The trembing did begin to ease within a minute or two, and Jamie opened his eyes with a sigh.
“I’m all right,” he said. “Claire, I’m all right, now. But for God’s sake, get rid of that stink!”
It was only then that I consciously noticed the scent in the room – a light, spicy floral smell, so common a perfume that I had thought nothing of it. Lavender. A scent for soaps and toilet waters. I had last smelled it in the dungeons of Wentworth Prison, where it anointed the linen or the person of Captain Jonathan Randall.
Outlander, Chapter 38, The Abbey
Some of the most profound scenes in the Outlander book and television series can be associated with lavender. Black Jack Randall was a character centered in each of these scenes. He was a character that was brilliantly portrayed by Tobias Menzies. He described Black Jack Randall as “someone with absolute self-belief, arrogance, and feeling of indestructibility.” These attributes were painfully seen in the episodes at Wentworth prison. The use of lavender left such a permanent emotional memory for Jamie that it was difficult to read, let alone watch.
Claire is so admirable for her will, clear determination, and use of practical medical skills. Diana Gabaldon’s portrayal of her ability to take a wholistic approach to healing was captivating to me, especially in regards to her ability to begin to heal the external and internal wounds of Jamie. Claire’s use and knowledge of herbal properties for medicinal purposes inspired me to look at the historical and modern day uses of herbs, specifically lavender.
Lavender is reported to have many valuable properties, that when used proactively, can aid relaxation, reduce pain, and facilitate emotional calmness.
The medicinal use of lavender throughout history has maintained these primary principles. In the 16th and 17th centuries, lavender was used to signify cleanliness. It was used to off-set the stark smell of soap, placed throughout homes to deter insects, and was even identified as a reliable protection against infection.
In the 18th century, lavender was also identified as a natural aphrodisiac. Perhaps Black Jack Randall recognized this primary property…
As I walk through Pike Place Market in Seattle, Washington, I am reminded of the variety of applications in which lavender continues to be used. Many of the market stalls have lavender in the forms of drawer sachets, pillows, teas, or essential oils. It is even prepared for culinary purposes, such as honey, sugar, and other cooking additives. Lavender continues to be a herb that transends time.
My preferred use for lavender is to incorporate it into my baking. There is a delicious recipe that can be found in the Outlander Kitchen Cookbook. When I saw “Black Jack Randall’s Chocolate Lavender Fudge” (page 258), I was immediately intrigued. My daughter and I tried and tasted this recipe. Once again, we found a delightful dessert that we can not wait to share with our family and friends. Take a look at our experience here. Luckily for us, there are much better uses for lavender than what Black Jack employed!
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