Julius Caesar, the renowned Roman leader and politician, in his work the de Bello Gallico speaks of a habit he had, perfuming his body with a particular fragrance called the telinum. Also Pliny the Elder speaks of telinum in his work Naturalis Historia, by explaining that it is an ointment prepared with olive oil in which herbs are macerated, such as fenugreek, marjoram and melilot. A few years ago CNR, the Italian national research council, recreated this ointment with a sweet and slightly pungent citronella scent in a fascinating work of cosmetic archeology. Now that Christmas is coming, why not give a special and natural fragrance to brothers, husbands or sons, which contains the strength of the great historical character and is at the same time a moisturizing cosmetic for the skin? Let's see how you can make a perfumed ointment inspired by the telinum of Julius Caesar and, as always, referring to scientific studies for what concerns the properties of herbs.
The scented and moisturizing ointment of Julius Caesar
The original recipe of telinum plans to use as a base ingredient olive oil. We will use instead jojoba oil, light, healing, able to protect the skin barrier and with an antioxidant action against free radicals (Tzu-Kai Lin et al, Int J Mol Sci , 2018). In 100 grams of jojoba oil add 30 grams of crushed fenugreek seeds, rich in fatty acids and characterized by a regenerating action on the tissues (Rekik et al, Evid Based Complement Alternat Med, 2016), 1 tablespoon of dried marjoram leaves, which helps to remove contractures and tensions, 1 tablespoon of dried flowers of melilot, emollient and analgesic, and 1 tablespoon of chopped leaves of catnip, antispasmodic and antioxidant (Modnicki et al, Acta Pol Pharm, 2007 - Chang et al, Evid Based Complement Alternat Med, 2017 - Jasicka-Misiak et al, Molecules, 2017). Cook slowly in a double boiler for a couple of hours. Then remove from the heat, filter with a gauze and let it cool down. At this point add 7-8 drops of citronella essential oil, which gives it a fresh and energy-rich scent, moreover it acts also with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties (Han et al, Biochim Open, 2017), and 5 drops of essential oil of honey absolute, the sweet note of the ointment. The perfumed and cosmetic ointment is ready!