February is here and in many cultures worldwide, men are begrudgingly beginning to price red roses and other bouquets for Valentine’s Day. Instead of spending an arm and a leg on the same old cut flowers, why not give the gift of lavender this year!? Long known for its intoxicating scent and brilliant blooms, Lavender has a rich history for being a romantic herb. A fragrant symbol of fidelity that lovers have exchanged as a token of their devotion for decades, lavender is still one of the most popular and versatile herbs today.
Believed to possess the power to reveal a maiden’s true love, lavender was used to flavor a drink taken for romantic divination on St. Luke’s Day, during the Tudor period. This heady herb was also tucked between sheets and under pillows to ensure romantic dreams and marital bliss. An old superstition that comes to mind states that “if you place lavender between your bed sheets, lovers will never go to bed angry”. Even Cleopatra allegedly used lavender to seduce Julius Caesar and Mark Antony by way of its exhilarating perfume.
Practical use of lavender reaches back to the Ancient Egyptian days when it was used to anoint and mummify pharaohs, and stood as a sign of high class. It was also believed to repel and protect people from contagious epidemics, like the cholera outbreaks that occurred throughout Europe during the 16th and 17th Centuries. Because it does contain some astringent properties, lavender actually wasn’t a bad choice for thwarting disease. The seemingly supernatural effect that lavender had against witchcraft and “the evil eye” was strengthened once people saw that it helped repel disease. As superstition began to die out in more modern days, lavender was grown in and around homes less for protection from evil spirits and more for its pleasant aroma.
Also a great culinary herb, lavender lends a floral, fruity tone to your favorite recipe. Whether eaten raw in a fresh salad or used in a mix of Herbes de Provence, a French mix of savory herbs, named for one of the world’s largest commercial cosmetic producers of lavender, in southern region of Provence, France. Lavender tea will also help soothe an upset stomach and relax your nerves. The very smell of lavender has scientifically been proven to reduce anxiety, which is why it is so highly used in spa and aromatherapy products. The herb’s essential oils make a soothing all natural shampoo, soap and bath soak, and are also used for massage purposes.
Because of its soothing scent and hardy habit, lavender has remained an herb of interest throughout the world. For almost 2,500 years people have continued to cultivate lavender for culinary, cosmetic, medicinal and aromatic uses. With over 115 different varieties, each type offers something new to love about this dynamic plant. Able to resist cold, drought and insects, lavender is an easy plant to grow, provided it’s not overwatered. (They don’t seem to like wet “feet”). Give the gift that keeps on giving this year, and show your love by giving this sweet-scented herb. Whether it’s a live plant, a soap or bath soak, or a lovely scented candle—the possibilities are endless, just like our love for lavender!
See our new Lavender Hearts which are perfect for Valentine’s Day.
Guest Blog by The Growers Exchange – At The Growers Exchange, our plants are “Grown Right, Picked Right, and Packed Right”, meaning we ensure only the healthiest plants are shipped directly from our family-owned greenhouses to your doorstep. Specializing in herbs from the traditional to the unique, as well as some of our favorite flowers, we provide quality, established plants for culinary, aromatic and medicinal use!