Lavender flower meaning using history and uses

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The Lavender flower meaning relates to its history, beliefs and uses.

Lavender flower is a member of the genus Lavandula and it is distributed across the Mediterranean, North Africa, Southwest Asia, Arab and India.

The word Lavender derives from the Latin word “lavare” and it translates to be washed.

The Lavender plant is one of the most widely cultivated species which is familiar across gardens.

What does Lavender symbolise?

The Lavender flower symbolises faith, devotion and humility. However, it also symbolises distrust too. The plant could possibly act as a charm against the Evil eye and also be used for purification. The Lavender flower is under the dominion of the planet Mercury.

Gemini and Virgo Birth flower

The planet Mercury rules both the air sign of Gemini and the earth sign of Virgo.

Mercury symbolises communication, intellect and transportation. It rules the third house in astrology and connects the conscious mind with the subconscious easily.

Lets explore why the lavender plant makes a perfect birth flower for those born under the dominion of the planet Mercury. We will use folklore, beliefs and uses across continents to explain this.

Lavender flower meaning in different regions folklore

The lavender flower meaning in folklore can help us understand the beliefs associated with the plant even further.

In Welsh folklore it was considered lucky to wear a sprig of lavender blossom. It was believed that the lavender plant had the ability to mystify witches and evil spirits.

Another Welsh folklore claims that the lavender plant quickened the wits of dull-minded people, and cleared or purified the mental space of poets and preachers.

During May Day the lavender combined with rosemary was scattered on Cheshire farmhouse floors.

Similarly, in both Spain and Portugal it was scattered on the floors of the churches and houses during the feast days on St John’s Day.

In Tuscany the lavender was used to counter the effects of the evil eye on little children. Additionally, if you carried lavender then it would give you the ability to see ghosts.

Lavender water was used to purify the face. It was also used on the temples and forehead to feel refreshed and keep migraines away. If you wore a sprig of lavender under your hat then it would drive away headaches.

Beliefs and uses of Lavender in Folklore

It was used as a way to freshen up rooms, also the linens and one’s self.

When women went into labour they would be given a sprig of lavender to squeeze in their hands. It was believed that the squeezing would release a fragrance that would calm them.

Bringing Lavender angustifolia in the home was thought to bring a sense of tranquillity and peace to the home. It would also lift a sense of lingering depression.

In ancient times giving a sprig of Lavender to a newly wedded couple was thought to give them good luck.

The lavender was thought to stimulate spiritual powers in people, the fragrance was believed to help people see ghosts.

If you wore clothes that were fragranced with Lavandula angustifolia would help someone who wished to attract love in their life.

Similarly another belief revolved around love. If you wrote a love note on a paper that was scented with Lavandula angustifolia it would aid in attracting love.

History of Lavender flower

The earliest written record of the Lavandula was by the Greek botanist Theophrastus around 370 to 285 BCE.

Galen a physician to the Emperor Marcus Aurelius around 129 to 99 CE added the Lavender plant as an antidote against poisoning and also bites.

The Greek Physician Dioscorides 40 to 90 CE also mentioned the plant’s healing properties. He possibly found the variety of Lavandula Stoechas growing on the island of Stoechades.

He also noted that the lavender plant had laxative effects and recommended using it in teas for chest related problems. It was also used in the Roman communal baths.

While the physician of the Emperor Nero used it as anti poison and also to treat disorders with the uterus.

Lavender in wine was also taken for various ailments:

  • snake bites

  • stings

  • stomachache

  • liver

  • renal and gall disorders

  • jaundice

  • dropsy

In the 1st century CE, the Roman encyclopedist Pliny the Elder wrote about the difference between Lavandula Stoechas and Lavandula Vera.

He noted how the variety Lavandula vera was used for diluting expensive perfumes. Pliny also added lavender as a plant that promotes menstruation.

In 1826, the Swiss botanist Baron Gingins de la Sarraz wrote a book about the Natural History of Lavenders. He stressed in his book the need to investigate the families and genus.

Lavender flower meaning through uses in history

The Romans who were familiar with many herbs to perfume their baths used the lavender as one of them. It was also called nard which comes the Latin Nardus Italica, after the Syrian town Naarda.

In the Middle Ages, the lavender flower was used in churches and houses. Moreover, it was also used in medicines in medieval Wales and England in conjunction with other herbs.

Lavenders were perhaps not as popular during Shakespearean times as he only mentions it only once.

The variety Lavandula latifolia or Spike Lavender was initially used in veterinary practice. It was to prevent diseases that could occur due to paralysis.

In the 16th century a British herbalist called John Gerard listed the uses of lavender as medicinal.

The oil from the Spike Lavender was used in the manufacturing of varnishes and lacquers in combination with turpentine oil. The oil was then used to paint on porcelain.

Till date lavender is still used as a way of keeping insects away from clothes. Additionally, placing lavender under the pillow will ensure a good night’s sleep.

Lavender flower meaning during Victorian times

To the Victorians the Lavender was an old-fashioned flower however, it was also a favourite and also an indispensable plant.

Lavenders were sold back then everywhere and they could be acquired easily. However, because of their negative connotation it never featured in bouquets or were used around the house.

The Lavender plant would instead be used in drawers or behind books. Young brides would place them in their bridal trousseau.

The plant was also sewn in bags and tied with the a velvet ribbon which they would give to either their niece or their god-daughters.

While some ladies would also use them in little sachets that they would then tuck in their corset as deodorant.

Lavender medicinal properties

The variety Lavandula stoechas was used for its medicinal properties.

In Arabian countries, physicians would use Lavadula stoechas to reduce inflammation and also swelling. It was used to relieve flatuency and helped greatly with chest infection.

Indian folk medicine also noted the properties of the Lavadula stoechas. They wrote about its cephalic properties and how it expels waste and phlegmatic impurities. But they also noted how it was great to clarify the intellect.

Lavender is still used in aromatheraphy. The lavender has a relaxing and calming smell that helps to relax.

The plant is also sedative in nature when inhaled due to the vapour of its oil. This was tested on both animals and humans in 1921 by two scientists David I. Macht and Gui Ching Ting.

If you enjoyed our blog on the lavender flower meaning then make sure to also check our blogs on flowers under the dominion of the Mercury.

FAQs Lavender

References

Cumo, C. (Ed.). (2013). Encyclopedia of Cultivated Plants [3 volumes]: From Acacia to Zinnia. ABC-CLIO.

Dietz, S. T. (2022). The complete language of flowers the complete language of flowers: A definitive and illustrated history – pocket edition. Wellfleet Press.

Junius, M. M. (1986). Practical handbook of plant alchemy: How to prepare medicinal essences, tinctures and elixirs. Inner Traditions Bear and Company.

Thiselton Dyer, T. F. (1994). Folklore of Plants. Llanerch Press.

Watts, D., & Watts, D. C. (2007). Dictionary of Plant Lore. Academic Press.

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