On how to use herbs from Maremma to be well groomed

“Women went to the well with a quick pace, bearing the weight of laundry. Sometimes in Maremma a young bride had to make her debut at the well as if she was going to a ball at the palace.”

So one had to be well groomed for this occasion, but since there were no spas or wellness centres, how did people look after their physical appearance in Maremma? Here are some remedies that people used with what they had at the time: plants!

For white teeth and to remove stains

A fresh sage leaf, rubbed on teeth every day after meals, to ensure beautiful white teeth.

La salvia - Sage

La salvia – Sage

For wrinkles

Some basil was crushed in a mortar, put in a cloth and squeezed inside the cloth. The juice obtained was then mixed with butter until they obtained a creamy texture. This cream was applied on the face in the evening, before going to bed.

Another remedy for wrinkles consisted in taking a celery stick, beating it with a crescent-shaped mincing knife and putting it in a cup with two teaspoonfuls of milk. After two hours, they put it through a sieve and collected its juice in a glass; then they massaged their faces and necks with what was left in the sieve. Finally, they put cotton in the liquid part and put it on their faces and necks, on previously treated areas.

For white hair

People with blonde hair had to use cassia seeds and flowers, crushed in a mortar and cooked in a bain-marie. After 20 minutes, they were filtered and the liquid was used to wash the hair. If they had dark hair, they took the husk of an unripe walnut and rubbed it on their hair after washing it.

For toned breasts

Every woman’s source of joy and torment! During summer, pumpkin seeds, muskmelon seeds, cucumber and watermelon seeds were put aside. They were then put into a mortar in equal parts and crushed. If we add olive oil, crush them a bit more, squeeze them all inside a cloth we can massage our breasts every night before going to bed.

Mortaio - Mortar

Mortaio – Mortar

Eye bags

After a wild night out, nothing better than this wrap to make eye bags disappear! Take a potato and grate it with its skin on, mix it with a green and unripe grated apple. Add some milk and mix it well. Use this mixture on eye bags and leave it on for at least half an hour. Rinse with lukewarm water.

Stretchmarks

In order to prevent stretch marks, especially for pregnant women, take a nice handful of camomile flowers, crush them in a mortar and add some oil (something that Maremma is not short of!) Without squeezing this mush, drain it using a white cloth. Put the resulting oil in a jar and use it to massage your tummies every night before going to bed.

Finally, how to have beautiful red lips with a handmade lipstick! 

During the harvest, choose some Colorino, a red grape variety, take the stalk away and put the grapes in a saucepan on the hob. Let t come to a boil until all the juice has been absorbed. Take it off the hob and squeeze it firmly with a cloth.

Put the juice back on the hob and let it dry out again until you obtain a cream. Add some virgin bee wax and mix it well. Put the cream in a sealed glass jar. On Sunday, women put this cream on their lips; as well as having beautiful red lips; they were also protected from chapping due to the northern cold winds.

 

These tips comes from the “Delle Erbe e della Magia” (“On Herbs and Magic”) book by Daniele Lamioni and Maurilio Boni, which contains remedies and cures based on Maremma people’s knowledge.