In the 16th century France, lavender was used as a protection from infections.
In the 16th century after King Henry the 8th got rid of the monasteries, lavender became a popular plant grown at the manor houses. Ladies of the manors made their own scented waters, beeswax furniture polish, gifts and scented bags. Lavender was associated with cleanliness.
The history of lavender in the 17th century was lavender as a cure all. They used it for headaches, nerves, insect bites, mad dogs and snake bites.
Lavender had the reputation of being a miracle plant during the 19th century. It was the most important remedy in the first aid kits for anyone in the provence.It was used for everything from dizziness, nerves, stomach problems, poor vision, infections, convulsions, viper's bites, swooning fits, and palsy.
In the First World War lavender was used as a antiseptic.
They would have dogs sleep on a bed with lavender to rid it of fleas. I would think that this worked for the people as well.
Lavender was important to the shepherds in the fields. It was used to disinfect wounds, sores and even the umbilical cords of lambs.
To get rid of head lice, lavender oil was applied to the scalp for 20 minutes before rinsing.
Lavender was used for insect bites, burns and to accelerate healing.Lavender oil was rubbed on the chest for colds and bronchitis at night. Sometimes it was mixed with thyme and inhaled. Both lavender and thyme is known today to be good against bacteria.
The elderly used to mix it with a carrier oil and rub it on painful joints.
To cure headaches, litle bags of lavender was worn around the neck. A nobleman had a red silk bag, and a commoner used a muslin bag. This was also to ward off diseases.
Lavender oil and burn treatment have a long history. A French chemist Rene Maurice Gattefosse in the early 1900 was working in his lab and burned his hand severely. He then stuck his hand in a nearby container of lavender oil. He discovered his hand not only stopped hurting, it healed faster and didn't scar.
Science is now looking at lavender in cancer treatments. Studies have shown it to reduce the size of breast cancer in mice.
More information here: http://www.joys-of-lavender.com/history-of-lavender.html
Don Gagnon for bringing this subject to my attention.
Images By Keith H. Burgess (copyright)