ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Lavender, a Natural Sleep Enhancer and so Much More Besides

Updated on January 31, 2022
Lavender farm at Kami-Furano
Lavender farm at Kami-Furano

Lavender- a brief history

If you've ever driven past fields of cultivated lavender, as I have, both here close to the South Downs of England, and also in the sunny southern fields of France, then you'll know how beautiful and pleasing it can be. The pale purple flowers gently rustling in the summer breeze, the air alive with the gentle buzz of bees, and the dancing flight of butterflies.

The word Lavender comes from the Latin word Lavare - to wash- but it has been used throughout recorded history. In 1923 when Tutenkahamun's tomb was opened 3,000 years after it was first sealed, traces of lavender were found that still retained a slight scent.

The Romans are credited with bringing lavender to Britain. They loved to bathe in lavender scented water. The soothing perfume calms and relaxes and has long been used to aid restful sleep. Roman bath-houses were noisy, communal affairs where people came together to chat and laugh as they soaked away the stresses and strains of the day. I expect the scent of lavender was a welcome addition!

In folk-lore, lavender came to be associated with purity and fidelity. A popular test was to put a sprig of lavender into a girl's left hand. If the flowers didn't shrivel, then she was declared to be chaste. Similarly, lavender placed in a man's right shoe was thought to guarantee his faithfulness, and sailors' wives would bake cakes with lavender in them to ensure their husbands fidelity during the long months away at sea. Bunches of lavender were often woven into the shape of a cross to ward off evil spirits, and these would be hung over doorways.

The Victorians were big fans of lavender, and even to this day, many people still associate it with lace and old ladies, which maybe why it fell out of favour to some extent, in the twentieth century.

Lavender in the 21st century

These days lavender is enjoying a real revival in popularity. Modern technology has come together with traditional ideas and techniques, and a wide range of quality lavender based products are now available. Here are just some of the ways this old-fashioned treasure is being given a new twist:

  • Lavender oil is available as a pillow spray. The scent of Lavender has a big reputation as a relaxant and sleep enhancer, so I guess a lavender-scented pillow is a good place to start.
  • Horse and dog washes scented with lavender are good for calming animals, and also offer some resistance to flies, fleas and ticks
  • Lavender scented shampoo, soap, talc, and bath products. These are all traditional uses, but brought right up to date with the addition of such modern ideas as bath bombs, and flower heads included in the soaps and salts.
  • Lavender bags - great for scenting drawers and closets. Lavender is a traditional moth and insect repellant as well as having a pleasant scent
  • Lavender Essence - the natural antiseptic and healing properties make this a winner when dabbed on insect bites, stings, cuts, spots and bruises
  • Lavender as a cooking ingredient. The fresh flowers can be crushed and in cluded in cakes, or used to decorate icing and other toppings.
  • Lavender and wheat heat pads - these useful bags can be bought or made at home, then heated in the micro-wave to place on aching joints and muscles
  • Lavender pot-pourri - scent your room with this pleasing selection of dried, aromatic flower buds
  • Lavender massage oil - soothing and calming. A great way to relax those muscles
  • Lavender scented candles - wind down for bed-time with this subtly perfumed product

English lavender in a n Oxfordshire garden by Ken Irwin
English lavender in a n Oxfordshire garden by Ken Irwin
Freshly cut lavender flowers by Lexipexi
Freshly cut lavender flowers by Lexipexi
Lavandula.Multifida photographed by Laitche, courtesy Wik commons
Lavandula.Multifida photographed by Laitche, courtesy Wik commons

Growing lavender in your garden

Species and Varieties

There are more than 50 species of lavender, and they come in a variety of sizes and the colours vary through pink to purple. The great thing is that they are a good plant for neglectful gardeners like me, as they will tolerate minimal attention quite well. They are also quite a neat, well-behaved plant, and always a pleasure to cultivate. Here are some of the better known varieties:

English Lavender (Lavandula.angustifolia)

This type grows to a height of around 45cm to 75cm (1½ft to 2½ft) with a similar spread. Over time these lavenders form mounds which  looks very attractive when groups are planted together. The flowers appear in late Spring and keep coming right through to late summer. .

Lavandin or Dutch Lavender (Lavandula.x intermedia)

The stems of Lavandins are longer than English Lavender. They have a height and spread of about 90cm (3ft), which makes them useful as low hedging.


These lavenders are half hardy. The distinctive leaves  have deep "teeth" up their entire length, which accounts for their Latin name. The flowers have an unusual shape and  long stems, which can appear straggly in a smaller garden.

Making your own lavender bags

Making home-made raspberry and lavender lemonade


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)