Italians have used lavender for its therapeutic properties since ancient times, and here's how.
Lavender is a delightful way to add a distinct floral flavor in a wide breadth of recipes - it's one of our favorite ways to add a bit of springy flavor to desserts, cocktails, and infusions (such as Giada's lavender honey cake or lavender gin spritz!). In Italy, however, lavender has been beloved for much more than its culinary uses for ages. From a sore-muscle soother to a means of warding off ghosts (seriously!), lavender was utilized as a prized healing flower long before it was ever recognized as simply being tasty.
For those who love adding a bit of naturopathic wellness into their daily lives - the kind of thing Nonnas everywhere would approve - then read on for a bit of lavender-scented inspiration.
How Lavender Was Used In Ancient Italy
This versatile herb has a rich history in Italy, where it has been prized for its aromatic and therapeutic properties for centuries.
Relaxing baths: The use of lavender can be traced back to ancient times, when Romans would place bouquets of dried lavender sprigs into their thermal baths to help them relax, unwind, and soothe tired muscles.
To this day, lavender is still widely believed to have therapeutic benefits and reduce stress levels, and might even play a part in reducing pain and discomfort. Outside of the bath, try keeping a small bouquet of dried sprigs on your bedside table, or let a few sprigs simmer away in water to perfume your entire home with the calming smell.
Perfumes and cosmetics: In addition to baths, lavender was also used in Italy during the Renaissance as a perfume and in cosmetics. Women would often wear sachets of dried lavender in their clothing as a natural deodorizer - and even to ward off insects!
Traditional Medicine: Lavender has traditionally been believed to have antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties. In ancient Italy, it was used to treat a variety of ailments, including headaches, insomnia, and anxiety.
Ward off negative energy! Lastly, (and perhaps the most scientifically unfounded, but still interesting) in medieval Italy, lavender was believed to actually have paranormal properties. It was believed to have protective qualities against evil spirits, and people would use it to ward off negative energies. Can't hurt, right?