Savin was used medicinally and in veterinary practice by the Romans.1) It seems probable that the name Sabina has been derived from the mountainous country of the Sabines lying to the north-east of Rome. Dioscorides2) and Pliny3) mention the plant among those being used medicinally. Charlemagne in the ninth century mentioned it in his Capitulare and thus caused its cultivation in the northern Alps.4) The abbess Hildegard of Bingen mentions savin as a remedy in her writings;5) it is also one of the 77 remedies praised by Otto of Meudon (Macer Floridus).6) In England the tree seems to have been cultivated and used before the Norman conquest.7)
During the period in which distilled waters were in general use, Aqua sabinae was also officinal and is enumerated in the treatises on distillation mentioned on pp. 39 et seq.
The distilled oil is first mentioned in the price ordinance of Frankfurt-on-the-Main for 1587 and was described by joh. Begninus at the close of the seventeenth century.8) Concerning the yield of the oil Friedrich Hoffmann seems to have made the first experiments about 1715.9) G. W. Wedel examined the oil in 1707 according to the methods in vogue at his time.10) The first chemical examination was made by Dumas in 1835.11)
1) Marcus Porcius Cato, De re rustica, p. 70. - Editio Nisard, p. 25, Meyers Geschichte der Botanik. Vol. 1, p. 344.
2) Pedanii Dioscoridis Anazarbei De Materia medica libri quinque. -Editio Kuhn-Sprengel 1829, vol. 1, p. 104.
3) Plinii Natura/is historiae libri. Cap. XVII, 21 and cap. XXIV, 61. -Editio Littre 1877, vol. 1, p. 623 and vol. 2, p. 149.
4) Capitulare de villi's et cortis imperialibus.
5) Hildegardis Abbatissae Subtilitatum diversarum naturarum creatu-rarum libri novem. - Editio Migne 1885, p. 1145.
6) Macer Floridus, De viribus herbarum una cum Wa/afridi Strabonis, Ottonis Cremonensis et Joannis Folcz carminibus similis argumenti. Neapoli 1487. - Editio Choulant, Lipsiae 1832.
7) Cockayne, Leechdoms, wortcunning and Starcraft of early England. 1865. Vol. 2, p. 12.
8) Johannis Begnini Tyroceynium chymicum, in Joh. Hartmannii Opera omnia medico-chymica congesta atque pluribus aucta a Conrado Johrenio. Francofurti ad Mcenum 1690. Vol. 3, p. 27.
9) Fr. Hoffmannii Opera omnia-physico-medica. Liber 65. Observatio 1. De oleis destiilatis inque eorum distillatione observanda. 10) G. W. Wedel, Dissertatio de Sabina. Jenae 1707. 11) Liebig's Annalen 15 (1835), 159.