Allspice – Christopher Columbus discovered Allspice in the Caribbean. Although he was seeking pepper, he had never actually seen real pepper and he thought Allspice was it. He brought it back to Spain, where it got the name “pimienta,” which is Spanish for pepper. Its Anglicized name, pimento, is occasionally used in the spice trade today. Before World War II, Allspice was more widely used than it is nowadays. During the war, many trees producing Allspice were cut, and production never fully recovered. Folklore suggests that allspice provides the symbolic meaning: compassion.
Angelica – Folklore states that this plant was a gift to mankind from the Archangel Michael. However, it’s use predates Christian lore. The most emphatic of the stories told has to do with the Archangel Michael appearing to a monk in the 14th century. Michael informed the monk of the healing properties of the plant and it’s usefulness in preventing the plague. It is stated that this information was put to use and saved many lives. It’s botanical symbolism reflects this duality: divine inspiration and protection.
Aster – From the Greek word “star,” asters are part of the story of the goddess Virgo. Virgo is often depicted with wings, reminiscent of an angel, holding an ear of wheat in her left hand. She is often the impartial observer in a moral tale depicting “mankind’s declining standards.” In her compassion for mortals she scattered stardust on the earth and asters sprang up from her tears. Another story comes from the goddess Astraea – virgin daughter of Zeus and Timos: The flowers sprang from the tears she wept because there were no stars on earth as she gazed down upon it. Asters also play a part in the story of Theseus and the minotaur. Theseus had promised his father, King Aegeus, that on his return from Crete he would hoist white sails to signal his father that he was alive. Theseus forgot to do this one small act and his father upon seeing the black sails killed himself in despair. Purple asters sprang from the ground where Aegeus fell to the ground bleeding. From Germany, France and England this little flower was known as the “eye of Christ” and is believed to carry magical powers and thus drive away evil spirits. It was renamed “Michalmass Daisy” because it bloomed on the feast day of St. Michael. From the Greek word “star” it is associated with love and daintiness and “tiny beginnings from which all great things proceed.” The Victorian meaning stems from these many different legends of this flower and so it carries a meaning of variety, love, and thoughtfulness. But most of all, it has a connotation that “tiny beginnings are from which all great things proceed.”
Cedar – This aromatic wood has held sacred symbolism for many religious traditions. Because it was considered indestructible, it was used in the construction of temples, boxes to hold relics, carved totems, and columns in sacred spaces and coffins. It is even reported to have been the material that was used in the construction of the Ark of the Covenant. Cedar in Victorian folklore, stands for “strength, integrity, healing and cleansing.”
Chamomile – This herb was used as a medicine for many different ailments, but it is best know for its calming effects and its ability to dispel fatigue. According to legend, chamomile was one of the sacred herbs of the Saxon God Woden. The Egyptians dedicated this herb to Ra, the Sun God, because of its golden center and ability to cure chills. It was also a strewing herb in medieval times to freshen the air. In Victorian tradition, chamomile means energy in adversity, calm and peace.
Chrysanthemum – This is a very old species that dates back thousands of years. The word itself comes from the Greek words that mean “golden flower”. There are many legends and stories that make up the background for this flower:
According to Ancient Chinese legend, 3000 years ago an emperor was told that Dragonfly Island (The island of Japan- see below) grew a magic herb that would restore his youth. The story of this herb said that only the young could collect it! He decided to send one dozen youths and maidens to the island. Their trip there was arduous. They survived perilous storms and attacks by sea serpents. But when they got to the island, they found neither magic herb or inhabitants . Because the journey there had been so difficult, they decided to stay. They only thing of value they brought with them was a golden chrysanthemum, and so they began to grow and nurture it there.
The chrysanthemum was originally mentioned by Confucius in his writings in about 580 B.C. Later a Chinese botanist, T’ao Yuan Ming was able to create amazing varieties of this flower. When he died, his birthplace Chuhsen was renamed “The City of Chrysanthemums.” Chrysanthemums were one of four “noble plants” and were only allowed to be grown by nobility in their gardens. In Chinese culture, chrysanthemums symbolize happiness and optimism.
Japan also has its legends about this flower. The story goes that there were so many gods in heaven that some were sent to earth over a cloud bridge. This included the goddess Izanami and the god Izanagi. Once on earth the goddess created the gods of wind, mountains, and sea. When she created the god of fire, she herself was consumed in flames. Izanagi missed her so terribly he tried to follow her in to what the Japanese call the place of Black Night. Izanami would not allow him to even look at her because she had been so badly disfigured. He felt defiled in his travels there and narrowly escaped back to the earth. He went straight to the river for a purification bath. As he shed his clothes and they touched the ground they turned into twelve gods. His jewels became flowers -an iris , a lotus, and from his necklace a golden chrysanthemum. The Japanese revere the chrysanthemum. It is the imperial crest and throne. To their culture, it is said to symbolize perfection, happiness and the sun.
In Germany there is a story about a cold and snowy Christmas Eve. In the Black Forest, a peasant family was sitting down to a meager supper when they heard a wailing. At first they thought it was the wind. But when they opened the door it was a beggar. They ushered him in to their warm little house, wrapped him in blankets, and shared their meal with him. Instantly, the blankets were shed and revealed a man in shining white clothing with a halo around his head. He proclaimed that he was the Christ child and fled. The next morning outside the door where he had stood, were two white chrysanthemums. To this day, Germans follow the tradition of bringing white chrysanthemums into their homes on Christmas Eve. In our botanical messages we use white chrysanthemum and it’s symbolic meaning is truth and optimism.
Cinnamon – This very aromatic spice has a long and rich history. It’s origins were highy guarded by the Arab traders. It was used as currency and a mark of status. Wars were waged over the control of its supply. Pliny the Elder wrote that 350 grams of cinnamon is equal to 5 kilograms of silver. In one story, when Alexander the Great came across an Arab trade ship he followed it for days, to learn the location of its supply. Emperor Nero used 1 year’s supply of cinnamon to be burned as incense when his wife died. Sacred to Dionysis, the Greek God of Ecstasy. In Christian tradition and art it was used as a symbol of resurrection and immortality. It has a high spiritual vibration and has been used to define sacred spaces in incense form. In Victorian folklore it meant “good fortune, spirituality, success, healing, love and power.”
Corn Flower ( Also known as Batchelor Button) – Dating back to the 4th millennium in the historical record of Egypt, this flower has associations and symbolism for rebirth and healing. First noted as grave decoration in Egyptian tombs, it was also used extensively in fresco decor. All parts of this plant were used for medicine throughout the European arena. It is also noted in the myth of the centaur Chiron and his student Achilles. According to Greek myth, Achilles was wounded with a poisoned arrow (by Herakles), and his wound was healed by applying cornflower plants. Usually in Greek mythology, Hydra is imagined as a huge poisonous water snake, but at that time interpreted as a giant slug. Christian lore suggests that slugs were associated with the devil, hence the remedy, cornflower, became a symbol of the Queen of Heaven, Mary, and Christ. It is depicted extensively in illuminated manuscripts and in paintings which use symbolism of the time. Cornflower has also had symbolic connotations in political arenas particularly in regard to Germany and a story about Napoleon’s pursuit of Queen Louisa of Prussia. In this account .Queen Lousia hid her children in a field of cornflowers and kept them quiet by weaving wreaths for them from the flowers. The symbolism while coming from disparate mythologies and stories, centers around protection that allows beauty, prosperity and abundance to flow.
Dandelion – Dandelions are a member of the sunflower family. Their meaning is interwoven into the literary record that we still pass down today. Blowing a seeded head of a dandelion is about sending our wishes and dreams into the universe so that they can come true. They have been used as bubble blowers because of their hollow stems and children pull the petals off the flower with the litany “Loves me, Loves me not.” From the cartoon OPUS to Ray Bradbury and Thoreau and Chaucer, dandelions have been used to create a rich context for storytelling. European settlers brought seeds of dandelion with them to the new world. They provided both medicinal and food value. The Dutch thought eating dandelion salad on Maundy Tuesday would keep you healthy all year. And the French considered it a symbol of wisdom. In Victorian folklore dandelions mean “wishes come true” and was thought to be a “rustic oracle” of prediction.
Delphinium (Larkspur) – Comes from the Greek word “Delphi” meaning dolphin. Larkspur originated, according to legend during the Battle of Troy. Achilles’ mother requested that her son’s armor be given to the most heroic Greek warrior. The armor was given to Ulysses, although the brave Ajax expected to be chosen. Because of his rejection, Ajax killed himself. The small blue larkspur began to grow where the blood of Ajax was spilled. In Victorian flower language it means “sweetness and levity.”
Fennel – The Emperor Charlemagne introduced fennel to central Europe. It was also found in Greek mythology in the legend of Prometheus. Romans ate fennel to reduce obesity. The Roman writer Pliny believed it was a cure for many complaints including improving eyesight. In Medieval times, it was hung over the doorway on Midsummer’ s Eve to keep away evil spirits. Its emblematic meaning is “strength, courage and longevity.”
Frankincense – Used from ancient times as incense in sacred rituals, this resin from trees of the genus Boswellia grown in Somalia. The incense was burned in order to purify surroundings and act as a bridge to higher consciousness and the divine. From the Jewish faith, it is one of four scents that make up ceremonial incense. From Islam, it said to be the “Healthy hand of Allah.” Egyptians burned it and used it as Kohl and perfume. They also used it for embalming purposes. It has also been found in Egyptian tombs. Evidence has also been found of its use in temples in Ancient Persia, Babylon and Azzize. From Christian tradition, it is one of the gifts brought by the Magi to give to the baby Jesus. Through its use there is a common theme: when burned it purifies the surrounding area and carries prayers to heaven; when used as an aromatic it banishes negative influences that impede spiritual growth and thus opens the mind to divine connection.
Iris – Named for the Greek Goddess who was a messenger of Mt. Olympus. The goddess Iris carried the messages of heaven to earth on the arc of a rainbow. The Egyptians also revered the iris as a symbol of power and majesty. It was inscribed on the brow of the Sphinx and found in the temple of Tutmose (1479 B.C.) The Catholic Church adopted the iris as an emblem of the Virgin Mary – it’s three petals representing the Holy Trinity. It is interesting that this flower – no matter what the story is always associated with royalty and faith. But by far the most romanticized account comes down to us from the historical records of the French Merovingian Dynasty (465-511 A.D.) This is the story of Clovis the 1st. Clovis was engaged in a battle to protect his empire from the Gauls. It was not going well. His army was backed up against the river Seine and they could not cross it safely to get to high ground. On his horse, in full battle regalia he started to explore the river. He prayed to God to grant his request and promised he would convert to Catholicism and lead his people to do the same – if only he could find a way across, A short time after this he saw a golden iris growing in the middle of the river channel. The sign showed him where to cross the river and gain the advantage to defeat his enemies. He won the day and kept his promise to God. From that moment forward the iris or fleur-de-lis became the symbol of French kings and an emblem of “faith, wisdom, valor and hope.”
Green Wheat – For the Greeks, wheat was a symbol of Demeter – the original earth mother – goddess of harvest and fertility. Virgo is also associated with wheat in depictions she is shown holding two sheaves of wheat in her hand. The Egyptians associated wheat with the resurrection of Osirus. Sheaves of wheat motifs in Christian churches signify Christ’s body and also his rebirth. The Victorian tradition states its meaning as wealth and abundance. It can refer to monetary wealth but it also means riches of heart and home.
Lavender – According to Christian legend, lavender received its scent from the infant Jesus. Mary had washed his swaddling clothes, she hung them to dry on a silvery lavender bush and “ever since the scent of heaven lingered.” But long before Jesus was on the scene, Romans and Greeks used it to scent their homes, baths and linens. It was often used to scent Roman baths and had the ability to renew the spirit and body. The name itself comes from the Latin “to wash.” From Christian, Greek and Roman legend and writings, this aromatic is associated with bringing the Holy Spirit or the spirit of the divine into one’s presence. Lavender in Victorian times was known to symbolize “distrust” – perhaps because it was sometimes used to mask bad odors. However, every flower and herb has an opposite or “Yin and Yang” and lavender within the context of our botanicals is more related to reinforcement of the spirit and its realized potential.
Honeysuckle – This vine’s flowers sweet scent and demeanor of curling in a clockwise fashion have made it a favorite of poetry and prose. Shakespeare, Freneau, and Spenser all used its symbolism and imagery in their works. In the flower calendar it represents June – the month dedicated to love and marriage. It is most associated with the meaning of “devoted affection, generosity, and the bonds of love.” Depending on the context it can refer to parental love or marital love.
Lemon Balm – Romans used Lemon Balm to revive the spirit in teas and ointments. It was brought to England by the Romans and was quickly assimilated into English culture as a way to cure depression. As far back as 1696, the London Dispensary claimed that “Balm given every morning will renew youth, strengthen the brain and relieve a languishing nature.” The scent of lemon and its energetic properties are life sustaining and thus its Victorian meaning “long life, zest for life and vitality.”
Marigold (Calendula) – According to legend, poor people who had no money to bring for an offering for the church would make a bouquet of these flowers to bring instead. This gave it the name “Mary’s Gold.” This flower has a long history of medicinal use. It was used in the American Civil War to bind wounds. In Victorian flower language it means respect and admiration.
Marjoram – Legend says that Aphrodite created this herb as a symbol of happiness. Married couples wore garlands of it to ensure a happy marriage. It was also used as a strewing herb in Medieval times and used as protection against the plague. Often small bouquets were carried when people were out and about and in enclosed areas. This was the herb used to sprinkle holy water and was known as “ezob” in the Bible. In Victorian lore marjoram is the sign of a light heart, joy and happiness.
Mixed Rose Petals – When Roman generals paraded in the streets of Rome to celebrate their conquest, mixed rose petals were used as confetti to bestow adulation. In Victorian folklore a mixed rose petal bouquet is a symbol of celebration. Many symbols of virtue are represented: love, affection, joy, beauty, courage, respect, spiritual love, grace, gratitude, friendship…..
Myrrh – In ancient history myrrh was worth more than gold. The ancient Egyptians used myrrh as an ingredient in their embalming mixtures to preserve bodies in the mummification process. They also used myrrh as a treatment for wounds. The ancient Greeks attributed myrrh’s teardrop shape to Myrrha, the daughter of the Syrian King Thesis. In this mythology, Myrrha refused to worship the goddess Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love. Aphrodite was angered by Myrrha’s blasphemy and tricked Myrrha into committing incest with her father. Thesis realized what he had done and threatened to kill his daughter. The Gods decided to transform Myrrha into the Myrrh tree to save her. The tear drop resin is said to symbolize Myrrha’s sorrow. Another classical myth concerning myrrh was of the Mother Nutmeg – Originating from Indonesia, Myrista fragrans is an evergreen tree which produces two different spices: nutmeg and mace. The Dutch waged war and enslaved the inhabitants of the island of Banda to control its production. Before this, Pliny describes it in his book of medicine. Arab traders brought nutmeg to the Roman Empire for sale – less than a kilogram was traded for one cow or a sheep. Eventually, The Dutch East India Company lost its control of the seedlings and it was then produced in Sri Lanka, India and the West Indies(Granada). Symbolic Meaning; good luck, fertility, money of Adonis being changed into myrrh. Myrrh was used by the Greeks on the battlefield to promote the healing of wounds. Myrrh was also the principal ingredient in “megaleion”, an ancient Greek perfume. The ancient Greeks also used myrrh as an antidote to poison. This belief that stemmed from the Greek’s concerning myrrh’s protective properties against poison grew; by the middle ages the use of myrrh was employed to treat infectious disease on the basis of this early belief. It is also know as one of the sacred gifts brought to the baby Jesus by the Magi. Symbolic meaning: gladness & joy.
Nutmeg – Originating from Indonesia, Myrista fragrans is an evergreen tree which produces two different spices: nutmeg and mace. The Dutch waged war and enslaved the inhabitants of the island of Banda to control its production.. Before this, Pliny describes it in his book of medicine. Arab traders brought nutmeg to the Roman Empire for sale – less than a kilogram was traded for one cow or a sheep. Eventually, The Dutch East India Company lost its control of the seedlings and it was then produced in Sri Lanka, India and the West Indies( Granada). Hildegard von Bingen – the 10th century Christian mystic and Benedictine nun recommended these cookies to soothe the mind: “The nutmeg has a great warmth and a good mixture in its powers. When a human being eats nutmeg it opens his heart, and his sense is pure, and it puts him a good state of mind. Take nutmeg and (in the same amount) cinnamon and some cloves and grind them up. And then, from this powder and some water, make flour – and roll out some little tarts. Eat these often and it will lower the bitterness of your heart and your mind and open your heart and your numbed senses. It will make your spirit happy, purify and cleanse your mind, lower all bad fluids in you, give your blood a good tonic, and make you strong. (Hildegard von Bingen, Physica, I, 21).Symbolic Meaning; good luck, fertility, money.
Parsley – This herb has been documented in cultivation since the 3rd century B.C. Greeks connected it to Persephone and the underworld. Tombs were decorated with it. It was also used for victorious winners of sporting events. In baths it was used for purification and it was thought to keep misfortune away. In Victorian folklore it represents “festivity and celebration.”
Pansey – A variety of violet, the name for this flower comes from the French word “pensee” which means thoughts. It was used during Victorian times to symbolize thoughtful consideration of lovers and the intuitive connection between lovers. Later is became a symbol of “free thought” during cultural upheavals when new thinking was repressed. Botanical symbolism: thoughtfulness
Passion Flower – Priests who arrived in the New World to spread the gospel and convert the natives, first encountered this vine and its beautiful complex flower. They used it as a teaching tool and compared the parts of the flower to the divine passion of Christ. When specimens reached England and Europe it evolved into a common symbol of religious art and architectural design, especially in stained glass windows. Queen Victoria sent a wreath of passion flower to decorate Abraham Lincoln’s final resting place and from her intent we have the symbolism: “faith in self and others.”
Peppermint – Mint in all its varieties is named after the Greek water nymph, Minthe. She was changed into the herb by the jealous goddess Proserpinna when Pluto cast lustful looks her way. In Christian tradition, mint was dedicated to the Virgin Mary. In Victorian tradition it is a symbol of “virtue and warmth of feeling.”
Pine cone – In addition to spiritual consciousness and enlightenment, pinecones have also historically been used as symbols of everlasting or eternal life. Conifer Pine Trees are one of the most ancient plant species on the planet, having existed nearly three times longer than all flowering plant species. The Pinecone is the evolutionary precursor to the flower, and its spines spiral in a perfect Fibonacci sequence in either direction, much like the sacred geometry of a rose or a sunflower. Throughout the span of recorded human history, Pinecones have served as a symbolic representation of Human Enlightenment, the Third Eye and the Pineal Gland. Across cultures and religions. pinecones are revered in sacred art and symbolism. Hindu deities are drawn holding pinecones; Ancient Assyrian palaces have carvings which depict winged figures holding pinecone’s aloft; Greek and Roman mythology also incorporates pinecones into the stories of Dionysis. Today, when you enter the courtyard of the Vatican, a 12 ft tall sculpture of a pinecone is the first thing you see.. It is believed that this statue was taken from the temple of Isis and where it served as a large fountain which overflowed with water. In Catholic tradition pinecones figure prominently. A pinecone tops the sacred staff of the Pope – a reference to the “Holy See” or the symbolism of divine illumination and the ” third eye”. Symbolic Meaning: everlasting life, enlightenment.
Pink Rose Buds and Petals – Of all flowers, the rose moves through folkloric histories in all eras and cultures. The common emblematic themes are “love, hope and beauty.” Documentation exists from the Shen Nung Dynasty (2737-2697 B.C) in China, that the rose was a revered floral for its beauty and symbolism. Confucius is said to have cultivated roses in his garden. Kings Midas and Nebuchadnezzar II decorated their palaces with them and 4000 year old mosaics on the island of Crete document their decorative uses from these eras. Wreaths of roses have been found in the tombs of Egyptian royalty. Greek Myth claims that the rose was born of the blood of Adonis. Roman mythology claims Cupid spilled a cup of nectar on the way to Mt. Olympus and roses sprang from the spilled droplets. Norse Mythology assigns the rose to Freya – the goddess of love. Hindu mythology is storied with the birth of the goddess Lakshmi, from a rose. And in Islamic tradition – a white rose is said to have sprung from from the sweat of Mohammed on his journey to heaven and then was stained red from his blood. Both England and America have roses as their national emblems. The Victorians assigned meanings to colors and types of roses and even combinations of roses. All pink roses designate love between friends and siblings. The emotional support and shared experience in this context radiates grace, happiness and beauty in all of its forms.
Potentilla – The symbolic meaning of this botanical comes from the five fingered leaf and yellow blossom. In Christian symbolism the leaf represents “the hand of Mary” and the yellow blossom “Christ.” This is a reference to Mary who cared for Christ with her graceful hands in life and death. It emblematically translates into “beloved child.” From the time of Hippocrates, it has been used as a powerful cure-all but in particular in the care of wounds. In fact, its scientific name means “little powerful one.”
Statice – Commonly known as “Sea Lavender,” its Greek meaning is “meadow flower.” Because of its everlasting calyx it has a connotation of “remembrance.” However, its ability to thrive in somewhat difficult conditions has also given the flower the emblematical connotation of “success and perseverance.” The color most used in our blessing bottles is indigo blue and carries the additional meaning of “integrity.”
Star Anise – Star Anise is a member of the magnolia family and can be found growing on an evergreen tree (Illicium Verum) that normally grow only in China and surrounding areas. In ancient times, Greeks, including Hippocrates, prescribed it for coughs. Ancient Romans used Anise in a special cake that concluded their enormous feasts. Historically, the herb was used because of its flavor (licorice flavor), as an aid for digestion, as an aphrodisiac, for colic and to combat nausea. Ancient Chinese physicians used the herb as a digestive aid, flatulence remedy, and breath freshener. In Biblical times, aniseed was used as a tithe and was cultivated by the Egyptians, Greeks and Romans. Early English herbalists recommended the herb for hiccups, for promoting milk production for nursing mothers, for treatment of water retention, headache, asthma. Bronchitis, insomnia, nausea, lice, infant colic, cholera, and even cancer. In Virgil’s time, Anise was used as a spice. Mustacae, a spiced cake of the Romans introduced at the end of a rich meal, to prevent indigestion, consisted of meal, with Anise, Cummin and other aromatics. Such a cake was sometimes brought in at the end of a marriage feast, and is, perhaps, the origin of our spiced wedding cake. This might relate to how It is said that the star anise is carried whole for luck and it is burnt for clairvoyance and to increase psychic awareness. Symbolic meaning: luck, clairvoyance, spiritual centering.
Sunflower – Legend tells us that the Greek God Helios ( His Roman name was Apollo and – the twin of Artemis; the son on Zeus and Leto) was drowned by his uncles the Titans. In remorse Helios was raised to the sky to become the sun. Clytie was a mortal who loved Helios so much she sat rooted and followed his daily journey across the sky. However, he did not return her love and in her grief she transformed into a sunflower that always turns to face the sun. From this story a sunflower’s symbolic meaning is constancy and loyalty. The painter Vincent Van Gogh believed that sunflowers represented the spectrum of life and how all human being are tied together. He was so enamored with this idea, he painted a whole series of them! The Chinese hold sunflowers as a symbol of longevity. Incan priestesses wore ceremonial sunflower discs. They were also sacred to the Plains Indians . They honored their dead with bowls of sunflower seeds to nourish them on their journey to their “Happy hunting grounds”. Symbolic Meaning – Adoration, constancy, loyalty
Red Clover – This botanical was cultivated by both Romans and Greeks. In ancient times a picture of a child holding a bunch of clover out in front of them and standing on tiptoe represented hope. To “live in clover” is to live luxuriously. It represents industry because of its close association with bees and its ability to rehabilitate fields to replace nutrients that had been depleted from other crops. In the Victorian flower language its meaning is derived from this primary use. It means “Industry and foresight.”
Thyme – The folkloric history of this herb and its symbolism more than likely came from ancient Greece. A tradition recorded by Pliny (Roman soldier and writer 23-79 B.C.) and other historians of the time related how soldiers would take a bath scented with Thyme to invigorate their “courage and resolve.” In medieval times knight’s ladies would embroider thyme leaves onto their scarves. These were then given to knights before their tournaments as a “call to action.”
Violet –This flower is revered in many cultural legends from Greek, Welsh, French, Persian, Christian and Muslin traditions. In the mythology of Pluto and Persephone, it was one of the flowers she was gathering when she was abducted and taken into the underworld. Monks in the middle ages called the violet “the Herb of the Holy Trinity”. It is also told that when the archangel Michael came to Mary to announce that she would was with child god that violets bloomed at her feet. A wonderful story comes to us from the life of Napoleon Bonaparte and his Josephine. Before his exile in 1814. he was granted permission to visit Josephine’ s tomb. He stopped at Chateau de Malmaison and gathered violets to honor her. At his death, a locket was found in his possession with a small portrait of Josephine, a lock of her hair, and violets. European lore also calls this flower heartsease often an infusion of the flowers was made and given in order to heal a broken heart. It has come to symbolize faithfulness, humility and good luck
Yarrow -History suggests that this herb has been used by mankind for almost 60,000 years. Achillea millefolium is a common wildflower in the United States. .It’s scientific name relates back to it’s association with Achilles. If you remember, Achilles was the son of the goddess Thetis and a mortal King Peleus. He was a great warrior who fought in the battle of Troy. The legend tells us that Chiron, who was a centaur and held the wisdom and teaching of plants, taught Achilles the virtues of yarrow. During the battle of Troy, Telephus the son in law of the King of Troyas wounded by Achilles. The wound became infected. Out of fear Telephus promised to lead Achilles to Troy, if he would heal the wound. Upon hearing this Achilles scraped rust of his spear onto the ground. Where the filings fell, yarrow grew. Achilles then took the yarrow made a poultice and cured the wound. Due to this legend, yarrow symbolizes healing. This is reinforced by other names for yarrow: the English call yarrow- “All Heal”; Native American call it “life medicine”; in France it is known as “Carpenter’s Weed”. This name actually come from Christian tradition and has connections to Joseph, because he was a carpenter. Research has shown that yarrow has 120 active compounds. Curiously, it contains both achilleine – a haemostatic agent which can promote clotting and coumadin which promotes blood flow. The Pharmacopeia of the United States from 1836 -1882 listed yarrow as an official drug for use as a stimulant and to promote menstrual flow . Chinese tradition states that yarrow brightens the eyes and promotes intelligence. The I, Ching has a ritual which used yarrow to predict the future. Symbolic meaning: Healing and comfort.