To make perfume to burn:
Take half a pound of Damask Rose-buds, Benjamin [benzoin] 3 ounces beaten to a powder, half a quarter of an ounce of Musk and as much of Ambergris, the like of Civet. Beat all these together in a stone Mortar, then put in an ounce of Sugar, and make it up in Cakes and dry them by the fire."
From Sir Kenelm Digby, Reciepts in Physick and Chirurgery, 1668.
From Thomas Tusser's Five Hundred Points of Good Husbandry:Gerard mentions using meadowsweet aka queen of the meadow as a strewing herb and to 'deck up houses'.
"Strewing Herbs of all sorts:
- Bassell [basil], fine and busht, sowe in May.
- Bawlme [Lemon Balm?], set in Marche
- Camamel [Camomile]
- Costemary [Costmary/Bible Leaf]
- Cowsleps and paggles.
- Daisies of all sorts
- Sweet fennell
- Hop, set in Febru arie.
- Lavender spike
- Lavender cotten [santolina]
- Marjorom, knotted, sow or set, at the spring.
- Peny ryall [Pennyroyal]
- Roses of all sorts, in January and September
- Red myntes [peppermint?]
- Winter savery."
Though this doesn' t count as a scented recipe, it is an herb use
against insects: Hildegarde of Bingen says, "Pound the nigella, and mix
honey with it. Where there are many files, you may streak it on the
way, and the flies on tasting it will sicken and fall dead."
"To prevent damage by moths to clothes:
Take wormwood and rue and boil them in water/and brush your clothes with the same water."
-- from Manuscript Pepys 1047, late 15th century, published as Stere Hit Well, modernized by G.A.J. Hodgett
Jeanne Rose quotes a 'Sweet Water for Perfuming Clothes' which she says is a sixteenth-century recipe:
"To 1 qt. rose water, add the following: 1/2 oz. lavender, 2 oz. orris, 1/2 oz. jasmine flowers, 1 t. musk, a pinch of ambergris and civet, 5 drops of clove oil. Put it all into a glass jar, fasten down the lid, and place it in a sunny window for 10 days. Then strain and set aside the liquid for use."From Bulleins Bulwarke, 1562 (quoted by Jacqueline Heriteau, in Potpourris and other Fragrant Delights):
Three pounds of Rose water, cloves, cinnamon, Sauders [sandalwood], 2 handful of the flowers of Lavender, lette it stand a moneth to still in the sonne, well closed in a glasse; Then destill it in Balneo Marial. It is marvellous pleasant in savour, a water of wondrous swetenes, for the bedde, whereby the whole place, shall have a most pleasaunt scent.From Hugh Platt's Delights for Ladies, 1594 (quoted by Jacqueline Heriteau, in Potpourris and other Fragrant Delights)
To make a special sweet water to perfume clothes in the folding being washed. Take a quart of Damaske-Rose-Water and put it into a glasse, put unto it a handful of Lavender Flowers, two ounces of Orris, a dram of Muske, the weight of four pence of Amber-greece [ambergris], as much Civet, foure drops of Oyle of Clove, stop this close, and set it in the Sunne a fortnight: put one spoonfull of this Water into a bason of common water and put it inot a a glasse and so sprinkle your clothes therewith in your folding: the dregs, left in the bottome (when the water is spent) will make as much more, if you keepe them, and put fresh Rose water to it.
'Take of Orris six ounces, of Damask Rose-leaves as much of Marjerom and sweet Basil of each an ounce, of Cloves two ounces, yellow Sanders [sandalwood] two ounces, of Citron pills seven drams, of Lignum Aloes one ounce, of Benjamin one ounce, of Storax one ounce, of Musk three dram; bruise all these, and put them into a bag of Silk or Linnen, but silk is the best.'
'An Excellent Damask Powder' (from Ram's Little Dodoen, 1606, cited by Jeanne Rose), lists the ingredients: rosepetals, cloves, lignum Rhodium (rosewood?), storax, musk, and civet.
"To Make Muske Soape Take stronge lye made of chalk, and six pounde of stone chalk: iiii, pounde of Deere Suet, and put them in the lye; in an earthen potte, and mingle it well, and kepe it the space of forty daies, and mingle and [styr? fyr?] it, iii, or, iiii times a daye, tyll it be consumed, and that, that remayneth, vii, or, viii, dayes after, then you muste put a quarter of an ounce of Muske, and when you have done so, you must [sty?re] it, and it wyll smell of Musk."
Plain handwashing waters were used at the medieval table, being water with rose or violet petals in it, or an infusion of herbs. Le Menagier de Paris (as edited & translated by Tania Bayard), says:
To make water for washing hands at table: Boil sage, then strain the water and cool it until it is a little more than lukewarm. Or use chamomile, marjoram, or rosemary boiled with orange peel. Bay leaves are also good.Parkinson says, "The ordinary Basill is in a manner wholly spent to make sweet, or washing waters, among other sweet herbes, yet sometimes it is put into nosegays. "
From Hugh Plat (Delights for Ladies):
"Diverse sorts of sweet handwaters made suddenly or extempore with extracted oyles of spices.William Edward Mead, in The English Medieval Feast (1931, reprinted in 1967) gives suggestions for how to offer scented wash waters.
First you shall understand, that whensoever you shall draw any of the Oyles of Cinnamon, Cloves, Mace, Nutmegs or such like, that you shall have also a pottle or a gallon more or lesse, according to the quantity which you draw at once, of excellent sweet washing water for your table; yea some doe keepe the same for their broths, wherein otherwise they should use some of the same kinds of spice.
But if you take three or foure drops only of the oyle of Cloves, Mace, or Nutmegs (for Cinamon oyle is too costly to spend this way) and mingle the same with a pinte of faire water, making agitation of them a pretty while togther in a glasse having a narrow mouth, till they have in some measure incorporated themselves together, you shall find a very pleasing and delightful water to wash with and so you may alwaies furnish yourself of sweet water of severall kinds, before such time as your guests shall be ready to sit downe. I speake not of the oyle of Spike (which will extend very far this way) both because every Gentlewoman doth not like so strong a scent and for that the same is elsewhere already commended by another Author. Yet I must needs acknowledge it to be the cheaper way, for that I assure myself there may be five or six gallons of sweet water made with one ounce of the oyle, which you may buy ordinarily for a groat at the most."
"Without permitting anyone else to lay a hand on him, the lady herself washedSalabaetto all over with soap scented with musk and cloves. She then had herself washed and rubbed down by the slaves. This done, the slaves brought two fine and very white sheets, so scented with roses that they seemed like roses; the slaves wrapped Salabaetto in one and the lady in the other and then carried them both on their shoulders to the bed . . . They then took from the basket silver vases of great beauty, some of which were filled with rose water, some with orange water, some with jasmine water, and some with lemon water, which they sprinkled upon them."
Modern folk medicine recommends rosemary washes to remove residue & gunk in the hair, sage for dark hair and camomile for light. I haven't yet found documentation for camomile as a light hair wash in period. However, a strong infusion (tea) of herbs, or herbal vinegar in water, seems to have been used to scent the hair.
Trotula gives the following recipe for a scented powder to brush into the hair:
"But when she combs her hair, let her have this powder. Take some dried roses, clove, nutmeg, watercress and galangal. Let all these, powdered, be mixed with rose water. With this water let her sprinkle her hair and comb it with a comb dipped in this same water so that [her hair] will smell better. And let her make furrows in her hair and sprinkle on the above-mentioned powder, and it will smell marvelously."
The 'cloven fruit' flirting game is NOT period. However, the use of clove-studded fruit, dusted with ground spice mixes, as pomanders, were introduced by the Arabs.
Materials commonly used in pomanders:
'A Comfortable Pomander for the Brain'
Take Labdanum, one ounce, Benjamin and Storax of each two drams, Damaske powder finely searced, one Dram, Cloves and Mace of each a little, a Nutmeg and a little Camphire, Musk and Civet a little. First heate your morter and pestle with coales, then make them verie cleane and put in your labdanum, beate it till it waxe softe, put to it two or three drops oil of spike, and so labor them a while; then put in all the rest finely to powder, and work them till all be incorporated, then take it out, anoynting your hands with Civet, roll it up and with a Bodkin pierce a hole thorow it."
Ram's Little Dodoen, 1606. [Quoted in Jeanne Rose's Herbal]
"To make Pomanders, take two penny-worth of Labdanum, two penny-worth of Storax liquid, one penny-worth of calamus Aromaticus, as much Balm, half a quarter of a pound of fine wax, of Cloves and Mace two penny-worth and of Musk four grains: beat all these exceedingly together, till they come to a pe rfect substance , then mould it in any fashion you please, and dry it."
Gervase Markham, The English Housewife.
"101 Receta para hacer pasticas de perfume de rosas
Tomar una libra de rosas sin las cabezuelas, y siete onzas de menjuí molido. Echar las rosas en remojo en agua almizclada y estén una noche. Sacar después estas rosas y expremidlas mucho del agua, y majadlas con el menjuí. Y al majar, poner con ello una cuarta de ámbar y otra de algalia. Y después de majadas, hacer vuestras pasticas y ponedlas cada una entre dos hojas de rosas, y secadlas donde no les dé el sol.
Recipe for making rose-scented tablets
Take a pound of roses without the flower heads, and seven ounces of ground benzoin. Put the roses to soak in musk water for a night. Remove these roses afterwards and thoroughly squeeze out the water, and grind them with the benzoin. And when grinding, put with it a quarter of amber and another of civet [musk]. And after [they are] ground, make your tablets and put each one between two rose leaves, and dry them away from the sun."
Text from http://cervantesvirtual.com/; translation by Dana Huffman.
For those who could not afford the expensive resin pomanders and their cases, or enough cloves for cloved fruit, bouquets of aromatic, astringent herbs like sage, rosemary, and rue, as well as flowers such as roses and violets served to keep off 'Noxious Odors'. The concept of flower messages was popularized by the Victorians, but Elizabethans and before kept such scented nosegays-- the term 'tuzzy-muzzy' and its variants, used for scented nosegays, are dated to 1500 and before by the Oxford English Dictionary. Elizabethans sometimes concealed messages in their flower choices-- consider Ophelia's flower speech in _Hamlet_:
"There's Rosemary, that's for Remembraunce. / Pray loue remember: and there is Paconcies, that's for / Thoughts . . .There's Fennell for you, and Columbines: ther's / Rew for you, and heere's some for me. Wee may call it / Herbe-Grace a Sundaies: Oh you must weare your Rew / with a difference. There's a Daysie, I would giue you / some Violets, but they wither'd all when my Father dyed... "
"Take drie rose leaves keep them in a glasse which will keep them sweet and then take powder of mynte, powder of cloves in a grosse powder, and putte the same to the Rose leves thanne putte all these togyther in a bagge and Take that to bedde with you and it wyll cause you to sleepe and it is goode to smelle unto at other tymes."Rosetta Clarkson gives a narcotic pomander recipe which "calls for opium, mandrake, juice of hemlock, henbane seed and winelees 'to which must be added musk that the scent it will provoke him that smells unto it. Make a ball as big as a man may graspe in his hand; by often smelling to this it will cause him to shut his eyes and fall asleep.'" I'd say it would!
109 Pasticas de olor para perfumar
Dos libras de agua rosada y una libra de agua de azahar, una libra de menjuí y media de estoraque, una onza
de ámbar y media de almizcle, un cuarto de algalia. Junto todo y molido, ponerlo con el agua en una redoma, y poner la redoma al fuego sobre unas brasas. Menearlo con un palo y cueza hasta que mengüe de tres partes la una. Y desque haya menguado, sacar de aquella pasta y hacerla, si quisieres pasticas, y si no, guardarla así en pasta.
Scented tablets for perfuming
Two pounds of rose water and a pound of citrus blossom water, a pound of benzoin and half of balsam, an ounce of amber and half of musk, a quarter of civet [musk]. All together and ground, put it with the water in a flask, and put the flask on the fire over some embers. Stir it with a stick and cook until it reduces three parts [from?] one. And when it is reduced, remove the paste from that and make it [into tablets], if you wish tablets, and if not, keep it thus in paste.
Text from http://cervantesvirtual.com/; translation by Dana Huffman
Hill, Thomas. The Gardener's Labyrinth[: The first English Gardening Book]. ed. Richard Mabey. (NY: Oxford University Press, 1987) ISBN: 0-19-217763-X. Illustrated with reproductions of woodcuts & paintings from a wide variety of sources.
Markham, Gervase. The English Housewife: containing the inward and outward virtues which ought to be in a complete woman..., Chapter III: "Of distillations and their virtues, and of perfuming." first printed 1615. Published 1986 by McGill-Queen's University Press, Montreal; edited by Michael R. Best. ISBN: 0-7735-0582-2.
Le Menagier de Paris. translation of cookbook sections by Janet Hinson: http://www.best.com/~ddfr/Medieval/Cookbooks/Menagier/Menagier.html
Nostradamus, The Elixirs of Nostradamus: Nostradamus' original recipes for elixirs, scented water, beauty potions and sweetmeats. edited by Knut Boeser. (Wakefield, RI: Moyer Bell, 1996) ISBN: 1-55921-155-5
"De Ornatu Mulierum /On Women's Cosmetics." in The Trotula : A Medieval Compendium of Women's Medicine . edited and translated by Monica H. Green. (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania, 2001)>
Parkinson, John. A Garden of Pleasant Flowers: Paradisi in Sole. (NY: Dover Publications, 1991.) ISBN: 048626758X
Pepys 1047, in Stere htt Well: Medieval Recipes and Remedies from a manuscript in Samuel Pepys's Library. Modern English version by G.A.J. Hodgett. (Adelaide: Mary Martin Books, s.d.)
Plat, Hugh. Delightes for Ladies. 1594. (Herrin, Ill., Trovillion Private Press, 1942) Note: here are a selection of rosewater recipes from it.
Strabo, Walafrid. Hortulus. Translated by Raef Payne. Commentary by Wilfrid Blunt. (Pittsburgh: Hunt Botanical Library, 1966)
Tusser, Thomas. His Good Points of Husbandry, "Of Herbs and Flowers." 1557. Published 1931 by Country Life Limited, London; edited by Dorothy Hartley.
Modern safety information can be found in
Julia Lawless, The illustrated encyclopedia of essential oils: the complete guide to the use of oils in aromatherapy and herbalism. (NY: Barnes & Noble, 1995) ISBN: 1-56619-990-5
1998-2004. Last updated July 13, 2004