Black and White B&B Barn

By. B&B Family Farm Staff December 2014

A Brief History of Lavender Uses

A beautiful and scented plant with a green stock and small purple flowers, lavender has been used for centuries for beauty products and medicine.  In fact, the name itself comes from the lat root lavare which means to wash.

Lavender is native to the sunny and stony mountainous areas of the Mediterranean.  Due to its growing popularity over the centuries, it can be found in nearly every country around the world.

What is lavender used for?

Today, lavender is used for anything from cooking to perfumes and healing.  Studies in the past three decades have shown that it can be used against insect and pests as an alternative to chemicals.  It can also be used to suppress sprouting potatoes and has also been used as a light sedative.

The Greek naturalist from the first century AD, Dioscorides, praised the purple plant for its many medicinal attributes and recommended it for chest pains and constipation.  It later became a popular herb in scented baths. 

During the middle ages, lavender was used to treat many illnesses and ailments and became a regular ingredient in every medicine cabinet.  Some believed that is was an aphrodisiac and it was nicknamed the “herb of love”, while other believed that applying lavender to the head of a loved one would keep them chaste.  Castles and hospitals placed lavender on the floors and in the corners of rooms ad a disinfectant.  Lavender was even used to disinfect wounds.

Even as far back as ancient Egypt, lavender’s essential oils were used as a perfume and strong incense.  While lavender was limited to the royal families and high priests of this era, lavender was also used in the mummifying process.  This was discovered when the tomb was Tuankhamen (King Tut) was found.

It is believed that the Arabians were the first to domesticate the lavender plant as it originated in the Mediterranean and spread across Egypt and Greece.  Later on, around 600 BC lavender made its way from Greek Hyeres islands into France.