Anonymous Prose Treatise on Rosemary in MS O.1.13 of the Trinity College, Cambridge

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The anonymous prose treatise ‘the virtues of rosemary’ has not been formally edited and published before, despite its apparent popularity in the late Middle Ages. This thesis will print a semi-diplomatic edition of an anonymous prose treatise on rosemary in MS O.1.13 f.12v-14v of the Trinity College Library, Cambridge. The edition is preceded by several comprehensive introductions to provide cultural and historical context to the treatise and its contents. The purpose of this thesis is to bridge the gap between medieval studies and biochemical research and to show the relevance of medieval medical treatises in current scholarship. Comparison of the remedies and recipes from the treatise to modern biochemical science shows that the application of rosemary in these situations may have been more beneficial than previously thought. While the rosemary-based remedies from several centuries ago are not as effective as contemporary synthetic drugs and antibiotics, they likely were the best available and could be used to effectively treat various afflictions. Medical treatises such as ‘the virtues of rosemary’ can inspire modern day scientists to take naturally occurring therapeutic properties of common plants and use those as basis for new remedies.
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