The Herb Room
From the Glass Room the visitor moves now on to a room which is possibly the most fascinating part of the whole Museum: the Herb Room.
A great number of medicinal plants, colourful and perfumed, each one with its own identification tag hang down from their supports on the ceiling.
Thus arranged and away from direct light, the plants could reach the right degree of desiccation still keeping entirely their physical and chemical properties, ready to become wholesome medical ingredients.
Special care and competence in picking the herbs was needed in order to preserve their efficacy.
After having ascertained the correct 'balsamic time', the plants or their useful parts such as buds, flowers, leaves, fruits, roots, bark and resin were collected.
The best technique for conserving them was desiccation, a process that eliminates the water from a plant without its curative properties being lost. Hung in dry, airy rooms out of direct sunlight, the herbs slowly underwent the physical changes that allowed them to be used in medicinal products.
Once dried, the plants were kept in containers, such as wicker baskets or precious wooden boxes finely carved with cartouches bearing the name of the plant. The shelves of this room are lined with examples from different centuries. And then there were the tools for collecting and processing the plants as well as propitiatory texts, such as prayers, invocations, rituals and popular beliefs that existed for every type of plant.