Rose Oil according to Meister Eberhard

The Meister Eberhard manuscript ends with a collection of medicinal oils. Again, I will not post all of them here, but this is the first and, to my mind, the most interesting as well as practical.

Image courtesy of wikimedia commons

<<R101>> Item also mach rosen öl

Item make rose oil thus. Take 3 pounds of olive oil (pawmöls) and 1 pound of rose petals and put that into a glass or a glazed pot and close the top tightly and hang it out in the sun for thirty days and then press it through a cloth. The oil is mainly good against all kinds of heat that comes during sickness if you rub it over the brows and forehead. If you do not have olive oil, take good May butter and an ounce of wax and melt it first and then mix it. It is said that the latter is better than the former.

Obviously, lack of good olive oil would have made many medicinal recipes from the classical corpus difficult to replicate in Germany. I am still not convinced that a combination of unsalted butter and beeswax exposed to the sun for 30 days is going to be better than olive oil. If you do intend to replicate this, be sure to use rose petals from plants that were not treated with pesticiodes. The residues on almost all commercially available flowers are enough to make them unsuited for cosmetic use and unsafe to eat.

Meister Eberhard is a recipe collection that belongs into a south German context, most likely associated with the court of Bayern-Landshut during its ascendancy in the first half of the 15th century. We know nothing about the putative author other than that he claims he was part of the kitchen staff there. The text contains an eclectic mix of recipes and dietetic advice heavily cribbed from a variety of sources, including the (unattributed) writings of St Hildegardis Bingensis. The text is published in A. Feyl: Das Kochbuch Meister Eberhards. Diss. Freiburg i.B. 1963 and online on the website of Thomas Gloning.

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