Throughout Infinite Days, Lenah frequently refers to the symbolism and uses for many different herbs and flowers. She loved them, we were intrigued. Here’s a little more about some of Lenah’s favorites:
There’s rosemary, that’s for remembrance;
Pray you, love, remember.
-OPHELIA, HAMLET, ACT 4, SCENE 5 (Part I, Infinite Days)
“It’s rosemary… It’s a flower you put on your door to protect you. To remind you to stay safe.” (p.107)
Symbolizes: remembrance, affection
Other uses: as a Roman burial rite, often laid on coffins at funerals; worn in a buttonhole to bring luck and improve memory; commonly used in cooking; aromatic when burned; stimulates circulation; antiseptic gargle and mouth wash.
“Lavender, if you are hunted, will protect you from evil forces. It will bless the house of the door it decorates.” (p. 133)
Other uses: aroma therapy; mummification and perfume by ancient Egyptian culture; bathing; insect repellents; Biblical ointment of spikenard (used by Mary to anoint the feet of Jesus); treatments for common ailments such as flatulence, insomnia, bacterial and fungal infections; brewed as a tea for young women hoping to learn the identity of their true love; kept under pillows for romance; placed under the bed of newlyweds for passion.
“Happiness. Right where you are.” (p. 155)
Symbolizes: conquest and victory in battle; charity; patriotism
Other uses: salad vegetable and medicinal herb used by the Incas; flower buds once pickled and served as a substitute for capers; popular in gardening, especially those of King Louis the XIV; grown as a fruit by Thomas Jefferson; a preventative for scurvy.
“Rose in your tea will bring you love.” (p. 154)
Symbolizes: love, remembrance, passion (red), purity (white), happiness (pink), infidelity (yellow)
Other uses: decoration for tables and banquet floors; an aphrodisiac; to combat drunkenness; planted at grave sites, (red for lovers, white for purity of young women); the Church representative of the blood and wounds of Christ; in the making of rosaries; rose essential oil used in cosmetics, medicine and perfumes; an aid for depression; to care for sensitive skin; to combat insomnia.
“Calendula…[m]ore commonly know as marigold…Unbelievable curative properties. Good for bites.” (p. 154-155)
Symbolizes: passion, creativity
Other uses: gifts to the Virgin Mary symbolizing gold for those too poor to give gold; love charms; incorporated into wedding garlands; to encourage prophetic or psychic dreams
Symbolizes: strength, courage
Other uses: antiseptic properties, disinfectant, anti-fungal; incense; preservative for wine and fruit; drank in tea to prevent nightmares; nourish beehives; believed to cure shyness and melancholy due to cheerful scent; added to a bath before battle to boost bravery; flavoring for cheese and liquor; believed to have lined the manger of Jesus, often used in nativity scenes; used in Egyptian embalming; drank in teas to boost courage and bravery before battles; planted on graves in Wales; used in cooking.
“[F]or luck.” (p. 154)
Symbolizes: hope, good fortune, preference, love, youth, beauty, happiness
Other uses: aromatherapy; massage oil; associated with Johnny Appleseed; believed to relieve depression; directly linked to the apple and its symbolism of immortality.
Symbolizes: beginning emotions of love (purple), youthful innocence (white)
Other uses: aromatherapy; early settlers planted lilacs to create beauty in rugged or difficult existences; bouquets; aromatic, spring-blooming garden flowers.