It is believed to have started as an endemic plant of Mesopotamia, first used by the Arabs, and later spread to the Mediterranean countries. In ancient Libya, Greece and Rome, they used lavender to flavor bath water and to make aromatic soaps.
Its name derives from the Latin verb lavare, which means wash, because the Romans used lavender flowers to flavor the water of their baths, a custom adopted by the ancient Egyptians.
Known in ancient Egypt, it was grown in the gardens of the Thebes and used in the production of aromatic ointments and oils. It was one of the ingredients of the embalming balm, probably for its fragrance, and often lavender-scented vessels accompanied the deceased to the grave. In the tomb of Tutankhamen, in the Valley of the Kings, was found a lavender aroma vase, preserved in pretty good condition, 3500 years after the burial.
Queen of Savva and Cleopatra, the great seductresses of antiquity, loved its perfume and used it in their bath and cosmetics. Biblical Judith, daughter of the lord of Baitilou, saved her city from the siege of the Assyrians. by decapitIng their general, Olofernes, after seducing him, bathed in lavender aroma.
The Greeks called lavender "nardo" or "nardostacho" and filled with its flowers door gaps and keyholes. It was loved by the good spirits and fairies, cast out goblins and ghosts and protected from the evil eye.
In the Gospel of Luke, Mary Magdalene smeared Jesus' feet with nordic perfume. Jewish tradition says that lavender was taken by Adam and Eve from heaven when they left the garden of Eden. On this myth, Christians add that its flower had no scent, until the Virgin spread baby Jesus’s clothes on it. When it was collected, lavender had acquired its magical aroma.
Dioscurides describes the species Lavandula Stoechas and states that it grows in southern France, in the region of Marseille, and that they made wine, and vinegar, which were used against epilepsy, and for pains in the chest and ribs, while extensively references to its healing properties are made by Theophrastus, Galen and Pliny.
It is said that in the great plague epidemic of Toulouse in 1630, 4 people were arrested for plundering the dead and their homes, without infecting themselves. In return for their lives, they gave the court the secret of their immunity, which was a lavender, sage and rosemary ointment. The formulation became known as "the oil of the four thieves" and was used proactively in other epidemics of infectious diseases.
In the Middle Ages, lavender was carved as a carpet in castles, temples and sanatoriums to flavor and disinfect. Even today, it is found in trunks and closets with clothes, for perfume and protection against moth and other insects.
The Benedictine nun of the 12th century St. Hildegard prepared the first cologne from the lavender of her garden and used it for headaches, hysteria, nervous tachypnea, arthritis, ulcers, toothache, colic and colds.
Lavender, from the 15th century, dominated the mighty French perfume industry in the famous city of Grasse and was spent in huge quantities in king Loui's royal court (who, as we know had no good relations with water and soap) and they generally had a poor personal hygiene.
The French doctor and researcher Jean Valnet used the antiseptic and healing properties of the Laminaceae family (lavender, sage, thyme, rosemary, oregano etc.). He found that lavender essential oil kills tuberculosis, typhoid, diphtheria, staphylococci in a suitable dilution and recommended spraying lavender essential oil at 2% dilution to disinfect patient and operating rooms.
During 1st World War, lavender essential oil was used as an antiseptic for wounds and for the treatment of chronic skin conditions.
It has a significant soothing effect on the nervous system in cases of over-stimulation.
Lavender is a herbal balancer. It combats nervousness, atony, anxiety and melancholy as well as over-stimulation, stimulates and rests, is a mild antidepressant and generally calming and soothing.
For aromatherapists, the lavender's soothing properties benefit inflammation, convulsions and pain, and the antiseptic properties of essential oil make it suitable for many infections.
Without curing it, it relieves the symptoms of sinusitis and also helps with hangover symptoms.
Lavender has strong antimicrobial activity and it is considered effective in healing small wounds, cuts, burns, and it is suitable for cleansing the skin in cases of acne, eczema and skin diseases.
A lavender tea before bed is considered hypotensive, relieves stress and reduces night palpitations. It has anthelmintic properties so it can be used to fight pests in the intestines.
It contains flavonoids, which have been shown to activate enzymes that reduce the likelihood of certain types of cancer, heart disease and degenerative diseases associated with aging. Some of these substances also contribute to better dental health and reduce the incidence of common diseases such as influenza.
It is advisable to avoid it during pregnancy, because it is a uterine stimulant.