The term pomander arose during the Middle Ages from the French pomme d’ambre and referred to an aromatic ball made of ambergris, civet, musk, dried flowers, spices and scented oils. In time, the term became interchangeable with the containers into which these scented substances were kept. The prophylactic function of scent was very important throughout the Middles ages and the Renaissance. Inhailing the aroma of specific spices and herbs was thought to cure or prevent serious illness. Storing these herbs and spices in separate compartments stopped their curative properties from being diluted. Astonishingly, this vessel still contains scented compounds which continue to release sweet aromas to this day.