Lavender’s Uses in Skincare & Herbal Medicine: Thirteen Fun Facts!
If you’ve ever walked through a field of lavender, we don’t need to tell you how absolutely stunningly picturesque it is (heavenly in fact!) or that the aroma is intoxicating!
Apart from its obvious beauty, lavender is one of the most useful plants a Witch and herbalist can have in her cabinet of herbs. It can be used in spells and rituals, for herbal remedies and even in cooking. It really is such a versatile and amazing herb that it simply demands that we let you know all about it and some of its little secrets. But sshhh! don’t tell everyone!
Lavender: The Brass Tacks (The Facts!)
Lavandula, common name lavender, is a member of the mint family (who would have thought it?) and was originally grown in the Mediterranean. and was introduced to Britain by the Romans around 2,000 years ago. There are over 450 different varieties of the lavender plant, and of these there are three main types – English, French and Spanish. It’s reputation for being a calming and cleansing plant is well renowned. It has been used for well over 2000 years in countries all around the world.
Thirteen Fun Facts About Lavender!
1. The ancient Egyptians made use of lavender during their mummification process, embalming the corpse with perfume (lovely!).
2. The ancient Greeks, on the other hand, used lavender to treat insomnia and ease back pain.
3. During the Bubonic Plague in the 17th century, lavender was used as a remedy to ward off potential disease. It was commonly known that the people who worked in perfume factories, concocting perfumes using essential oils seemed to be immune form the Bubonic Plague.
4. The first to successfully grow and harvest lavender successfully were the Shakers. They developed lavender farms and produced their own herbs to sell to markets around the globe.
5. The colour lavender actually originates from Lavandula Angustifolia (or more commonly known as English lavender).
6. Lavender is actually quite the effective bug repellent! It can protect other plants from certain pests and creepy crawlies as well.
7. This fragrant plant can thrive pretty well on neglect, especially in any poor soil conditions and it can sometimes being found growing wild by the roadside in Greece!
8. When it comes to plant symbolism, lavender represents purity, devotion, serenity, grace, and calmness.
9. Lavender is actually a part of the mint family! Along with other herbs such as Thyme, Rosemary, Basil, Sage and Oregano.
10. Unsurprisingly, Queen Victoria was also a huge fan of Lavender. She made sure that all of her furniture was cleaned with a lavender-based solution, and her drink of choice was lavender-infused tea to help ease her stomach.
11. The Ancient Egyptians used lavender for a variety of things including cosmetics and perfumes.
12. In Rome, it was used as a remedy for sore throats, added to baths for relaxation, and in cooking.
13. English Lavender is the most suitable for cooking.
It Seems To Be Everywhere!
Nowadays, lavender is everywhere (we can’t get moving for it!) and you can find it in teas, sleeping remedies, anxiety remedies, skincare products, cleaning products and soaps.
It also makes a lovely decoration and when simply dried it can be used as pot potpourri to fragrance your home, or tied in bunches and placed in your kitchen to add some rustic style.
The Magickal Properties of Lavender
Lavender Folk Names: Elf Leaf, Nard, Spike
Zodiac Signs: Taurus, Gemini, Virgo
Deities: Hecate, Hestia, Persephone, Saturn, Circe, Medea
Medicinal Uses: eases anxiety, pain relief, heal wounds, combat eczema, induces sleep, eases headaches, calm nervous system, aids digestion, immunity booster, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal
Magickal Uses: happiness, love, relaxation, cleansing, protection, balance, peace, longevity, dreams, clairvoyance
In Your Practice: Lavender can be used in your spiritual practice in many different ways. Some of which include being burned as incense, to anoint tools or yourself, as an offering, in sachets, jars, and ritual herb blends, in a ritual bath, in tea during rituals, diffused into your ritual space, in different magickal mists such as for cleansing, happiness, or balance, as well as in magickal cleaning products.
Home Made Skincare Infusions
Infusing dried lavender into a carrier oil such as jojoba, sweet almond, avocado, or olive can help you save some pennies and get you in touch with your Witchy self! You can then use this as a facial and/or body oil to hold in moisture and to nourish your skin, add it to a relaxing bath or apply to your hair to soften, smooth and thicken it before shampooing and conditioning.
Quick Infusion Instructions: Fill a glass jar about half way with your lavender. A Kilner type jar would be perfect, but any jar would do. Now pour your chosen carrier oil over the top to cover about 1 – 2 inches above your dried buds and seal the jar tightly. Leave it to sit in a cool, dark place for 6 weeks, shaking daily. After 6 weeks, strain the infused oil through a muslin clothor fine sieve and voila! Your very own infused oil to use as you wish, all achieved using a simple technique handed down by your ancestors.
Lavender oil has so many skincare benefits to list but here are some of the main ones.
Lavender oil has antibacterial properties that helps to kill acne-inducing bacteria. By unclogging pores and reducing inflammation when you put it on your skin, lavender helps prevent acne from developing while treating existing blemishes.
Similar to the calming effects of the lavender scent, it can soothe irritated skin as well due to its natural anti-inflammatory properties. As a result, lavender can help treat certain skin conditions, such as eczema or psoriasis. By the same token, lavender can help to treat sunburn (it can even be applied to raw burns!).
Scientific research indicates that lavender oil promotes the healing of skin tissue. In which case, next time you have a cut, scrape, or other wound, reach for lavender oil to help speed up the healing process.
As lavender contains antioxidants, it can help protect against damaging free radicals which can dramatically age the skin. These free radicals are at least partly responsible for the development of fine lines and wrinkles so blocking them with an antioxidant can have some anti-aging effects.
As an essential ingredient to restore and maintain the epidermis, its toning effect can help fight signs of aging and leave your skin renewed.
Promotes A Youthful Glow
Lavender Essential Oil has been shown to improve blood circulation and promote a youthful complexion. Who doesn’t want the youthful glow of their younger years? Thanks to its anti-inflammatory compounds, Lavender Oil can help improve tone, evenness and restore the skin’s natural luminosity.
Restores Your Skin Barrier
Rich in antioxidants, Lavender Essential Oil protects and promotes the skin’s natural barrier as well as drawing out toxins and balancing pH levels for the ultimate skin detox.
It’s safe to say that lavender should definitely be somewhere in your garden or kitchen, even if it’s just a soothing tea to help you release your stresses of the day.