The ancient Greeks called lavender nardus and it was commonly called nard. In the Bible it is also referred to as spikenard, which was its Greek name.
Lavender flowers are thought to represent purity, silence, devotion, serenity, grace and calmness. In addition, its purple colour also comes with great symbolism - purple is the colour of royalty, and triggers thoughts of elegance and luxury.
Lavender oil, obtained through a distillation process, has disinfecting, antiseptic, and anti-inflammatory properties. It is also used for internal medical conditions such as indigestion, headaches and migraines.
As a member of the mint family, lavender has been used for centuries in the preparation of food, giving floral and slightly sweet flavours to salads, soups, meat and seafood dishes, desserts, cheeses, baked goods and confectionery.
There are a number of references in the Bible:
Song of Solomon 1:12
“While the king was on his couch, my nard gave forth its fragrance.”
“While he was at Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, as he sat at the table, a woman came with an alabaster jar of very costly ointment of nard, and she broke open the jar and poured the ointment on his head.”
“Mary took a pound of costly perfume made of pure nard, anointed Jesus’ feet, and wiped them with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.
”Song of Solomon 4:13
“Your channel is an orchard of pomegranates with all choicest fruits, henna with nard.”
Song of Solomon 4:14
“Nard and saffron, calamus and cinnamon, with all trees of frankincense, myrrh and aloes, with all chief spices.”