Lavender for healing purposes
Lavender has many properties, including healing properties that have been known since Roman times. True lavender from Provence is a medicinal plant that has been used since ancient times. The word “lavender” comes from the Latin word lavandula, which comes from the Latin verb lavare which means “to wash”. The Romans used lavender to scent their bathwater. Lavender was known to be a disinfectant. When the terrible plagues ravaged Provence in the early 18th century, lavender was widely used to disinfect homes and hospitals. Lavender was used in sachets, or on sponges which were soaked in a vinegar solution known as the “vinaigre des quatre voleurs”. Lavender was also burned to keep away miasmas, for it was thought that nice smells kept evil away, whereas bad smells attracted bad feelings or bad health. And actually, this idea is not completely wrong…
Lavender is also said to be the “Swiss army knife” of aromatherapy for it has always been acknowledged and used for its medicinal properties. Ever since the writings in the 1st century by Dioscorides in Materia medica, through to Rene-Maurice Gattefosse who gave rise to modern aromatherapy in 1928, lavender has consistently been used. Today aromatherapy benefits from progress made in analysis methods, in particular, chromatography. The aromatic components can be specifically identified, helping medicine better understand their actions and the mechanisms for such action, and thus to better prescribe them.
Lavender is the emblematic flower of Provence. Due to its many virtues, the essential oil of true lavender is the most widely-used oil in aromatherapy. It is used in treatments:
- Insomnia (2 to 3 drops on the pillow), irritability (diffused in the air), for headaches (massaged on the temples), stress (5 to 6 drops in the bathwater). Lavender is very calming.
- Wounds and burns (1 to 2 drops), dry eczema (2 to 3 drops on a piece of cotton gently patted on eczema – no rubbing), bedsores, sunburn, insect bites. Lavender is a disinfectant and promotes scarring.
- Colds and sinusitis (1 to 2 drops in an inhalation mist). Lavender fights against infection.
- Sore throat (1 to 2 drops on a sugar cube or in a teaspoon of honey).
- Aches and cramps (a few drops in a rub). Lavender is relaxing and soothes the pain.
- Against lice (1 drop behind the ears as prevention), intestinal parasites (1 drop on a sugar cube every day for 3 days). Lavender is a great antiparasitic.
Important: all these different uses apply only to true lavender (population Lavandula angustifolia). Lavandotherapy uses the beneficial properties of the flower of true lavender, of essential oil of true lavender and of the hydrolat in the form of baths, massages and other treatments to calm the nerves, improve relaxation, and heal skin problems. There are increasing numbers of users of true lavender and their demands for excellent quality are met by the outstanding quality of our products. Growers tend to use the term “essence” whereas perfumers use the word “extract”. Aromatherapists tend to use the word “essential oil”. All these words describe exactly the same product.
The unrivalled fragrance of true lavender is used by the greatest perfume makers
The use of lavender goes back to ancient times, to the Greek and Roman era. The Romans used lavender to scent their bath water and to scent freshly washed linens. The master glove makers in the French city of Grasse made leather gloves for the high society of France and Europe. The smell of the tanned leather was unacceptable to the finely-dressed men and women, and essential oil of true lavender was used to perfume the gloves and mask the smell of the leather.
The glove-makers’ guild was founded in 1614 in Grasse. In 1714, the guild became known as the glove-makers/perfumers’ guild. And in 1759, the same guild became the master perfumers’ guild. The expertise of the perfume makers built up slowly over generations of families working in the field of perfume. The dynamic people involved, and the abundant natural resources, including roses, jasmine, tuberose, and lavender, led to the perfume industry becoming the top industry in Grasse, which then became the world capital of perfume. True lavender has retained a strong base and fervent devotees, and it is still used by the most prestigious perfume makers such as Guerlain, Caron, and Azzaro. Lavender “perfumes” everyday life in Provence. There are always little sachets of lavender in the armoires and dresser drawers to scent household linens and clothing. Popular legend has it that lavender sachets bring good luck…