is perhaps best known as a perfuming agent, but its medicinal
properties have long been recognized. Culpeper, writing in the
seventeenth century, says "it is of especial use in pains of the head
and brain which proceed from cold, apoplexy, falling-sickness, the
dropsy, or sluggish malady, cramps, convulsions, palsies and often
faintings.... Two spoonfuls of the distilled water of the flowers help
them that have lost their voice, the tremblings and passions of the
heart, and fainting and swoonings, applied to the temples or nostrils,
to be smelt into, but it is not safe to use it where the body is
replete with blood and humours, because of the hot and subtle spirit
wherewith it is possessed. "
Modern aromatherapy recommends using lavender oil on the temples for
headache, or directly on joints for arthritis pain. (Use sparingly at
first in case of unknown allergies.) Sewing a quantity of the flowers
into a small pillow to keep beside you at night is thought to ensure
easy sleep and keep nightmares away. Lavender can be used as a
purifying smudge by smouldering the flowers on a burning charcoal block
- the smoke will have a decidedly lavender scent, which is very
pleasant and clearing.
In folk magic, lavender is principally used in love spells and
purifications. You can purchase lavender buds, lavender essential oil,
and eye pillows stuffed with flax and lavender, as well as a variety of
preparations that contain lavender as one ingredient.