Lavender

i.e., English Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) In Welsh folklore, it is lucky to wear a sprig of lavender blossoms, which had the capability of bewildering witches and evil spirits (Trevelyan). It was scattered over rushes, with rosemary, on Cheshire farmhouse floors on May Day (Hole. 1937), just as, in Spain and Portugal, it was strewn on the floors of churches and houses on feast days, and to make bonfires on St John's Day. In Tuscany, it was used to counter the effect of the evil eye on little cbildren (Dyer. 1889). Carry lavender, and you will have the ability to see ghosts (Boland. 1977). The Welsh said it quickened the wits of dull-minded people, and cleared the brains of poets and preachers (Trevelyan). As with sage and rosemary, lavender is a plant that shows that "the mistress is master" if it flourishes (Briggs. 1974).

There was once a belief that adders lived in lavender, (but see Cogan, Haven of Health). "The settting of lavender within the house in floure pots must needes be very wholsome, for it driveth away venomouis wormes, both by strewing and by the savour of it ...". He also said that "being drunke in wine it is remedie against poyson" (see Hulme. 1895).

Lavender water "purifies the face" (Trevelyan). Gerard recommended this water "smelt unto, or the temples and forehead bathed therewith, is refreshing to them that have the Catalepsy, a light megrim, and to them that have the falling sicknesse, and that use to swoune much ...". A sprig of lavender worn under the hat would drive away a headache (Leyel. 1937).

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