The Magical Properties of Lavender – Botanical and Herb Magic
The Botanical and Herb Magic series focuses on the folklore and magical properties of lavender rather than medicinal purposes. This is a beginner’s guide to incorporating botanical and herb magic into your spiritual practices and to improve your knowledge. Hopefully, this information will inspire and empower you to add more herbal intentions and spirituality into your daily life. Always speak to your physician or health care provider to avoid any side effects, interactions, or discuss your specific health care needs.
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When you think of Lavender, the first thought that may come to mind is the quote from the book Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman, “Always throw spilled salt over your left shoulder. Keep rosemary by your garden gate. Add pepper to your mashed potatoes. Plant roses and lavender, for luck. Fall in love whenever you can.”
However, there’s so much more to lavender than luck! Lavender is a popular botanical, and I hope this post will help you see why! Let’s get started!
This post is quite long so feel free to use the Table of Contents to quickly locate the answers you’re looking for!
Correspondences and Magical Properties of Lavender
The magical properties of lavender are quite extensive and evoke feelings of relaxation and peace. Lavender is loved for its pleasant aroma, positive vibrations, stress relief, and is a wonderful bee pollinator.
Lavender is a beautiful blue, violet, and green-silver leafed small woody shrub. About three feet tall in height and approximately the same in width.
Its strong and aromatic fragrance makes it a prevalent herb. In fact, human beings have been enjoying, using, and cultivating lavender for over two thousand years.
Lavender is regarded as a natural antiseptic and can help to reduce scarring and accelerate healing.
Of course, the magical properties of lavender, like those of most herbs, don’t fit neatly into human-made classification boxes, and those interested in Nature Spirituality are going to go with what works, no matter what a book says.
Spiritual magical properties of lavender correspondences include:
- Sleep and dreams
- Deepens and enhances spiritual connections
- Cleansing and purification
- Promotes long life
- Boosts moods and memory
- Pain relief
- Heals skin
Lavender’s Common Name
The scientific name for lavender is Lavandula, and the most common species, English lavender, is known as angustifolia. Part of the mint family, Lavender is native across Mediterranean regions, including Italy, Spain, and France.
The name Lavender comes from the Latin ‘lavando’ part of the verb, lavare, meaning “to wash” or “to bathe”.
Ancient Greeks and Romans called it nard or nardus, referring to a Syrian town near the Euphrates river called Naarda. Others have referred to it as spike and elf leaf.
Lavender History and Folklore
Throughout history, Lavender has been used to alleviate coughs, culinary uses, stopping spasms, as an anti-bacterial, cosmetics, anti-septic, flatulence relief, as a stimulant, perfumes, to ward off evil or negative energy, for its sweet aroma, and many other purposes.
It’s said that lavender bundles were given to women in labor to help soothe their pain and squeeze during contractions.
Clothes were washed in streams or rivers and then splayed across lavender bushes to dry. This not only made the clothes smell wonderful, but it also helped to repel insects.
In Spain, lavender was thrown onto church floors or burned in a bonfire to thwart any evil spirit’s malicious intentions on St. John’s day.
In England, Queen Elizabeth I was quite fond of lavender. She drank lavender tea every day to avoid headaches, kept vases full of fresh lavender, and even decreed lavender be scattered around the castle floors. That probably smelled quite lovely!
During WWII, doctors used lavender to treat and heal lacerations and injuries.
Here are a few more examples of lavender being used throughout history-
It’s believed that Egyptians created fragrant herbal oils by infusing them with animal fats. They used these herbal oils for cosmetics, incense, skincare, and perfume. Egyptians also utilized lavender oils for rituals while embalming the deceased. This was presumably particularly beneficial due to the antiseptic and antibacterial properties of lavender.
Greek and Roman
Greek physician and botanist Pedanius Dioscorides (c. 40-90 AD) was the first to write about lavender uses. He advised a “tea-like preparation” to help with chest troubles, as a laxative, for sore throats, antiseptic properties, and invigoration purposes.
Lavender was quite popular with the Greeks and Romans and was frequently used for communal bathing. It was believed to improve and revitalize the skin.
It was a prevalent Roman superstition the asp, a venomous viper, nested in lavender bushes. This made harvesting lavender blossoms a tricky business and also created a steep price. According to legend, Cleopatra used an asp to kill herself.
Hildegard of Bingen (1098- 1179), a German Benedictine abbess, Christian mystic, philosopher, writer, and founder of scientific natural history, was the first person during the Middle Ages to differentiate between Lavandula vera and Lavandula spica.
Hildegard wrote a recommendation for lung congestion –
To cook lavender of spic [lavender spike] with wine, or if one has no wine, with honey and water, put it in case to cool often, soften the suffering in the liver, and in the lungs and the vapour in the chest, and the wine of lavender I assure you is a science pure and clean
Hildegard implied that if a person smells lavender often, it will help cure lice. She also wrote that lavender “curbs very many evil things, and because of it, malign spirits are terrified.” She believed lavender helped the nervous system prepare for sleep and advocated a walk before a bath infused with lavender.
During the Middle Ages, it was also believed you could keep your lover faithful by trickling lavender water over their head.
During the Bubonic plague of the mid-1300s, glove makers scented their product with lavender oil. It was believed to inhibit the contraction of the Plague. Since fleas spread the Bubonic Plague, this might have been an effective tactic since lavender is known to repel insects.
What Scientific Studies Have Said About Lavender
Studies have shown a decrease in stress and pain levels after breathing in lavender oil for 5 minutes.
Lavender contains linalool, which helps to reduce anxiety when vaporized and may even help patients with dementia.
The main anxiety-relieving components are linalool and linalyl acetate. They’re also found in other relaxing aromatic plants, including citrus fruits, like bitter orange (neroli).
Lavender oil also contains the terpenes cineole and camphor. These are also found in memory-boosting European sage and rosemary.Healthline – A Love Letter to Lavender
It’s important to note that these studies have shown that lavender’s scent and fragrance create the calming effect subjects experience, not consuming.
While science has proven that lavender is useful against anxiety and has calming and mood-boosting effects, it hasn’t proven any love-inducing reactions.
Magical Uses, Crafts, and Ritual Ideas For Lavender
Excellent to place beneath your pillow to promote sleep or to use for love manifestations and intentions.
Lavender sachets can also be placed in your dryer and reused numerous times to scent your clothes.
Place lavender sachets in clothing drawers to repel insects. Lavender has been proven to be effective at repelling insects, as shown in this study here. In fact, fiber artists are encouraged to keep their yarn with lavender or rosemary.
Wearing a sachet or amulet with lavender is believed to deepen your spiritual connection to the universe.
Crafting a lavender wand is fairly simple and makes a lovely gift, used in closets or drawers, or just used as a wonderful smelling air freshener. Lavender wands help to prevent dried lavender buds from breaking off and creating a mess.
Infuse dried lavender flower buds in the oil of your choice. Jojoba, Coconut, and Sweet Almond oil are my favorites! Infusions take about six weeks and should be kept in a dark, dry space.
Lavender oil herbal infusions can be used for many different purposes. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Nourish and soften skin after a ritual bath
- Rub on skin before bed to help you sleep
- Add to salves, lotions, or homemade soap
- Use a few drops to smooth hair
- Used on children to prevent nightmares
- Anoint yourself, candles, or sacred items before a ritual to remove any negative energy
Celebrate Summer Solstice
Lavender is a wonderful way to mark the festive days of the Summer Solstice. Toss some sprigs into a bonfire to keep negative energy away and ensure a prosperous year.
Include in any Summer Solstice rituals that include sex, fertility, love, insight, healing, or connections to the universe.
Lavender is a lovely and potent choice to remove negative energy or pessimistic vibes and has many uses. Here are a few ideas to get you started.
- Create your own smoke cleansing sticks (a fantastic use for leftover dried lavender stems)
- Scatter flower buds into a ritual bath
- Traditionally used in a room where a baby is born to remove negativity and welcome a new spirit
- Burn while meditating to deepen your spiritual connection and increase positive vibes
- Plant some in your garden for luck, protection, and to help the bees
- Add to some stovetop potpourri to add happy intentions
- Create serene energy while meditating
- Add to white vinegar for a household antiseptic cleaner
Magical Lavender Water
Combine lavender with magical waters to help amplify their intentions. You can add this to your altar, bless your grimoire, place it in a ritual bath, or any way you choose! Here are a few magical water ideas to get you started:
- Florida Water
- Sea or Ocean
- Morning Dew
You can also enchant lavender by dipping the lavender buds in these magical waters and allowing the water to drip off the ends and onto your skin. Feel free to include other herbs as well because lavender will boost their magical goals. State an affirmation as you do so with an intention you’d like to align with, such as –
“I feel beautiful, happy, and confident in my own skin. My life is full of joy, happiness, and peace”
Baking or Culinary Purposes
If you’re interested in kitchen magic, this section should make your heart sing! Using lavender for culinary purposes should incorporate any of the magical properties of lavender and spiritual correspondences listed above. I’d recommend using the lavender buds for culinary purposes. However, the stems make great smoke cleansers when dried. Here are a few ideas to get you started, but the possibilities are endless!
- Lavender lemonade
- Added to wedding cakes
- Grind dried lavender buds and add to sugar. Sprinkle on cakes or cookies.
- Add to berries
- Bake into bread
- Add to jellies
- Create a simple syrup
- Lavender Moon milk
- Scones or muffins
- Biscuits or shortbread
- Herbal popsicles
- and lastly…
Lavender tea is great for sleep, nausea, alleviating gas, and relaxation.
A tincture is an herbal extract typically used with alcohol. Cheap vodka is best for this. Slightly crush or bruise dried lavender flower buds and place them in a clean mason jar. Fill it up about halfway with lavender buds. Cover completely with vodka and place a cool dark area for about 6 weeks, shaking occasionally.
Once the time period is complete, strain out lavender buds using a cheesecloth. Store your tincture out of the sunlight.
Here are some ideas to get you started –
- Add to your diffuser
- Use as a bug spray
- Linen or clothing spray
- Add to adult libations (hello lavender lemonade)
- Include in your ritual bath
- Air freshener
- Add to lip balm
Flower crowns are a beautiful summer craft and truly fun to make! Lavender crowns are sometimes used in Handfasting or wedding ceremonies to incorporate lavenders magical properties and correspondences of love, protection, and joy. You could also create a flower crown to celebrate the summer season! Using fresh lavender will be much easier than dried lavender.
Since one of the magical properties of lavender is protection, it is frequently used around the home. Here are a few ways you can incorporate lavender’s happiness and good vibes into your home:
- Make a wreath for the front door (use fresh lavender for an easier and less messy project)
- Place in a beautiful vase and enjoy as is
- Hang a bundle of lavender behind your entry doors
- Create potpourri
- Wipe down doors, windows, and surfaces with lavender vinegar or tincture
- Plant lavender in your garden or by your front door
- Add to your altar or sacred space
How To Grow Lavender
Now that the magical properties of lavender have been fully covered, it’s important to discuss how to grow lavender. There are over 30 different lavender species, but I will be discussing English lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) because it’s the most popular.
Lavender is a hardy perennial in Zones 6 – 9. However, lavender can often survive in Zone 5 if covered with a good mulch. Lavender is typically pest-free and deer resistant.
Lavender is tough to grow from seed, so it’s recommended to propagate or buy plants from the store. Plant in spring when the danger of frost has passed. Lavender prefers full sun and well-drained soil. Plant in soil that is nutrient-poor as it dislikes soil that is too rich.
A good tip I learned from Monty Don is to grab a handful of small rocks and toss them into your hole before planting. Lavender abhors wet roots, and this helps to prevent root rot.
Space lavender plants approximately 2 feet apart to allow for air circulation. Lavender makes a wonderful companion for any plants that prosper from pollinators like bees.
Lavender is a wonderful plant for beginners. It’s effortless to grow and can almost be ignored once planted.
Harvesting and Storage
Harvest lavender just as buds are beginning to open. I’d recommend approximately 20- 25% of the buds being open (similar to the photo above) and doing it in the morning hours for peak fragrance.
Hang bunches of lavender to dry in a dark location away from activity. Keep bundles no bigger than what you can comfortably hold in your hand. If possible, keep a fan running in the room to improve circulation.
As lavender bushes grow full size, you can typically get 2 – 3 harvests a season if you prune them promptly.
You can prepare your lavender for the next season by pruning it during late Autumn or early Spring. I prefer pruning mine during early Spring because it’s easier to see and avoid cutting new growth. Do not cut into the woody stems; keep about 3 inches or so above that.
How To Propagate Lavender
Once you start growing lavender, you can grow more plants for yourself or give them away as gifts for free! You might even have some neighbors that are willing to share.
Take cuttings from young lavender growth during the summer and plant in moist, well-drained soil. Place somewhere in a low wind area where it won’t be disturbed. I’ve often heard recommendations to use rooting hormones, but I’ve never done so, and my lavender has turned out fine. The choice is up to you, my peculiar friend!
You can check out more of the Botanical and Herb Magic Properties series here:
Maria Lis-Balchin. Lavender: The Genus Lavandula Medicinal and Aromatic Plants – Industrial Profiles. CRC Press, 2002
Lavender written by The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica
Joe-Ann McCoy Ph.D. 1999. Lavender: History, Taxonomy, and Production Updated by J.M. Davis in 2017 and 2020.
Asadollahi A, Khoobdel M, Zahraei-Ramazani A, Azarmi S, Mosawi SH. Effectiveness of plant-based repellents against different Anopheles species: a systematic review. Malar J. 2019.
Peir Hossein Koulivand, Maryam Khaleghi Ghadiri, Ali Gorji, “Lavender and the Nervous System”, Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, vol. 2013, Article ID 681304, 10 pages, 2013. https://doi.org/10.1155/2013/681304
I hope you found this post on the magical properties of lavender helpful, lots of love to you, and remember as always…