Literature has always fascinated me. It’s one of my favorite mediums because it requires more of the consumer’s imagination than other forms of art. In the traditional form of literature you only get printed words with no audio or visual assistance to help paint the picture, so to speak. It’s up to the reader to comprehend the meaning and to build the backdrop of the story in their mind. Literature allows the reader to become part of the author’s creative process.
Having received my undergraduate degree in the subject, I often find myself in a rabbit hole focused on words, their usage, their meanings, and their authors. Recently I went on a search for the use of lavender in literature to see how playwrights and poets have talked about the flower in their works. I discovered a quote from the play, ‘A Beggar on Horseback’, written by John O’Keefe in 1798. Full disclosure, I’ve never seen or read the play. I only saw this one excerpt out of context that resonated with me.
‘My dear, have some lavender, or you'd best have a thimble full of wine, your spirits are quite down, my sweeting', O’Keefe writes.
When I read this my imagination took a trip to fill in the gaps of the situation surrounding the characters involved in this scene. I wondered about the character in low spirits and how the speaker noticed their physical state. I wondered about the speaker’s personal experience. What had they gone through that prompted them to make this suggestion? What situations had lavender pulled them out of concerning their poor spirit? I also thought about the equivalency to wine. As an avid wine drinker I’m partial to having a glass to improve my mental circumstance. Then I thought about situations in my own life when my spirits were down and I had a “thimble” of wine or some other substance to help me reset, but honestly I’d never thought about using lavender.
After my thoughts rambled for a little longer I searched for the benefits of lavender. The first listed benefits are that it creates calm and lifts moods. Further research by the Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience suggests essential oils, including lavender, have neuroprotective potentials.
There we have it! The next time you need a little self-care, you can pop open a bottle of wine to calm your nerves, read something that mentions lavender like Shakespeare’s ‘Winter’s Tale’ or Miguel De Cervantes’s ‘Don Quixote’, and/or you can preemptively order some lavender essentials from ADORAtherapy to boost your mood!