Lavender Uses You Can’t Live Without

Listen to the podcast to hear how lavender uses turned the economy around in one American small town.

You have probably heard of lavender essential oil. Lots of people are familiar with it for helping with sleep issues. But, there are many other lavender uses that make it the oil you can’t live without. Join Julie on Crunchy Christian Podcast as she talks about lavender.

Lavender Uses You Can’t Live Without

A long history

Ancient history

Lavandula sp. (47 varieties, all with some medicinal qualities) is part of the mint family. Documented use for 2500 years. Egyptians used it in mummification and perfume. Greeks used it to fight insomnia and to treat backaches. The Greek doctor for the Roman army, Dioscorides, probably had a hand in teaching the Romans about lavender uses. He wrote that it relieved indigestion, sore throats, headaches, and healed wounds. Evidence suggests that they took his advice and Romans burned lavender in rooms where there were sick people.

Listen in on the podcast to hear additional lavender uses, including Biblical references!

Medieval lavender uses

In Medieval and Renaissance France, women who took in washing for hire were known as “lavenders.” Clothes were washed in lavender and laid to dry on lavender bushes. Lavender was used to scent drawers, perfume the air and ward off infection and heal wounds. Lavender was also used as a remedy for the Great Plague in London in the 17th century. For example, grave robbers who washed in lavender didn’t get sick. In the 16th century glove makers in France, who perfumed their gloves with lavender, escaped cholera.

Did you know two famous queens loved lavender? Listen to the podcast to learn more.

Foundation of aromatherapy

It must be noted that lavender pretty much founded the science of aromatherapy. In the 1930’s a French chemist, René-Maurice Gattefossé, burned his hand while working in his laboratory. Quickly, he reached for what was on hand, which happened to be lavender oil. The wound healed so quickly and completely, that he published a book, “Aromathérapie: Les Huiles Essentielles, Hormones Végétales,” (Aromatherapy: Essential Oils, Plant Hormones) and coined the word aromatherapy (the therapy of aromatic plants). As a result of his findings, lavender was used by doctors during WWII to heal wounds and more research on aromatic plants began in earnest. Today, Gattefosse’s book is considered an important founding work in the field of aromatherapy.

A garden favorite

Shrubby perennial plant native to mountains of Mediterranean countries, particularly France. But, it is cultivated all over the world wherever there’s rocky, dry soil and lots of sun. It grows best in this environment and can get to about 3 feet high, occasionally a bit taller. If you listened to the podcast about Thyme, you know that the two plants like to grow near each other. They both hate wet, humid climates and soil, so if you want to keep lavender happy, remember that it naturally grows in more arid, dry, rocky places. Lavender has long been a gardening favorite as it lends both fragrance and beauty to a landscape and is fairly easy to grow.

Listen to the podcast to hear how lavender uses turned the economy around in one American small town.

Modern research on lavender uses

The essential oil of lavender is sometimes adulterated to bring up the ester content of lesser species. Generally safe for use, even with children over age 2. Creates calm and lifts mood, relieves anxiety and induces sleep, can improve memory when under stress, reduces pain associated with arthritis, menses, headache, and lower back. Also good for skin healing, insecticidal, and bruises, burns, and wounds.

Lavender is readily available in nearly every natural food stores and even today, is added to drinks, baked goods, baths, drawer sachets, wool laundry balls, pillows and linens, and simply diffused in the air. In the United States, culinary lavender flowers are added to the French herb combination Herbs de Provence. It remains a favorite herb and oil.

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