Originating from the Mediterranean, the Middle East, and India, this flowering plant is part of the mint family and has been in use for at least 2,500 years. In Ancient Greece, it was one of the herbs used in the ‘Holy Essence’, and the name lavender itself derives from the Latin word ‘lavare’, meaning ‘to wash’.
It was the Romans who really started using it for hygienic and medicinal purposes, taking great delight in its freshness as they went about their daily routine. In the south of France, lavender is still a staple ingredient in Herbs de Province, a herb combination often used to bring flavour to food.
Reminiscent of hazy afternoons lost to the heights of summer, the smell of lavender offers an escape from these shorter days. A time when the day felt like it would stretch on forever, we are reminded of lavender’s beautiful flowers, a staple summer sight in garden borders and fields across the world; bright and purple, without being too garish, lavender sets the rolling countryside hills alive with colour.
A smell we associate with carefree days and lazy afternoons, we can almost hear the keen buzz of the bees, busy flitting around the blooms as they sway in the warm summer breeze. Of course, as the frost ensues, these wonderful sights are lost to hotter days, but the scent of lavender brings them back to life in our memories and our imagination.
And the smell doesn’t just provide a nostalgic release. With anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, and aromatherapy purposes, lavender is well renowned for its ability to soothe headaches, heal wounds and reduce stress and anxiety.
As the year comes to an end and new beginnings are on the horizon, our thoughts might be heading into overdrive, especially with Christmas just around the corner. Lavender is a soothing presence for the mind and the body, especially if you are struggling to sleep.
If the transition of the seasons has left you feeling out of sorts, the simple smell of lavender can offer a calm and tranquil environment for respite, relaxation, and a sanctuary away from winter and the cold.
Winter can be hard, but the final thing to remember at this time of the year is that things are never lost; the seasons are a cycle and sunnier days will come back again.
In the meantime, there are other ways to reach these more promising moments, and that is why scented candles are so wonderful. The power of scent really does open up another world, bringing to life memories of the past and moments of reassurance through association and smell.