Alphabet Post: L is for Lavender

Lavender_field_near_Lullinstone_Castle_in_Kent

L is for Lavender, one of my favorite plants.

Lavender has been used in a variety of ways since the days of the Egyptians.  The word “lavender” likely comes from the Latin word “lavere” meaning “to wash.”  Ancient Romans used lavender oils in their public baths. And it was a major medicinal herb during the Middle Ages.

Lavendel_LavandulaAccording to The History of Lavender, “During the Great Plague of the Middle Ages in Europe, some criminals who looted the belongings of plague victims were rarely affected by the disease themselves. When caught, the robbers credited their health to cleansing with “Four Thieves Vinegar” after their “work” was done. Legend has it that they were released after sharing that the secret of their “Vinegar” was lavender oil.”

Many documents in the Middle Ages show that monks and nuns used herbs and flowers PlantFood_5for medicinal purposes, including lavender.  It was used to soothe the nerves, assist in sleep, and cure headaches. Lay people, however, thought it was an aphrodisiac or it helped a person remain chaste as long as they used it.

Lavender is also used as a bug repellent. With this in mind, I used lavender as the plant associated with Geoffrey and Alyse in my medieval serial novel, Time Enough to Love.  Its use helps repel fleas and therefore helps keep them safe from the plague.  Lavender sachets are still used in clothing drawers today to make clothes smell fresh and to repel insects.  In fact, my swag for this 800px-LavenderInMarketbook at RWA will be a sachet bag of lavender flowers with Alyse’s, Geoffrey’s, and Thomas’s initials stamped on it.  If you attend RWA be sure to look for them!

One more thing lavender is still used for is food. You can use lavender as an ingredient in almost any dish: Auberge French Lavender Pancakes, Lemon-Lavender Muffins, Lavender and Honey Roasted Chicken, Lavender Salad Dressing, and Grilled or Baked Salmon with Lavender just to name a few.  If you’re interested in any of these recipes, you can find them here.  And one more, a Lemon and Lavender Posset, is a lemon_and_lavender_79937_16x9dish going back to the middle ages.  A posset is a very simple pudding but it looks elegant and delicious!

Do you like the scent of lavender? Have you ever used it as a remedy?

 

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7 Responses to Alphabet Post: L is for Lavender

  1. Until I got to the Virgin Islands, I grew lavender and used it on trips to help me sleep. Unfortunately, it does not like the tropics. Tweeted and shared.

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  2. melissakeir says:

    I grew lavender last year and hubby dried it. Now it sits in the guest bath. I have a tube of lavender oil that is for headaches. It does help a little but not as much as meds do. 🙂

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  3. Fascinating! I love these educational blogs and your swag is awesome. Wish I were going to RWA but my baby is due 7/19 so that definitely won’t be happening. Next year perhaps and by then, you’ll probably have more books! Have a great time!

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  4. I grow lavender in my yard. Love to bring it inside and tuck it away in drawers.

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  5. lizaoconnor says:

    I used to grow it in my garden, but it eventually died out, being less hardy than the other plants. (Sadly, my garden has become a survival of the fittest.)

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  6. I do love lavender, but have only used the oil in a bath when I’m feeling stressed.

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  7. angieia says:

    I love the smell of lavender, but have never had it in food.

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