Aromatario del Giglio – Making Precious Green Pomade of Nostradamus Part 1

Michel de Notredame (1503 – 1566), Latinised as Nostradamus, was a French apothecary. Although most people know Nostradamus for his prophecies, he was also one of the most important healers of his time. During the 16th Century he published recipes for elixirs, beauty potions, scented waters, bottled fruits, and other specialties.


His recipe for Precious Green Pomade:

Take about four pounds of lard from a pig which has been slaughtered just the previous day and is very fresh, and place it in a large earthenware pot, together with as much rosewater as necessary. Knead thoroughly with clean hands and mix it well together for an hour. Next take twelve of the best smelling apples that you have or can obtain, chop them up into small pieces without peeling them and likewise chop up the skin or peel of four bitter oranges, two limes, and half a lemon, if you are able to find them. Put the chopped up pieces into a marble mortar and crush everything together as well as you can. When everything is well and truly pounded and thoroughly mixed, add ten ounces of the pulverized roots of Florentine violets, two ounces of well-crushed cloves, two and a half ounces of storax, and an ounce of sweet flag. Pound everything as finely as possible adding rosewater if there is not enough in the mixture and put it into an earthenware pot which is well glazed. Let it dissolve over embers or a low fire and cover it with an earthenware dish, but take care that it does not break or crack. If very small cracks do appear, it will not do any damage, so stir it thoroughly with a wooden spatula until you are certain that it has completely dissolved. Test it frequently in the following manner: put a drop on your hand and smell it and see whether it has been made properly, for it does not require a lot of boiling. When, however, you feel it s time to remove it from the fire, take about a scruple of musk, though if you want to make the pomade really excellent, add a further drachm to that quantity, so that it weighs about a crown, and then add a drachm and a half of grey amber. Pulverize both, add rosewater, drain it off into a pot, let it boil a bit and then strain everything, while still warm, through a clean, fine, cloth into some small glass dishes, each holding three or four ounces, or into a large pot for it will stay warm and much firmer if you do this. And if you want to turn it completely red, then take three or four roots of the true alkanet, boil them up with what is left over from the whitening process and then it will turn a beautiful scarlet and will be suitable for members oft he fairer sex who have a pale complexion, and will be very useful for them. The sediment, however, may be used as and exquisite and very desirable soap for, apart from the exquisite scent which it gives off, it makes rough hands smooth and soft, if they are rubbed with it frequently….

This is the first page of the recipe, and it goes on for another two pages. I’ll save that for part two.


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