Secrets Of The Medieval Nosegay – And How To Make Your Own
19.11.2023 - 03:17
We are all switching on to the healing power of plants and flowers. Many of the plants we grow have the potential to act as sources of healing, as well as being profound mood-boosters. Some of the simplest floral arrangements of posies (or nosegays) have transformative powers. And while these small fragrant arrangements seem innocent enough, they have hidden depths which date back centuries.
It might surprise you to learn that the medieval nosegay has longstanding associations with combating widespread disease. As we deal with the reality of Covid-19, it’s important to note that epidemics and pandemics are nothing new. How we combat these diseases has changed, thanks to modern medicine. Nowadays, we can vaccinate and don masks to prevent community spread. But during medieval times, people believed nosegay flowers would do the trick.
Although nosegay flowers gained popularity during the Victorian era, the history of the nosegay goes back much further. These posies date back in England to at least the 15th century. A medieval nosegay was commonly called a tussie-mussie or tusemose. It consisted of a knot of flowers (tuse) wrapped with damp moss (mose).
These small bouquets were worn or carried as a means for combating the putrid smells often associated with urban life. Medieval city streets were often filled with horse dung and garbage. Lack of sanitation also meant diseases like dysentery, typhoid and leprosy were more prevalent in cities than in rural areas.
However, medieval societies didn’t connect the lack of sanitation with these higher disease rates. Instead, they believed it was the stench which caused illness. They thought inhaling the sweet aroma of a medieval nosegay would overpower the bad air and keep them
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