The Wonderful World of Lavender
Ah, Lavender. The perfect fragrance to help you catch some Zzz… You don’t meet many people who hate the smell of lavender. This versatile fragrance note is definitely a favorite across the candle community.
“Okay but what is it?”
Lavender is what we call a flowering plant, which is just a fancy way to say it’s a plant that produces flowers. It is also a part of the mint family, known for its beauty and sweet floral fragrance.
“So, where does lavender come from?”
Lavender doesn’t have a clear origin story (with history that can be traced back nearly 2500 years), but it is believed to have originated in the Mediterranean, Middle East, and India. The ancient Greeks were some of the first to discover the many properties of lavender, but the Romans are responsible for the name. ‘Lavender’ comes from the latin word ‘lavare’ meaning ‘to wash.’ It was used to scent baths, beds, clothes, and even hair in Roman society. In addition to scent, they discovered the medicinal properties of lavender and its unique ability to calm the mind and body before sleep.
“What do you mean lavender is used medicinally?”
Lavender oil is mostly used for aromatherapy, but can also be used as a disinfectant, antiseptic, and anti-inflammatory. If none of that made sense to you, here it is broken down:
Lavender can soothe simple, common ailments such as insect bites, sunburns, small cuts, and even acne. In some cases, it can ease heartburn and other inflammatory conditions. It can not cure coronavirus! But we can dream…
“Okay so I’ve heard of aromatherapy, but how does it work?”
Aromatherapy is the practice of using essential oils for therapeutic benefit. When inhaled, the scent molecules in essential oils travel from the olfactory nerves directly to the brain and especially impact the amygdala, the emotional center of the brain. So, when you smell lavender in particular it promotes calm, stress relief, and soothes anxiety. So, basically with the state of our world, we should all just have a lifetime supply. Cool.
“Is lavender oil the only useful part of the plant?"
Lavender is largely grown commercially for the use of Lavender essential oil, which is obtained through the distillation process, but the answer to this question is NO! The Lavender plant is extremely fragrant on it’s own, making it the perfect plant to quickly fragrance your living room before your mother-in-law comes over.
Dried Lavender flowers are used extremely often from sachets that freshen up your sock drawer to beautiful decoration and confetti at the wedding of your friend who *really* loves Fleetwood Mac.
“Is lavender best by itself? Or does it pair with other fragrances well?”
Lavender definitely plays well with others. She’s the queen of group projects. You can put Lavender with just about anything, but most commonly you will find it paired with other florals (rose, jasmine, chamomile) or herbs (mint, thyme, rosemary). Stay tuned for what Candlefish Library scents contain Lavender!
“Alright, so I know I love lavender. What does that say about me?”
Lavender has been known to represent purity, serenity, and gentleness, but the purple color of the flowers adds even more symbolism. Purple is the color of royalty, elegance, and luxury. So basically, you might be an introvert, but your inner queen/king comes out every now and then and you love the beautiful things in life. You probably also deeply value time alone and self-care. Queen of self-love!!