History gives us a woman with a strong and determined character, who, at the age of only 21 and at the seventh month of pregnancy, crossed Rome on horseback to occupy, on behalf of her husband Girolamo Riario who instead had preferred to wait for the events fearful of the situation, Castel Sant’Angelo. We are talking about Caterina Sforza, born in Milan in 1463, a character of great culture and talent. It is said that Caterina Sforza was in contact with several physicians and herbalists of the time and that she delighted in her home in Forlì to research and test medicines and cosmetics. And it was also written by Caterina Sforza one of the most complete compendiums of medical recipes, herbal remedies and cosmetics for the time entitled Experimenti de la Ex.ma S.ra Caterina da Furlj Matre de lo Inlux.mo Mr. Giouanni De ’Medici. Well. It is precisely in this document that we can find the recipe for the famous celestial water, which is thus described by Caterina Sforza as a cosmetic able to make a 85-year-old person look like a 35-year-old. It is one of the first facial tonics in history given by different herbs and spices such as rosemary, pepper, sage and juniper left to macerate in an alcoholic drink such as grappa and then distilled with an alembic still. So let's take inspiration from this ancient beauty recipe to create an excellent tonic for the skin, useful both in case of wrinkles and acne. Clearly we will make changes to adapt the tonic recipe to the present day considering that no one has an alembic at home.
Celestial water by Caterina Sforza, revisited version
We will prepare an infusion with the herbs indicated Caterina Sforza. Take a cup of water and bring it to a boil, remove from the heat and add 1 cm of peeled ginger root, a clove, half a teaspoon of anise seeds, 2 chopped sage leaves, the needles of a sprig of rosemary, 2 crumpled mint and marjoram leaves. Leave to infuse for 20 minutes, then filter through a fine gauze. Add 1 glass of rose water and a more modern version of Caterina Sforza's celestial water is ready!
Celestial water, what science says
Rosemary is antioxidant, therefore useful against skin aging, but also anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial, helpful to soothe redness, lesions such as pimples, blackheads and acne, and irritation (de Oliveira et al, J Biomed Sci, 2019). But even ginger is able to counteract inflammation of the skin if applied locally (Minghetti et al, Planta Med, 2007), as well as anise, marjoram, mint, excellent against acne, and cloves, also able to counteract skin itching (Ibrahim et al, J Cosmet Dermatol, 2017 - Orchard et al, Evid Based Complement Alternat Med, 2017). Sage contains a water soluble active ingredient, scareol, which fights free radicals and also helps to counteract UV damage on the skin (Cavinato et al, Biogerontology, 2017). And finally, rose water, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic but also anti-aging, helps to counteract the formation of wrinkles, makes the skin fresh and regenerated but also helps in case of acne (Mahboubi et al, J Tradit Complement Med, 2015 - Kilic et al, J Cosmet Dermatol, 2019).