Women as healers and caregivers for their families and communities pre-dates written
From time immemorial, women were expected to give birth, nurture, heal, protect,
provide for and spend their days steeped in the tradition of the wise women before
them; caring for themselves and their families, and quite often, the entire community.
The women’s art of healing reached its peak in the early part of the last century, in the
time of the Stillroom. The Stillroom was a room separate from the kitchen, but within
close proximity, that contained a still.

Unlike the large outdoor stills used for making alcoholic beverages, the Stillroom still
was a smaller, simpler version used to distil herbs to extract their essence for use in
medication, cosmetics, salves, and other household necessities.
The Stillroom Recipe Book was passed down from mother to daughter.

With the word “recipe” originally referring to a medicinal formula, and a recipe book
for the Stillroom may contain everything from medicinal recipes to cough syrups,
cosmetics, liniments, perfumes, pomanders, food preservation, jams and jellies, wool
dyeing, candle making, and soap making much like some of the favorite recipes
passed down from our ancestors are today.
Everything that sustained and added quality of life to the family might be found in the
Today, with the increasing interest in Aromatherapy, essential oils and other natural
forms of health care, the arts of the Stillroom are again gaining recognition and are
truly the birthright of everyone.

Whenever you make a simple herbal recipe, scent a homemade candle, enjoy a
potpourri from your own herb garden, make an herbal vinegar or preserve food, you
are participating in the preservation of the tradition and the legacy from the longforgotten Stillroom.
When the stresses of our fast-paced lives make us long for the simpler times, take out
your Stillroom recipe book, select a favorite recipe and step back in time.
Join the many who have gone before you, feeling the connection with those who have
preserved the traditions, celebrations, and warm family memories we enjoy today.
~ Alexandria Brighton