The cool dry scent of lavender has been floating in the ethers for centuries. First documented over 2,500 years ago as used by the Egyptians, Phoenicians, and people of Arabia, it has been smoked, used in cooking, administered as medicine, employed as insect repellent, and most enjoyed for its fragrance. It was also used in mummification techniques, but here at the Agraria offices, we haven’t had that exact need as of yet.
Notable early lavender fans: Adam and Eve (Why do you think the Garden of Eden was called Paradise?) Mother Mary was a fan after she laid the clothes of the baby Jesus out on a lavender bush to dry and his clothing took on the scent.
Got Plague? Lavender was believed to protect those who wore it from the Great Plague in London in the 17th century as well as other diseases like cholera.
Kings and Queens: Charles VI of France demanded lavender-filled pillows wherever he went. Queen Elizabeth I of England wanted fresh lavender flowers available every day of the year. Heaven help the gardener who could not produce! Louis XIV bathed in lavender-scented water. And more than a few queens have been customers of Yardley and Co. of London, famous for its English lavender scent, and established in the mid 1700s.
The amorous qualities of lavender have their own purple history:The Bible tells us that Judith anointed herself with perfumes including lavender before seducing Holofernes allowing her to murder him and save the city of Jerusalem. Cleopatra used lavender in her seductions of Ceasar and Mark Antony. And in early American history there was a conservative (celibate) Quaker sect that believed in the erotically stimulating qualities of the plant and so grew and manufactured it for use by more worldly clients. Lavender may even be useful against impotence. In a study of men, the scent of pumpkin and lavender rated as the scent found most arousing.