Monday, July 2, 2012

Love of Lavender

Over the weekend I received a huge shipment of dried lavender for a wholesaler I purchaser from out in California.  Opening the box was like Christmas morning for me....the scent! OMG...there is nothing more beautiful smelling then the smell of fresh herbs- lavender in particular.  I was so inspired all weekend that I decided to share some facts, tales, and photos from my weekend inspiration. Happy Monday indeed!

It is thought that the name of the plant comes from the Latin "lavare," to wash, since the Romans used to bathe in lavender-scented water. It was found refreshing and it was in this role that the herb was to be valued for future centuries.

 Records show that monasteries used lavender medicinally and it was listed as such, as far back as 1301.  The Lady of the Manor used lavender for culinary and medicinal purposes and kept a still-room for staff for preparation for use.

The easiest way of perfuming a room, is to place it in pots or vases, either loose or in bunches. I have bags of lavender on a few door handles, and they give of a beautiful scent as I enter the rooms.

"Pot-Pourri," is literally translated from French- meaning "rotten pot," because this refers to the original method of making it. Fresh or semi-dried flowers and petals would be layered in a crock with salt to cure or ferment them, thus, preserving an exceptionally strong and long-lasting scent.

Pot-pourri making became popular in England not until the sixteenth century when spices for underlying fragrance and ingredients for masking scents became widely available. Mixtures were kept in bowls throughout houses.  In small houses  that dampness seeped in through with high windows and mud floors, they were essential for sweetening the air.  The sharper scented herbs such as lavender and rosemary were added to these bowls to keep away infection.

Scented ink will give a delicate, intangible fragrance to your personal letters, a fragrance that will waft out as soon as the envelope is opened and will linger mysteriously over the pages.  If people only wrote letters now a days...

Lavender flowers are making a comeback as enhancements to both the flavor and appearance of food. Lavender was often used during Tudor and Elizabethan times in the preparation of a wide variety of dishes and was a particular favorite of Queen Elizabeth I.  The palace gardeners were required to have lavender flowers available at all times which was used to make Conserve of Lavender (a mixture of lavender flowers and suger) and sweet Lavender Tisane (a drink made with lavender flowers, boiling water, and honey)

Blossoms and leaves can be used instead of rosemary in many recipes and crystallized flowers make beautiful cake decorations.  Lavender used in the kitchen is primarily fresh blossoms or "culinary lavender." Culinary lavender is lavender buds harvested just before flowering, it is when the oil concentration in the bud is the highest.

 Written records of the use of lavender for medicinal purposes date back as far as 60AD with the writings of Dioscorides.  At one time lavender was virtually essential in the medicine cabinet.  It was used to relieve many medicinal problems such as headaches, fainting, hysteria, stress, insomnia, muscle aches, bug bites, rashes, colds, chest infections, etc.

Lavender oil does have antibiotic properties effectively killing many common bacteria.  Lavender oil was used extensively during WWI & II whenever medicinal supplies became scare to prevent infection as well as a pain reliever.

The sedative effects of lavender are well documented in medicinal tests demonstrating its effectiveness in reducing caffeine induced hyperactivity as well as increasing length of sleep by ingestion or inhalation. Lavender in lotions and oils placed on burns and bee stings aids in relieving the pain and is used in massage oils to aid in relaxing muscles.

and in saving the best for last.... WHO can resist this?

Or this amazing detail...

Have a lovely, inspired week


  1. * gorgeousness!!! *
    ...the elegant treats, the bouquets
    ~ and omgee! the dresses...

    it's a lavender fairyland!!
    oh to slip away for just one delightful afternoon...

    xo, Rosemary

    1. Rosemary - you are so inspiring! thank you for all your lovely, positive comments!

  2. Beautiful post Kathleen! I do too love lavender in everything, including my food and drink. I'll be going to the south of France in a couple of weeks to stock up, now that it is harvest season. Miss you!

    1. Miss Lucy! i'm so jealous...south of france...take lots of pics for me please!!! i miss you too xox

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