National Museum of Wales, Cardiff, the painting is not large, around 40 centimeters in height and a little less in width, but stands out among all for the charm and charisma that even now the represented character seems to radiate, a woman with long wavy hair and with serious and penetrating eyes. This is Eleanor of Aquitaine, one of the most interesting and multifaceted female figures of the Middle Ages. Eleanor, endowed with great beauty but also intelligence and talents, loved the arts and culture and became queen twice, first in France and then in England thanks to her marriages with Louis of France and Henry II. Eleanor never pulled back, even in politics or in war, and it was Eleanor, who at the time was more than seventy years old, that traveled around Europe to the Pope to look for the money to free her beloved son taken prisoner after returning from the Crusades. This son was none other than Richard the Lionheart. And while Eleanor was trying to free her son Richard, the other son, the weak John Lackland, was trying to usurp the throne of England. Legend says that he did not succeed thanks to the intervention of Robin Hood but the reality is that Eleanor had an essential role. We cannot know how Eleanor took care of her skin and hair but it is nice to imagine that, as a curious and cultured woman she was, she personally went to collect the herbs to use. In particular, at the time, a widely used beauty remedy was sage, a true anti-age. Surely, like all women of her time, Eleanor also loved preparing sage baths and massaging it on her body. So let's take inspiration from this ancient beauty ritual that regenerates mind and body.
Sage baths, benefits
Sage is one of the first anti-aging agents used since ancient times. But this statement doesn't just come from tradition, it also has a scientific basis! In fact, it has been shown that sage, thanks to the presence of flavonoids and polyphenols, has a high antioxidant power, capable of counteracting free radical damage, aging processes and wrinkles (Hamidpour et al, J Tradit Complement Med, 2014 - Pedro et al, Phytother Res, 2016). Not only that, sage is also anti-inflammatory and antibacterial and helps fight dermatitis, eczema and itching (Reuter et al, Planta Med, 2007). But don't forget the properties of sage on the mind, in fact, sage has been observed to bring good mood and improve memory (Kennedy et al, Neuropsychopharmacology, 2006). Finally, sage is also useful in counteracting excess sweating (Ghorbani et al, J Tradit Complement Med, 2017).
Sage baths, how to prepare them
Prepare a decoction of sage leaves. In a saucepan, pour a liter of water and a generous handful of fresh sage. Bring to a boil and let it simmer for five minutes. Then remove from the heat and let it rest for ten minutes. Filter and pour into the tub water. Immerse yourself and massage the sage water on the skin, both on the face and on the body.