The lavender plant is perennial shrub in the mint family, and its use in both medicine, perfumery and cosmetics dates back more than 2,500 years. Believed to have origins in the Mediterranean, the ancient Greeks referred to it as ‘Nard’ after the city of Naarda. It is mentioned often in the Bible, where it is referred to as ‘spikenard.’ The stories tell of Mary anointing the feet of Jesus with the spikenard ointment, and it is also mentioned in ‘The Song of Solomon’.
The Romans used it for many things: to scent their bathwater, their bedlinens and their hair, and burned as incense to scent the air around them or to help tame wild lions and tigers. In ancient Egypt, lavender was used in embalming, and something resembling lavender ointment has been found in many Egyptian tombs. Because of the locales at which it has been discovered, it is thought to have only been used by the nobility and high priests for cosmetics, medicines and added to massage oils.
In 16th and 17th century France, you could find lavender in just about any medicinal compound, as it was widely regarded as a cure-all. During this time, it was deemed useful for preventing many diseases, and during the black plague years it was in particularly high demand.
Queen Elizabeth I was known to put lavender in her tea to treat severe headaches, and Charles VI, the King of France, filled his seat cushions with it. Queen Victoria was also a lavender enthusiast, and during her time it was a very fashionable scent for young ladies at court. Whether dried to put in sachets in order to repel insects in the closet or applied to the scalp to treat head lice, it found its way into many household products, from furniture polish to hand soap.
Rene Gattefosse, a French scientist of the early 20th century and considered the founder of modern aromatherapy, was able to soothe the pain and heal a burn sustained in a laboratory accident with lavender oil. It was widely used on the WWI battlefield to treat as well as prevent infection, prized for its antiseptic qualities.
Today, it is considered a must-have in any essential oil collection. In fact, for some, it is the only essential oil they use.
Lavender essential oil has a wide range of uses in aromatherapy, from medicinal to cosmetic and in perfumery. The chemical compounds in lavender that provide the most benefits include linalool, linalyl acetate, camphor and eucalyptol.
These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. If you are pregnant, nursing, taking medication, or have a medical condition, consult your physician before using this product.
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