Friday, March 07, 2008

Lavender Lore

"Plant rosemary by the garden gate, plant lavender for luck"

Well Bee will adds a new saying;
"Were rosemary thrives women rule the roost!"

· Where there is lavender there is great faerie activity. These faeries bring healing, protection and help to overcome emotional blocks.

In Ireland
· English lavender is a traditional herb often used in the bouquet. Also, it is common for the bride to braid her hair; this is considered a sacred way to retain female power and luck.

Irish Lavender
· Is a striking plant forming colorful purple patches on the landscape of the Irish countryside.

England's oldest lavender farm
· Has nearly 100 acres of lavender, an essential oil distillery, fragrant, herb and riverside gardens, gift and plant shops and tearoom. Admission is free. Minibus trips to see harvest in July/August.

· Possibly because of its mentions in the Bible, lavender was said to be a charm against the devil. Lavender flowers bound into the shape of a cross were hung on doorways to deter evil spirits and in Ireland, brides wore lavender garters to protect them from witchcraft.

· It was also thought that rubbing yourself with lavender oil would attract a suitor, although, ironically, anointing oneself with lavender was also supposed to protect one's chastity and deter a suitor with dishonorable intentions. Perhaps only the right sort of person is attracted by the scent of lavender!

· Lavender is indigenous to the mountainous regions of the western Mediterranean but was thought to be first domesticated by the Arabians, then spread across Europe from Greece and was probably taken to England by the Romans.

· Lavender was a familiar plant in English gardens in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. In 1653, Nicholas Culpeper (The Compleat Herbal) went so far as to write, "Being an inhabitant almost in every garden, it is so well known, that it needs no description." Fifty-six years earlier, John Gerard had described three "Lavander Spikes" and three "French Lavanders" or "Stickeadoves" in The Herbal.

· Stickeadove or Sticadove was the Middle English common name for French lavender (Lavandula stoechas Linnaeus). The Romans used many kinds of lavender including a particular lavender growing in the Stoechades [ste ka' des], islands now known as Îles d'Hyères. The French lavenders were called by Gerard, Stoechas, but the Roman name of the islands, and hence the herb, remained among the "simple people" as stickeadove.

· According to Mrs. Grieve (1931), by the Middle Ages, the plants were associated with St. John and branches were tossed onto bonfires on St. John's day (June 24th) to drive away "evil spirits" that may be abroad. Sprigs of lavender were a strewing herb in churches and in homes. It was sold in bunches by street vendors and placed in linen closets. Lavender was burned in sick rooms to clean the air; the powerful fragrance covered a multitude of 'sins'. Strangely, no one is certain when lavender cultivation began in England; the plants cannot survive in cold, damp climates without human intervention.

· Lavender changed our language; the roots go back to the Romans, particularly the Roman habit of washing, lavare, bathing, lavatio, and a Roman bath, lavabrum. Lavender, originally called spica for the flower spikes, was so generally associated with bathing that it became lavandula, the name retained in New Latin for the generic designation.

· 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, the plant, went along to keep the fabrics fresh-smelling (and probably to keep insects out). Gerard, living at the end of the Middle Ages, actually spelled lavender as lauander.

· Sometime after the Romans invaded Britannia (England) in 54 BCE, they discovered a hot spring and in succeeding years built a temple and bath complex with the sacred spring at its heart. There is no archaeological evidence the Romans ever cultivated lavender there, but as they imported olive oil, they may have also imported lavender.

· Plant lavender around your house to keep away bad luck/evil spirits.Spouses who place lavender flowers between their bed sheets will never quarrel.
· Lavender will help you sleep.
· Lavender is an embalming fluid and a remedy for the plague…
· Lavender will cure insanity, an aching back, is an antiseptic, and heals wounds more quickly…
· Lavender is an aphrodisiac!
· Lavender will keep the moths away.