From Simon Online
Jump to: navigation, search

Costum radix amara invenitur autem in multis locis costum dulce scriptum in confectionibus sed nec vidi nec audivi ab aliquo vidisse.


scriptum om. f


Costum has a bitter root, it is found in many locations. A "sweet costum" is also found in some recipes, but I have never seen nor heard of anyone who has seen it.


Latin costum, costus:
is taken from Greek κόστον /kóston/ or κόστος / kóstos/, which in turn is taken from an Indian language, possibly Sanskrit kushṭha, kushṭhum.

Costus was an important item of trade in the Roman Empire, cf. Miller (1969: 84ff).

Berendes (1902: 42) quotes Matthiolus (1501 – 1577) as saying that in his days most of the costus used in the officinae, the herbalist workshops and pharmacies, was forged from substitutes, and there is a good chance that this was the case in Simon's days as well.

Botanical identification:

The plant is generally assumed to be Saussurea lappa Clarke, synonym of Saussurea costus (Falc.) Lipschitz} [[1]], which is found in Kashmir and parts of the Punjab. But other members of the Costus genus are also considered by some as possible, cf. Berendes (1901: 42) who names Costus speciosus Lam., a synonym of Cheilocostus speciosus (J.Koenig) C.D. Specht, "crape ginger" [[2]], which is native to southeast Asia, especially Indonesia or Costus arabicus L. [[3]], [[4]]. As for "bitter" and "sweet" costus, the root of S. lappa is described as combining sweetness with bitterness, so one can assume it to be the same plant, only at different stages of the ripening and drying process.

WilfGunther (talk) 15:37, 19 December 2016 (GMT)

Next entry