Anyone who has seen a lavender field in full bloom in the middle of June will surely understand why this plant is loved all over the world. In addition to its wonderful aroma, fragrance and feminine color, it also has many other good properties, which are enthusiastically used in beauty care and, more recently, in the field of gastronomy. In small quantities, you can add it to dishes, salads, make jam, or flavor fruit jams with it: it goes very well with strawberries and apricots. You can make syrup from it, and you can also decorate and flavor ice cream or cakes with it. In fact, the "knowledge" of this plant goes back so long that even the Egyptians and Romans knew that its beneficial effects can be enjoyed both externally and internally.
The origin of lavender
Lavender is a special plant with a divine aromatic scent, which is one of the most widely used Mediterranean medicinal, ornamental plants and herbs. It even brings back old childhood memories, our grandmothers for instance put lavender in small bags in the cupboard to ward off moths. As already mentioned, of course, its use goes back much longer, since the ancient Romans also scented their bath water with lavender. According to supporters of one theory, this is probably where the name of the plant comes from, from the Latin verb "lavo, lavare", meaning "to wash", while others say it comes from the adjective "lividua, lividus", meaning "purple".
According to some sources, Cleopatra not only used lavender to beautify her skin, but also used drops of lavender essence on her wrist to win the heart of Julius Caesar. If this was not convincing enough of how precious this simple little purple plant is, nothing proves its exceptionality better than the fact that lavender was also found in the sarcophagus of Pharaoh Tutankhamen and when his tomb was opened in 1922 - three thousand years after the death of the pharaoh -, according to the descriptions, the scent of lavender was still faintly noticeable.
In the 10th century, initiated members of the famous Salerno medical school developed a cure for paralysis using the flowers of lavender. In 1500, an English plant collector, William Turner, recommended wearing a jacket lined with lavender for colds. The story of the four robbers is between legend and reality. In the 17th century, during plague epidemics, they looted houses without being infected with the disease. Allegedly, when they were captured, they were offered to stay alive if they revealed their secret. Those interviewed said that they found a recipe for a miraculous vinegar in the archives of a library in Toulouse, which contained lavender, thyme, mint, rosemary and sage. It is said that this powerful antiseptic solution – which became known as the “vinegar of the four robbers” – had to be sprinkled on the body before anyone entered the houses of plague patients.
Lavender is originally native to Mediterranean countries - France, Spain, Greece, Italy, Bulgaria - but today it can also be found in many countries around the world, such as in Sweden and Hungary as well.
The 450 varieties of lavender, classified into 50 different species, are spread all over the world. Of course, this is not the full number, as there are still many varieties waiting to be discovered. There are also hybrids, which are mixtures of different species. Lavenders are spread all over the world because they live well in any climate and do not require much care.
Extraction and technology of lavender essential oil
6-9 kg of essential oil is obtained from half a hectare of lavender. The oil obtained from the flower is the most different of all! One of the most versatile essential oils that has proven to be effective for more than 70 different problems. It is also found among the recipes for digestive disorders, earaches, respiratory complaints, skin problems and sore throats. It relieves muscle pain, muscle spasms and is excellent for overcoming migraines and headaches. It reduces fatigue and invigorates the nervous system. It soothes the sunburn caused by sunbathing, soothes the skin and helps the healing of skin defects. During world war II, for example, lavender was used as a disinfectant in the first aid kits of many soldiers.
In addition to all of this, it dispels depression and fears, and helps eliminate insomnia, nervousness, and sudden mood swings. It strengthens the nervous system, calms the mind, relaxes and supports the maintenance of physical and mental well-being. Lavender essential oil helps cell regeneration and the formation of new, healthy skin. So it is perhaps becoming increasingly clear to everyone why lavender is so popular.