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Lavender Materia Medica

Grow | Harvest | Make with Lavender





“There are some things I know for certain: always throw spilled salt over your left shoulder; keep rosemary by your garden gate; plant lavender for luck; and fall in love whenever you can.”

Practical Magic


I D E N T I F I C A T I O N

Grows 12-18ft tall

Green leaves with silver gray tones

Narrow, long leaves with rounded tips

Long spikes with small blueish purple flower buds

Strong fragrance


G R O W

Lavandula officinalis or angustifolia

Indigenous to Mediterranean

Lamiaceae - mint family


Perennial

Zones 4-8, depending on species

Slightly sandy, poor, dry, well drained soil

Full sun

Protected location

Mulch heavily to over winter

Root division or stem propagation


H A R V E S T

Mid to late summer

Midmorning

Warm, dry day

As buds just begin to open

Leaves contain essential oils


D R Y

Dark, dry, well ventilated place

Strip buds from stalks after dried


because wyse men founde by experience that it was good to washe mennis heades with, which had anye deceses therein’.

-William Turner referencing Lavender to support all "diseases of the head"


P R O P E R T I E S

Mild Bitter I Cool

aphrodisiac, analgesic, antibacterial, antidepressant, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, antispasmodic, aromatic, carminative, nervine, sedative


M A K E

Tea: anxiety, tension, insomnia, headache, sore throat, digestion, menstruation, spasms, fevers

Oil: burns, wounds, insect bites, perfume, soaps, lice, sore muscles, infections, cramps, spasms, yeast infections, breast lumps

Steam: chest ailments, coughs

Wash/Compress: wounds, bites, stings

Gargle: loose teeth, bad breath

Flower Essence: develop intuition, purify mind, meditation practice to overcome overactive mind

Culinary: baking, drinks, spice mixes

Essential Oils: calming, sleep, anxiety, aphrodisiac, burns, wounds, disinfect, insect repellent, stings, bites,

Dried: incense, baths, sachets, pillows

Burn: see post on cleansing stick


For educational purposes only. Not intended for medical advice. Always consult your physician.





Folklore & Fables of Lavender


“Her first love was like lavender,

delicate and melancholic.”

― Laura Chouette


Lavandula officinalis or angustifolia


It's species name "lavare" in Latin means "to bathe"


Greek "nardus" or "nard" referring to Naarda, the city where it was sold


Common names include spike and elf leaf.


Ruled by Mercury and the sign Virgo, its element is Air and its energy is masculine.


In floriography, or Victorian Language of Flowers, Lavender signifies distrust or mistrust


Symbolism includes:

love

passion

purification

protection

chastity

healing

peace


Highly aphrodisiac to men, Lavender evokes love, especially of the sexual nature, but can also protect from false love and fleeting infatuations. Maidens sprinkled over their heads to keep themselves chaste while married women kept by bed to incite passion. Cleopatra is said to have utilized its powers to seduce Mark Antony and Julius Caesar.


An herb of royalty in ancient Egypt, it was found in King Tut's tomb and was used in mummification.


Carrying on the royal theme Queen Elizabeth I always had Lavender conserves on hand, Queen Victoria Charles VI of France had Lavender pillows wherever he went. Queen Victoria was so in love with the scent she appointed Sarah Sprules as “Purveyor of Lavender Essence to the Queen” after visiting her distillery.


Used in Midsummer fires to honor gods and goddesses and ensure a safe year.


There is a reference in the Bible that perhaps Mary bathed the baby Jesus and anointed him before his death with a plant called Spikenard which may have been Lavender.


Burned in a birthing room to purify the air, foster a relaxed environment and welcome the new babe.