Tussie Mussies, the Language of Herbs
A Little History...
The use of Tussie Mussies date back to the Victorians times. Not only were they used as a way of speaking to the recipient of the flowers, but also were used as a buffer for all of the bad smells that were so abundant in those days.
One of the things that people don't talk about is the lack of cleanliness that was acceptable way back then. People simply did not bathe regularly. It was not uncommon for a man or woman to go bathless for a month or more.
As you can imagine, an unpleasant aroma would begin to surround a body. When you had several of those aromatic bodies in the same area it could become quite unpleasant. An easy solution was for the people to carry a Tussie Mussie made of herbs. The herbs would help cover up the odor and make the air more pleasnat to breath. At least in a limited area. The Tussie Mussie made of herbs and a few strong smelling flowers would be held quite close to the nose so that the herbal smell helped mask the smell of unwashed bodies.
Not only were the people of that era contending with the aroma of unwashed bodies but also with the stench of the streets. In those days it was common to throw your garbage out in the street.
As the weather become warmer and the garbage more plentiful the smell became downright stinky and impossible to ignore. A Tussie Mussie made of strong herbs went a long way to help a person breathe easier.
Even then, when using herbs, people were still very careful what they used because of the meaning behind each flower. So, as you can see, the tussie mussie was around for some pretty important reasons.
It could send a message to a young woman by a gentleman. As a woman your feeling and thoughts could be conveyed without a word. Perhaps the most important function of the tussie mussie in those days long ago was it's ability to block those aromas of unwashed bodies and garbage.
The Language of Herbs
The aroma of unwashed bodies and garbage in the street could become quite rank. What better way to block some of that smell than using herbs. Keep in mind that not only flowers have a language of their own.
Not only does the creator of a tussie mussie have to keep in mind the particular aromas from these herbs but also the meanings. For your entertainment and maybe even your personal use I have compiled a list of herbs and their meanings.
allspice - compassion
balm - sympathy
basil - best wishes
bay leaf - I change but in death
chamomile - energy in adversity
cilantro - concealed merit
cedar - strength
cinnamon - love and beauty
cloves - dignity and restraint
coriander - hidden worth
cowslip - pensiveness
elder - zealous
fennel - flattery, force
garden sage - esteem
garlic - protection, strength
ginger - stupidity, folly
hops - mirth
hyssop - cleanliness
lavender - distrust
lemon balm - sympathy
marjoram - blushes
mint - suspicion
oregano - joy
parsley - useful knowledge
pennyroyal - flee away
peppermint - cordiality
rocket - rivalry
rosemary - remembrance
sage - gratitude, wisdom
sorrel - affection
southernwood - jest
spearmint - warmth of senitment
sweet basil - good wishes
thyme - activity, thriftiness
verbena - you have my confidence
The Scent of Herbs
In this particular section I am including the type of aroma that these herbs emit. It will help you make some pretty awesome combinations. Keep in mind that you need to take notice of the special aroma plus the meanings of each individual herbs to express yourself.
It would be awful if you are trying to convey love and your herbs' are saying friendship.
allspice - combination of spices such as cinnamon, cloves, ginger and nutmeg.
balm - fresh and citrusy, like lemon
basil - strong, pungent, sweet smell
bay leaf - warm, pungent, herbal slightly floral smell
chamomile - sweet aromatic scent
cilantro - strong with citrus overtones
cedar - crisp, tangy, woodsy
cinnamon - earthy, peppery, spicy
cloves - warm, acrid, aromatic
coriander - warm, nutty, spicy smell
cowslip - fresh, fragrent, anise scent
elder - pungent, insecticidal small
eucalyptus - fresh, woody, earthy, medicinal
fennel - sweet, aromatic, slightly spicy
garlic - sharp, spicy
ginger - warm, spicy, woody
hops - grassy, floral, spicy, earthy
hyssop - fresh, earthy, fruity, slightly sweet
lavender - sweet, floral, fresh, slightly fruity
lemon balm - lemony, fresh, herbal
marjoram - woody, herbal, medicinal
mint - sweet, frest aromatic, cool after taste
nutmeg - sweet, spicy, rich, woody
oregano - sharp, herbal
parsley - slightly woody, herbal
patchouli - earthy, rich, woody, very slight fruity
pennyroyal - pungent, warm, medicinal
peppermint - minty
rocket - rich, peppery
rosemary - sweet, medicinal, herbal
sage - camphorous, herbal, sweet
southernwood - strong camphor odor
spearmint - minty, slightly fruity
sweet basil - pungent, aromatic, spicy
thyme - medicinal, herbla, fresh
verbena - floral, slightly woody
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© 2011 Susan Hazelton