The Folklore Behind Five of Our Favorite Fragrances

Folklore may come with a heavy dose of embellishment, but look at any mythic story and you’ll find it’s rooted in truth. For many of the plants and natural ingredients used in Baudelaire products, there are stories—ancient, fascinating, and inviting.

You could uncover compelling tales about any number of them, but these are a few of our favorites…

Vervain

The name “Vervain” is derived from the Celtic language and translates literally to “to drive away a stone.” It got this moniker for being commonly known as a reliable treatment for kidney stones back in the day.

In fact, this “magical” plant was once at the core of many cultures’ healing rituals, kept at the ready to manage everything from migraines to muscle pains. It’s even known as the “herb of the cross” in Christian lore because legend says it was used to treat Christ’s wounds on the cross.

The plant’s sweet, tiny flowers are both incredibly beautiful and powerful, which is no wonder, given the its bright, citrusy scent and uplifting essence.

Linden

The Linden tree, with its beautiful, heart-shaped leaves, offers shade in summer and spectacular foliage in autumn. This is perhaps why the tree has long been revered in European lore as a symbol of safety and peace, repelling bad spirits.

In Germany specifically, the tree stands for truth and justice. Entwined with the mythological figure, Freyja, it’s said that a person cannot lie while standing under a Linden tree. For that reason, many have tied the knot beneath its boughs.

The tree’s sweeping branches are the stuff of poetry…literally. Don’t be surprised to find this tree’s name pop up in writings from across the centuries.

Vetiver

With an intoxicating fragrance, vetiver’s earthy fragrance aligns perfectly with the natural, wild look of the grassy plant. Throughout history, it has been used across the globe to help balance energies, in some cases offering a calming effect to assuage anger and in others, even being called upon to communicate with otherworldly creatures.

It’s known as the “Oil of Tranquility” in India and Sri Lanka and appears in the Bhagavad Gita when Lord Krishna says, “I am the fragrance of the soil.” Treated as a representation of nature’s beauty in everything, the plant’s oils remain a favorite amongst energy workers to this day.

Olive Oil

This ancient staple has been woven into history in countless traditions and tales. But supposedly its roots can be traced back to a bet between Athena and Poseidon. To win the Greek city of Athens, the gods were challenged to conjure up the most useful gift for its people.

Calling on the gifts of his home, the sea, Poseidon offered a salt spring, and Athena presented an olive tree. According to legend, the tree thrived for ages until being burned by the Persians, but it regenerated the same day.

Used to anoint Olympic athletes, purify sacrificial offerings, and honor kings throughout the centuries, olive oil remains a treasure often considered more valuable than the finest wine.

Honey

Honey, known as the nectar of the Gods, is blended deep into mythology, alongside its maker, the honeybee. The Greeks believed if a bee brushed the lips of a babe, he or she would grow up to become a revered poet or speaker. And the Celts treated bees as messengers between our world and the next.

From ancient Egyptian glyphs to children’s stories, like Winnie the Pooh, honey is an ever-present ingredient when it comes to healing, soothing, and of course, sweetening life on Earth. Though humans have experimented with thousands of ways to use the glorious, sticky substance, bees have been making it the same way for more than 150 million years and gifting us with its heavenly properties.