduced to England and America in 1600′s.

Queen Elizabeth 1 of England used it as a conserve and a perfume. Lavender tea was said to ease her migraines.

In 17th century London, people tied bunches of lavender to each wrist to protect them from Black Death. Glove makers scented their gloves with lavender oil to protect their customers against the disease.

Queen Victoria made lavender popular across England. It was used to wash floors, furniture, freshen air and placed amongst linen. Lavender salts were used to revive swooning Victorian ladies.

Lavender was one of the first plants imported by immigrants to Australia and New Zealand in the 19th century.

During World War 1(1914-1918) soldier’s wounds were bathed in lavender to prevent infection and relieve pain.

Due to the long history of lavender use across the world, there is lots of folklore which has grown up around this herb.