In the pyramids of Egypt, the grave of Tutankhamun had nestled within it urns which still carried the scent of lavender. He lived around 1341 B.C.E. and the Egyptians were known to have made perfumes of lavender and some believe that they distilled even back then. Perhaps this was the inception of the idea that the vibration of lavender led one to the stars as the Egyptians believed. This makes the use of lavender over 3300 years old!
The last great active pharaoh of Egypt, Cleopatra, a member of the Ptolemaic Dynasty, had as her secret weapon in the attraction and seduction of both Mark Anthony and Julius Caesar, the lovely scent of lavender. The Romans then adopted the use of lavender after their conquest of Egypt and they scented baths, pillows, and were known to carry lavender into battle.
Mary, the mother of Jesus, was the first Mother known to use lavender. She was said to have hung His baby clothes over a lavender bush thereby scenting His clothes. Lavender was ever after known to protect people from evil. In the Middle Ages, crosses of lavender were hung over the doors of homes to ward off evil. And, those in India believe that bad smells promote and bring evil entities to one. They use many essential oils and flowers for many different applications. Lavender also wards of insects protecting the wearer from bites.
Later in Christ’s life, Mary Magdalene anointed His feet with Lavender Spikenard by rubbing the oil into His feet with her hair. The scent was said to fill the house with the beauty of lavender.
As lavender made its way north into Europe it found its way into usage by the German Saint and nun Hildegard von Bingen. She lived from 1098 to 1179, and used lavender waters, which are a blend of alcohol – gin, brandy or vodka and she probably used a macerated lavender oil concoction. Today these are often blended with either lavender essential oil or absolute, which according to her soothed migraine headaches.
Well-known, loved and used throughout Europe lavender was used by the grave robbers during the Plague in their Four Thieves Vinegar a blend of ten ingredients in red or white wine vinegar. The “original” recipe which hangs in a museum in Paris is quoted by Wikipedia as thus:
Take three pints of strong white wine vinegar, add a handful of each of wormwood,
meadowsweet, wild marjoram and sage, fifty cloves, two ounces of campanula roots, two ounces of angelic, rosemary and horehound and three large measures of camphor. Place the mixture in a
container for fifteen days, strain and express then bottle. Use by rubbing it on the hands, ears and temples from time to time when approaching a plague victim.
Nowadays we use the essential oils of cloves, marjoram, rosemary, lavender and camphor – not quite “Four” but apparently the thieves were not great mathematicians or perhaps they were and some presently are not!
Everyone has used lavender. In the Alps, maidens were known to leave sachets of lavender under their pillows in hopes that the scent would attract to them their great lovers. In the House of Bourbon, Charles VI and Louis the XIV both were huge fans of lavender: they bathed and Charles demanded lavender wherever he went.
The glove makers in the French court all escaped the cholera epidemic due to the lavender with which they washed the gloves of the ladies and gentlemen of the French court. The Sun King, Louis XIV’s penchant for lavender was replaced when his son, Louis XV brought Neroli to the French court and thereby transported the court from the more serious heavy Fragonards and velvet drapes to a more light and airy court full of gossamer silks, and flower garden parties. An article dedicated to Neroli will be forthcoming but there is already a story on the website here.
A Chicago research foundation discovered that Lavender combined with pumpkin was
considered by many men to be the most arousing and prevent impotence. Lavender has been reported to heal emotions through the paths it travels in the limbic system to the olfactory bulb and the
amygdala. Through these energetic electromagnetic nervous system paths it is said to help heal the heart – along with rose. Another study showed that sales people were able to close twice as many
deals when they used Lavender essential oil or absolute as the scent apparently made everyone more trusting.
To return to our royals, many royals of note were said to use lavender. Queen Elizabeth I of England wished lavender conserve always at the royal table and fresh lavender flowers each day of the year – which must have been quite the feat to accomplish for the gardeners of her day in England’s climate.
Queen Victoria used a lavender deodorant and both Elizabeth I and II are said to have purchased lavender products from the Yardley Company. Already by the time the Tudors ruled maidens sipped lavender brews on St. Luke’s Day to divinate the identity of their true loves:
“Saint Luke, Saint Luke, be kind to me
In my dreams, let me my true love see.”
Stay Tuned for the update of the Perfumery of Lavender and Lavender’s solutions – like the chemist who plunged his arm into a vat of lavender only to be shocked it healed!
Mission: The Mission of La Magie® is to shift the world into a more optimistic, healthy, healed, affluent, peaceful planet through the route of natural essences, fragrances, oils and absolutes.
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