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These plants, funghi and insect illustrations
are part of my botanical oracle deck

Lavandula angustifolia | Lavender

Botanical Overview of Lavender

  • Scientific Name: Lavandula angustifolia

  • Common Names: Lavender, True Lavender, English Lavender

  • Family: Lamiaceae

  • Description: Lavender is a small, perennial shrub known for its fragrant, purple-blue flowers and silver-green foliage. The plant grows to about 30-60 cm in height and has a compact, bushy habit. The leaves are narrow and covered in fine, silver hairs, while the flowers are borne on long spikes and are highly aromatic.


lavandula angustifolia botanical illustration

Properties of Lavender

  • Chemical Constituents: Essential oils (linalool, linalyl acetate, camphor), flavonoids, tannins, and coumarins.

  • Edibility: Lavender flowers are edible and can be used to flavor desserts, teas, and savory dishes. They are also used to make lavender syrup, honey, and as a garnish.


Distribution and Habitat of Lavender

  • Native Range: Mediterranean region, including Southern Europe and Northern Africa.

  • Preferred Habitat: Thrives in well-drained, sandy, or gravelly soils in full sun. Lavender prefers dry, rocky environments and is often found on hillsides and in open fields. It is widely cultivated around the world for its ornamental, culinary, and medicinal uses.


Medicinal Properties and Uses of Lavender

  • Traditional Uses: Lavender has been used for centuries in traditional medicine for its calming, antiseptic, and anti-inflammatory properties. It was commonly used to treat headaches, anxiety, and digestive issues, and to promote restful sleep. Lavender oil was also applied topically to treat wounds, burns, and insect bites.

  • Modern Applications: Today, lavender is extensively used in aromatherapy to reduce stress and anxiety, promote relaxation, and improve sleep quality. Its essential oil is widely used in massage oils, lotions, and bath products for its soothing effects. Lavender also has antimicrobial properties and is included in natural remedies for skin conditions and minor burns. The dried flowers are often used in sachets and potpourris to scent linens and keep moths away.


Magical Correspondences and Uses of Lavender in Magical Practice

  • Element: Air

  • Planet: Mercury

  • Magical Properties: Peace, love, purification, and protection.

  • Uses: Lavender is a staple in magical practices for its calming and protective qualities. It is often used in rituals and spells to bring peace and harmony into the home or to attract love and enhance relationships. Lavender is also employed in purification rituals to cleanse spaces and individuals of negative energy. The flowers can be burned as incense, added to sachets, or included in bathwater to promote relaxation and spiritual cleansing. Carrying lavender or placing it under a pillow is believed to aid restful sleep and ward off nightmares.


Folklore, Legends, and Mythology of Lavender

  • Historical Context: Lavender has been valued since ancient times for its fragrance, medicinal properties, and use in sacred rituals. It was used by the Romans to scent bathwater and was considered a symbol of cleanliness and purity.

  • Folklore: In European folklore, lavender was believed to protect against the evil eye and bad spirits. Bundles of lavender were hung in homes or carried to ward off misfortune and bring good luck. Lavender was also associated with love and was used in love spells and charms.

  • Mythology: In Roman mythology, lavender was linked to Venus, the goddess of love, due to its romantic scent and association with beauty and sensuality. According to some Christian legends, lavender gained its fragrance when the Virgin Mary laid the infant Jesus’ clothes to dry on a lavender bush.


Historical Literary Sources

  • Dioscorides’ "De Materia Medica": Describes the use of lavender for its calming and antiseptic properties, highlighting its role in ancient Greek and Roman medicine.

  • Culpeper’s "Complete Herbal" (1653): Nicholas Culpeper discusses the soothing and healing properties of lavender, emphasizing its applications in treating headaches and anxiety.

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