History • Benefits • Growing
History • Benefits • Growing
DISCOVER the allure of lavender at STEED & COMPANY LAVENDER – Lavender has captivated us for untold centuries. Its benefits have relaxed us and healed us. The French, well-known for their cuisine, have long made great use of this herb in their kitchens. We encourage you to grow lavender in your own gardens, harvest it and experiment with using lavender in some delicious recipes.
The historic use of lavender dates back over 2,500 years. The ancient Egyptians used it for perfume and mummification. Romans were known to use lavender for bathing, cooking, relaxation and as an insect repellent. Around 600 BC lavender spread across Europe from Greece to France, Spain, Italy and England. By the 1600’s lavender was being grown in Europe commercially. Many noted Royals indulged in lavender use. Queen Elizabeth I of England drank lavender tea and favoured lavender preserves at the royal table. Louis XIV of France had lavender scented baths. However, it was Queen Victoria who brought lavender into fashion as a perfume for English ladies. The English Quakers brought lavender to North America and began to grow and sell it commercially. Today growing lavender in England has diminished, but it is still reputed to have the sweetest smelling lavender oils. Although the Provence region of France is still famous for it lavender, lavender is also grown in Australia, Bulgaria, Croatia, Japan and North America.
Although we recognize lavender for its wonderful perfume qualities, the healing properties of lavender have been documented as far back as 77 AD when Romans used it to ease insect bites, treat head lice and repel insects. By the mid nineteenth century, lavender was considered a cure-all herb. Today herbalists regard lavender as one of the most useful and versatile essential oil for therapeutic purposes. Lavender oil has also earned a reputation for having remarkable healing qualities when it is applied to wounds and burns. Its analgesic and antiseptic properties will help to ease pain, prevent infection and help reduce scarring. In aromatherapy lavender essential oil is known to induce sleep, ease stress and relieve congestion and headaches. Although lavender is a natural herbal remedy, it can be dangerous if used incorrectly and should never be taken internally without the guidance of a registered herbalist or naturopathic doctor. You will only find pure lavender essential oil in Steed & Company products.
Lavender belongs to the mint family distinguished by its square stems and distinctive fragrance. There are over 15 species of lavender with many different cultivars that span the colour range from pale violet to deep indigo including pink and white cultivars. At our lavender farm we grow, Lavandula angustifolia and many of its cultivars, because of its more hardy nature wintering in zones 5-8. We also grow several cultivars of a sterile hybrid cross of L.angustifolia and L. latifolia known as Lavandins. Lavindins are popular because of their high oil content. The soil for lavender should be a pH of about 6-8. The soil type should be lime based, light and well-drained. Although lavender is thought to be a drought-tolerant plant, good irrigation and adequate rainfall are important for establishing new plants and minimizing stress of long hot summers. Pruning plants back in the spring by about 1/3, and not into old wood, is necessary for maintaining a healthy plant. For our lavender, we promote organic growing practices with no chemical intervention.