John Baptista Porta
(Giambattista della Porta)
The Tenth Book of Natural Magick
Chapter I - "What Distillation is, and of how many sorts."
Chapter II - "Of the Extraction of Waters."
Chapter III - "Of Extracting Aqua Vitae."
Chapter IV - "How to distil with the heat of the Sun."
Chapter V - "How to draw Oil by Expression."
Chapter VI - "How to Extract Oil with water."
Chapter VII - "How to Separate Oil from Water."
Chapter VIII- "How to make an instrument to Extract Oil in a greater
quantity and without danger of burning."
Chapter IX - "The description of a Descendatory, whereby Oil is extracted by
Chapter X - "How to Extract Oil out of Gums."
Chapter XI - "Several Arts how to draw Oils out of other things."
Chapter XII - "How to Extract Oil by Descent."
Chapter XIII - "Of the Extraction of Essences."
Chapter XIV - "What Magisteries are, and the Extraction of them."
Chapter XV - "How to Extract Tinctures."
Chapter XVI - "How to Extract Salts."
Chapter XVII - "Of Elixirs."
Chapter XVIII - "Of a Clyssus, and how it is made."
Chapter XIX - "How to get Oil out of Salts."
Chapter XX - "Of Aqua Fortis."
Chapter XXI - "Of the Separation of the Elements."
Now I am come to the arts, and I shall begin from Distillation, an invention
of later times, a wonderful thing, to be praised beyond the power of man,
not that which the vulgar and unskillful man may use. For they do but
corrupt and destroy what is good. But that which is done by skillful
artists. This admirable art, teaches how to make spirits, and sublime gross
bodies, and how to condense, and make spirits become gross bodies. And to
draw forth of plants, minerals, stones and jewels, the strength of them,
that are involved and overwhelmed with great bulk, lying hid, as it were, in
their chests. Ant to make them more pure, and thin, and more noble, as not
being content with their common condition, and so lift them up as high as
heaven. We can by chemical instruments, search out the virtues of plants,
and better then the ancients could do by tasting them. What therefore could
be thought on that is greater? It is Nature's part to produce things, and
give them faculties, but art may ennoble them when they are produced, and
give them many several qualities. Let one that loves learning, and to
search out Nature's secrets, enter upon this. For a dull fellow will never
attain to this art of Distilling. First we will Extract waters and oils.
Then, the essences of Tinctures, Elixirs, Salts, and such-like. Then we
shall show how to resolve mixed bodies into the elements, and make them all
more pure, to separate their diverse and contrary qualities, and draw them
forth, that we may use them at pleasure. And other things, that will never
repent us to know and do.
"What Distillation is, and of how many sorts."
WHether the art of Distillation were known to the learned Ancients, or no, I
will not undertake to dispute, yet there is another kind of art to be read
in Dioscorides, then what we use. He says thus, There is an Oil extracted
out of Pitch, by separating the watery part, which swims on the top, like
Whey in Milk. And hanging clean flocks of Wool, in the vapor arising from
it while the Pitch boils, and when they are moist, squeezing them in some
vessel. This must be done as long as it boils. Geber defines it thus,
Distillation is the elevation of moist vapors in a proper vessel. But we
will declare the true definition of it elsewhere. He makes three sorts of
it, by Ascent, by Descent, and by Filtration. But I say, by Ascent, by
Descent, and by Inclination, which is a middle between the both, and is very
necessary. For when a thing is unwilling to ascend, we teach it by this to
rise by degrees, by inclining the vessel, and raise it by little and little,
until it becomes thinner, and knows how to ascend. The instructions for
Distillation shall be these,
"Instructions for Distillation."
First, provide a glass or brazen vessel, with a belly swelling out like a
cupping glass, and sharpened upward like a top or a Pear. Fit it to the
under-vessel like a cap, so that the neck of that lower vessel may com into
the belly of the upper. A pipe must run about the bottom of the cap, which
must send forth a beak, under which, there must stand another vessel, called
the Receiver, from receiving the Distilling water. Stop all the vents close
with Straw Mortar, or rags of Linen, that the spirituous airy matter may not
leak out. The fire being put under this Stillatory, the enclosed matter
will be dissolved by the heat of the fire into a dewey vapor, and ascend to
the top. Where, meeting with the cold sides of the head, it sticks there,
being condensed by the cold, swelling into little bubbles, dewing the roof
and sides. Then, gathered into moist pearls, runs down in drops, turning
into liquid, and by the pipe and nose is conveyed into the Receiver. But
both the vessels and the Receiver must be considered, according to the
Nature of the things to be Distilled. For if they be of a flatulent
vaporous nature, they will require large and low vessels, and a more
capacious Receiver. For when the heat shall have raised up the flatulent
matter, and that finds itself strained in the narrow cavities, it will seek
some other vent, and so tear the vessels in pieces, (which will fly about
with a great bounce and crack, not without injuring the bystanders) and
being at liberty, will save itself from further harm. But if the things be
hot and thin, you must have vessels with a long and small neck. Things of
middle temper, require vessels of a middle size. All which the industrious
artificer may easily learn by the imitation of Nature, who has given angry
and furious creatures, as the Lion and Bear, thick bodies, but short necks.
To show, that flatulent Humors would pass out of vessels of a larger bulk,
and the thicker part settle to the bottom. But then, the Stag, the Ostrich,
the Camel Panther, gentle creatures, and of thin spirits, have slender
bodies and long necks, to show that thin, subtle spirits, have slender
bodies and long narrower passage, and be elevated higher to purify them.
There is one thing which I must especially inform you of, which is, that
there may be a threefold moisture extracted out of plants. The nutritive,
whereby they live, and all dried herbs want. It differs little from
fountain or ditch water. The substantial, whereby the parts are joined
together, and this is of a more solid nature. And the third is the radical
Humor, fat and oily, wherein the strength and virtue lies. There is another
thing, which I cannot pass over in silence, it being one of the principles
of the art, which I have observed in diverse experiments, which is, that
some mixed together bodies, do exhale thin and hot vapors first, and
afterwards moist and thick. On the contrary, others exhale earthly and
Phlegmatick parts first, and then the hot and fiery, which being fixed in
the inmost parts, are expelled at last by the force of the fire. But
because there can be no constant and certain rule given for them, some I
will mark unto you, others, your own more quick ingenuity must take the
pains to observe.
"Of the Extraction of Waters."
The extraction of waters, because it is common, I will dispatch in a few
words. If you would Extract sweet waters out of hot plants, and such as are
earthy, and retain a sweet favor in their very substance, these being cast
into a Stillatory, without any art, and a fire made under them, yield their
odors. As you may draw sweet waters out of,
"Roses, Orange flowers, Myrtle and Lavender, and such like,"
Either with Cinders, or in Balneo Mariae, but only, observe to kindle the
fire by degrees, lest they burn. There are also in some plants, sweet
leaves, as in Myrtle, Lavender, Citron, and such like, which if you mix with
the flowers, will no way hinder the favor of them, but add a pleasantness to
the waters. And in places where flowers cannot be gotten, I have seen very
sweet waters extracted out of the tendrils of them. Especially, when they
have been set abroad a sunning in a vessel for some days before. There is a
water, of no contemptible scent, drawn out of the leaves of Basil Gentle,
(especially being aromatized with Citron or Cloves) by the heat of a gentle
bath, heightened by degrees, and then exposing it to the Sun for some time.
There is an odoriferous water extracted out of the flowers of Azadaret, or
Bastard Sycamore, very thin and full of favor. The way to find out whether
the odor be settled in the substance of the plant, or else in the surfaces
or outward parts is this, rub the leaves of flowers with your fingers, if
they retain the same scent, or cast a more fragrant breath, then the odor
lies in the whole substance. But on the contrary, if after your rubbing,
they do not only lose their natural scent, but begin to stink, it shows that
their odor resides only in their surfaces, which being mixed with other ill
favored parts, are not only abated, but become imperceptible. In Distilling
of these, we must use another art. As for example,
"To Extract Sweet Water out of Gilliflowers, Musk, Roses, Violets, and
Jasmine, and Lilies."
First draw the juice out of some wild Musk Roses, with a gentle heat in
Balneo Mariae, then remove them, and add others. For if you let them stand
too long, the scent which resides in the surfaces is not only consumed, but
the dull stinking vapor which lies in the inward parts is drawn forth. In
this water, let other Roses be infused for some hours, and then taken out
and fresh put in, which the oftener you do, the sweeter it will smell. But
stop the vessel close, lest the thin scent fly out and be dispersed in the
air. And so you will have a most odoriferous water of Musk Roses. The same
I advise to be done with Jasmine, Gilliflowers, Lilies, and Violets, and
Crows-toes, and the like. But if you are not willing to Macerate them in
their own waters, the same may be done in Rosewater. By this art, I have
made waters out of flowers of a most fragrant smell, to the admiration of
artists of no small account. But because it happens sometimes by the
negligence of the operator, that it is infected with a stink of burning, I
will teach you,
"How to correct the stink of burning."
Because that part which lies at the bottom feels more heat then the top,
when it comes to pass, that before the one be warm, the other is burnt, and
often stinks of the fire, and offends the nose. Therefore Distil your
waters in Balneo Mariae with a gentle fire, that the pure clear water may
ascend, and the dregs settle in the bottom with the Oil, a great cause of
the ill favor.
"How to draw a great quantity of water by Distillation."
Fasten some plates of Iron or Tin round the top of the Stillatory. Set them
upright, and let them be of the same height with it, and in the bottom
fasten a spigot. When the Stillatory becomes hot, and the elevated vapors
are gathered into the cap, if that be hot, they fall down again into the
bottom, and are hardly condensed into drops. But if it be cold, it
presently turns into water. Therefore pour cold water between those places,
which by condensing the vapors, may drive down larger currents into the
Receiver. When the cap, and the water upon it begin to be hot, pull out the
spigot, that the hot water may run out, and fresh cold water be put in.
Thus the water being often changed, that it may always be cold, and the warm
drawn out by the spigot, you will much augment the quantity of your water.
"Of Extracting Aqua Vitae."
It is thus done. Take strong rich Wine growing in dry places, as on
Vesuvius, commonly called Greek Wine, or the tears or first running of the
Grape. Distil this in a glass Retort with Cinders, or in Balneo Mariae, or
else in a long necked Still. Draw out the third part of it, and reserve the
rest, for it is turned into a perfect sharp Vinegar, there remaining only
the carcass of the Wine. For the life and tenuous part is taken out. Then
Distil the same again, and the third time, always drawing off a third part.
Then prepare a vessel with a longer and straighter neck, of three cubits,
and Distil it again in this. At last, put it into the mouth of the fire.
The thin spirits of the Wine, will pass through all, and fall down into the
Receiver, and the Phlegm, which cannot get passage, will settle to the
bottom. The note of perfect depuration from Phlegm, will be, if a rag being
dipped in it, and set on fire, does burn quite away. Or, if some of it,
being dropped on a plain board, be kindled into flame, leaves no moisture or
mark of it. But all the work depends on this, that the mouth of the vessel
be exactly stopped and closed. So the least spirit may not find vent and
fly into the air. The fittest thing to stop them with, is an Ox's bladder,
or some other beast, for being cut into broad fillets, and while they are
wet, rolled and tied about where the mouths of the vessels meet, it will
alone keep in the he expiring vapors. You may observe this in the
Distillation of it. The coals being hot, the vessel boils, and a most
burning spirit of the Wine, ascends through the neck of the vessel. It is
hot below, and cold on the top, till it gets into the cap, then,
encountering cold, it turns into water, and runs down by the nose into the
Receiver . And what was a long time ascending, then, in a small interval of
time, flows down again to the under placed glass. Then, the cap, being
cold, sends down that quality through the neck into the very belly of the
Stillatory, until the spirit, being separated from the Phlegm, works the
same effect again. I used to suffer the Wine to ascend, so long as the
spirit runs invisible into the Receiver . For when the Phlegm ascends,
there will appear bubbles into the cap, and streams, which will run into the
water through the nose. Then I take away that dead carcass of Wine, and
pour in fresh Wine, and extract the spirit out of that the same way.
"To do the same a more compendious way."
Those who desire to do this in a shorter time, must make a Brass vessel, of
the bigness of an ordinary barrel, in the form of a Gourd, but the nose of
the cap must be made of Glass, or Brass of fifteen or twenty foot, winding
about with circling revolutions, or mutual crossings, or as it were with the
circling of Snakes, which they must set in wooden vessels, full of cold
water, that passing through, it may be received into the Receiver. For when
it has Distilled the third part of the Wine in three hours, thy must cast
out the residue, and put that which is Distilled into the Stillatory again.
And the second time Distil out a third part. So also a third time in the
same day. At length, they put it into a Stillatory with a longer neck and
separate the Phlegm from it. Some make the cap with three or four heads,
setting one upon another, all being previous but the uppermost. And every
one having his nose, and particular Receiver. They fit them to the vessel
with a long neck set them on, bind them and Lute them, that they have no
vent. The water which Distilled out of the uppermost head, is clearest and
most perfect. That out of the lowest, more imperfect, and must be reserved
asunder, for they will be of different estimation. The highest will be
clear from all Phlegm, the lower full of it, the middle in a mean between
"How to make Aqua Vitae of new Wine ."
It may be done without the charge of charge of coals and wood, neither does
it require the attendance of a learned artist, but of an ignorant clown, or
a woman. For this spirit is drawn out merely by the vehement working of
Nature, to free herself without any other help whatever. When the Wine is
run out of the press into the Hogshead, and other vessels, and begins to
purge, place an earthen neck, or one of wood, being two cubits in length,
upon the Bung hole of the vessel. Set the cap upon the neck, and Lute the
joints very close, that there be no vent. Set the Receiver under the nose
to take the water which flows down. Thus thine exaltations being elevated
by the working spirits of the Wine, are converted into water, merely for the
work of Nature, without the help of fire, which therefore has his
particular virtues, which we will pass over now, and mention them in another
"How to Distil with the heat of the Sun."
We may Distil not only with fire, but with the Sun and Dung. But the last
taints the Distilled waters with a scurvy scent. The Sun extracts the best
water, and is very useful for many medicines. The heat of the fire changes
the nature of things, and causes hot and fiery qualities in them. Wherefore
in all medicines for the eyes, we must use waters extracted from the Sun.
For others do fret and corrode the eye, these are more gentle and soft. The
Sun extracts more water then the fire, because the vapors do presently
condense and drop down, which they do not over the fore, because they are
driven up with a force, and stick to the sides of the Stillatory, and fall
down again into the bottom. There are other advantages which shall be
explicated in their proper places. Besides, it is good husbandry. For the
work is done without wood, coals, or labor. It is but filling the vessels
with the ingredients, and setting them in the Sun, and all the pains is
past. Therefore to explain the manner in a few words. Prepare a form of
three foot in height, two in breadth, and of a length proportional to the
number of vessels you intend to set to work. If many, make it longer, if a
few, let it be shorter. Board up that side next to the Sun, lest the heat
does warm the Receivers, and make the water ascend again. In the middle of
the upper plank of the form, make several holes for the necks of the glasses
to pass down through. When the Sun has passed Gemini, (for this must be
performed in the heat of summer only) set your form abroad in the Sun.
Gather your herbs before the sunrise, pick them and cleanse them from dust
and dirt of men's feet, from the urine and ordure of worms and other
creatures, and such kind of filth and pollutions. Then, lest they should
and soil the water, shake them, and wipe them with cloths, and lastly, wash
your hands, and then dry them in the shade. When they are dried, put them
into the glasses, take some wire Cithern strings, and wind them into round
clues, so that being let go, they may untwine themselves again. Put one of
these into the mouth of each glass, to hinder the herbs from falling out,
when the glasses are turned downwards. Then thrust the necks through the
holes of the form into the Receivers, which are placed underneath, and admit
them into their bellies. Fasten them together with linen bands, that there
may be no vent. And place the Receivers in dishes of water, that the vapor
may the sooner be condensed. All things being thus provided, expose them to
most violent heat of sunbeams. They will presently dissolve them into
vapors, and slide down into the Receivers. In the evening, after sunset,
remove them, and fill them with fresh herbs. The herb Polygonum, or
Sparrows-tongue, bruised, and thus Distilled, is excellent for the
inflammation of the eyes and other diseases. Out of St. Johnswort, is drawn
a water good against cramps, if you wash the part affected with it. And
others also there are, too long to rehearse. The manner of Distilling, this
"How to draw Oil by Expression."
We have treated of waters, now we will speak of Oils, and next of essences.
These require the industry of a most ingenious artificer. For many the most
excellent essences of things, do remain in the Oil, as in the radical
moisture, so close, that without the greatest art, wit, cunning, and pains,
they cannot be brought to light. So that the whole art of Distillation
depends on this. The chiefest means is by Expression, which, though it be
different from the art of Distillation, yet because it is necessary to do
it., it will not be unnecessary to mention here. The general way of it, is
this. Take the seeds out of which you would draw Oil, blanch them, and
strip them of their upper coats, either by rubbing them with your hands, or
picking them off with your nails. When they are cleansed, cast them into a
Marble Mortar, and beat them with a wooden Pestle. Then sprinkle them with
Wine, and change them into a leaden Mortar. Set them on the fire, and stir
them with a wooden spoon. When they begin to yield forth a little oiliness,
take them from the fire, and prepare in readiness two plates of iron of a
fingers thickness and a foot square. Let them be smooth and plain on one
side, and heated so that you can scarce lay your finger on them, or, if you
had rather, that they may hiss a little when water is cast upon them. Wrap
the almonds in a Linen cloth being wetted, squeeze them between these plates
in a press. Save the Expression, and then sprinkle more Wine on the pressed
Almonds or seeds. Allow them some time to imbibe it. Then set them on the
fire, stir them, and squeeze them again, as before, until all the Oil is
squeezed out. Others put the seeds when they are bruised and warmed, into a
bag that will not let the Oil strain through, and by twining two sticks
about, press them very hard and close. Then they draw the Oil out of them,
when they are a little settled.
"To draw oil out of Nutmegs."
Beat the Nutmegs very carefully in a mortar, put them into a skillet, and
warm them, and then press out the Oil which will presently congeal.
Wherefore, to make it fluid and more likely to penetrate, Distil it five or
six times in a Retort, and it will be as you desire. Or else, cast some
burning sand into it, and mix it, and make it into rolls, which being put
into the neck of a Retort, and a fire kindled, will the first time remain
"To Extract Oil out of Citron seed."
We must use the same means. Blanch and cleanse them. An Oil of gold color
will flow out. They yield a fourth part, and it is a powerful Antidote
against Poison and Witchcraft, and it is the best Menstruum to extract the
scent out of Musk, Civet and Amber, and to make sweet ointments of, because
it does not quickly grow rank.
"Oil of Poppy seed."
Is extracted the same way, and yields a third part of a golden color, and
useful in dormitive medicines. Also, this is made,
"Oil of Coloquintida seeds."
The fairest yield a sixth part of a golden color. It kills worms, and
expels them from the children, being rubbed on the mouth of their stomach.
"Oil of Nettle Seed."
An ounce and a half may be extracted out of a pound and a half of seeds,
being picked and blanched. It is very good to dye women's hair of a gold
"Oil of Eggs."
Is made by another art. Take fifty or sixty Eggs, boil them till they are
hard. Then peal them, and take out the yolk. Set them over warm coals in a
tinned Posnet, till all their moisture be consumed, still stirring them with
a wooden Spattle. Then increase the fire, but stir them continually lest
they burn. You will see Oil sweat out. When it is all come out, take away
the fire, and skim off the Oil. Or, when the Oil begins to sweat out, as I
said, put the Eggs into a press, and squeeze them very hard. They will
yield more Oil, but not so good.
"How to Extract Oil with water."
Now I will declare how to Extract Oil without Expression. And first, out of
spices, seeds, leaves, sticks, or anything else. Oil being to be drawn out
only by the violence of fire, and very unapt to ascend, because it is dense.
Considering also, that aromatic seeds are very subtle and delicate. So that
if they be used too roughly in the fire, they will stink of smoke and
burning. Therefore, that they may endure a stronger fire, and be secure
from burning, we must make the assistance of water. Those kinds of seeds,
as I said, are endued with an airy, thin, volatile essence. And by the
propriety of their nature, elevated on high, so, that in Distillation, they
are easily carried upward, accompanied with water, and being condensed in
the cap of the Stillatory, the oily and watery vapors, run down together
into the Receiver. Choose your seeds of a full ripeness, neither too new,
nor too old, but of a mature age. Beat them and Macerate them in four times
their weight of water, or so, that the water may arise the breadth of four
fingers above them. Then put them into a Brass pot, that they may endure
the greater fire. And kindle your coals into a vehement heat, that the water
and Oil may ascend and slow down. Separate the Oil from the water, as you
may easily do. As for example,
"How to draw Oil out of Cinnamon."
If you first Distil Fountain water twice or thrice, you may extract a
greater quantity of Oil with it. For being made more subtle, and apt to
penetrate, it pierces the Cinnamon, and draws the Oil more forcibly out of
its retirements. Therefore, take CXXXV pounds of Fountain water, Distil it
in a glass Alembick. When forty pounds are drawn, Distil that until fifteen
flow out. Then cast away the rest, and draw five out of those fifteen.
This being done, Macerate one pound of Cinnamon in five of water, and Distil
them in a Retort or Alembick. First, a milky water will flow out with the
Oil, next clear water. Cast the water in over the Oil, and separate them as
we shall teach you. Of a pound of Cinnamon, you will scarce receive a
Drachm of Oil.
"How to draw a greater quantity of Oil out of Cinnamon."
I used to do it in this manner, to the wonder of the best and subtlest
artists. Provide a Descendatory out of the bath, (the making of which, I
will show hereafter) and put your Cinnamon, being grossly beaten into a
glass Retort. Set it in its proper place, and put water into the bath; the
heat of the fire by degrees, will draw a little water in many days. Receive
it carefully, and pour it again into the Cinnamon that it may reimbibe its
own water, so let it remain a while. Afterwards, kindle the fire, and you
shall receive a little water and Oil. Do this a third and fourth time, and
you will gain an incredible quantity. You may try the same in other things.
"Oil of Cloves."
May be extracted in the same manner. To every pound of Cloves, you must add
ten of water, Distil them as before. So shall you have both water and Oil.
It will yield a twelfth part. The Oil is good for medicines, and the water
for sauces. So also is made,
"Liquid oil of Nutmegs."
If you bruise them, and put them with the water into a vessel, and Distil
them as before, they will yield a sixth part.
"Oil of Mace and Pepper."
Is drawn in the manner, much stronger, but in less quantity.
"Oil of Anis Seed."
May be thus extracted, an ounce out of a pound. It congeals in winter like
Camphire or snow. In the summer it dissolves. Let the seeds be Macerated
in water for ten days at least. For the longer they lie there, the more Oil
they will yield.
"Oil of Fennel."
Is extracted in the same quantity. When the seeds are ripe and fresh, they
have most Oil, for they yield as much more.
"Oil of Coriander."
This yields but a small quantity, and is of very hard extraction. There is
scarce one Drachm drawn out of a pound. New seeds yield most. And to be
short, in the same manner are extracted the Oils out of the seeds of Carrot,
Angelica, Marjoram, Rue, Rosemary, Parsley, Smallage and Dill, and suchlike.
"Oil of Rosemary and Lavender flowers,"
And such others, which being dried, afford no Oil, may be thus extracted.
Put the flowers into a Receiver, and set it close stopped in the hot Sun for
a month. There will they dissolve into liquor, and fly up to the sides of
the glass. Then being condensed again, fall down and Macerate in
themselves. At a fit time, add water to them and Distil them, as the
former. So shall you draw forth with the water a most excellent sweet Oil.
"Oil of Juniper and Cypress wood."
May be drawn out by the same art, if you Macerate the dust of them in their
own or in Fountain water for a month, and Distil them in the same manner.
The Oil will come out by drops with the water, of a strong scent, and
excellent virtue. These I have tried, the rest I leave to you.
"How to Separate Oil from Water."
When we Extract Oils, they run down into the Receiver together with the
water. They must then be separated, lest the Phlegm, being mixed with the
Oil does weaken the virtue of it. That it may obtain its full vigor, it
must be purified by Distillation and separation. For being put into a
Retort or broad Stillatory, over a gentle fire, the water will run out, and
the remaining liquor will be clear Oil. This work of separation is very
laborious. Yet there are very artificial vessels invented, by the help of
which, all the water may be drawn off, and the Phlegm, only pure Oil will
remain. Prepare a glass vessel. Let it be broad and grow narrower by
degrees downwards, until it comes to a point, like unto a tunnel. Put the
Distilled water, which contains of the phlegmatic water and Oil into this
vessel, let it stand a while. But stop the mouth of it with your finger, so
that removing it away, the water may first run out, and the Oil sink down by
degrees. When it is descended into the narrow part, so that the Oil becomes
next to your finger, stop the hole, and let the orifice be but half open for
the water to pass out. When it has all run out, empty the Oil into another
vessel. There is another very ingenious instrument found our for to
separate Oil, with a great belly and a narrow neck, which a little nose in
the middle. Pour the Oil mixed with water into the vessel, the water will
possess the bottom, the Oil the neck. Drop water gently into it, until the
Oil ascends up to the nose. Then incline the vessel downward, and the Oil
will run out clear and unmixed. When you have emptied out some, drop in
more water, until the Oil be raised again up in the nose. Then stop it
down, and pour out the rest of the Oil. But if the Oil settles to the
bottom, and the water swims on the top, as very often happens, filtrate it
into a broad dish, or any other vessel with a cotton cloth. The water will
run out, and the Oil will remain in the bottom very pure.
"How to make an instrument to Extract Oil in a greater quantity and without
danger of burning."
We may with several sorts of instruments, use several kinds of extractions.
Among the rest, I found out one, whereby you may draw Oil with any the most
vehement fire without danger of burning, and a greater quantity, then by any
other. And it is fit for many other uses also. Prepare a vessel in the
form of an Egg, of the capacity of half an ordinary barrel. Let the mouth
of it, be of a convenient bigness to receive in your arm, when there shall
be occasion to wash it, or to fill it with several sorts and degrees of
things to be Distilled. Let it be tinned within, then set a Brass head on
it of a foot high, with a hole in the bottom fit to receive the neck of the
lower vessel, and stop the mouth of it exactly. Out of the top of the head,
there must arise a pipe of Brass, fifteen or twenty foot long, bent into
several angles that it may take up less room, and be more convenient to be
carried. The other end of this pipe, must be fastened into the belly of
another vessel, which must be of lesser capacity then the former, but of the
same figure. Fix a head upon this also, with a pipe of the same length, and
bent like the former, whose lower end shall be received into another
straight pipe, which passing through the middle of a barrel, at last falls
into the Receiver. The manner of using it is this; Put your leaves,
stalks, or seeds, being beaten small, into the Brass pot, and pour as much
Fountain water on as will cover them a handful or five large fingers over,
then set on the head, and stop the joints very close. Put the other end of
the pipe into the other pot, and joint them exactly. Then set on the other
head, and fasten the lower end of its crooked pipe into that straight one,
which passing through the barrel, runs into the Receiver. If the joints are
anywhere faulty, stop them with flax, and paste them with wheat flour, and
the white of an Egg, then roll them about and tie them close with fillets,
cut out of a bladder. For when the vapors are forced by the heat of the
fire, they are so attenuated, that they will break forth through the least
rim or chink, in spite of all your endeavors. Fill the barrel with cold
water, and when it begins to grow hot, draw it out through a cock at the
bottom, and supply fresh water, that the pipe may always be kept cool. At
length, make the pot boil, at first with a gentle fire, then increase them
by degrees, until the vehemence of the heat, does make the vapors hiss as it
were ready to break the pipes, as they run through them, so they will be
elevated through the retorted pipes, and leave the Phlegmatick water in the
lower vessel, till passing through the cold pipe. They will be condensed
into liquor, and all down into the Receiver. If the water does consumes
away in the boiling, pour in more being first warmed, through a little pipe
which the pot must have on one side with a spigot to it for this purpose.
But be sure to stop the spigot very close, that there may be no vent.
Afterwards, separate the Oil from the water, Sublime and purify it in
another vessel. Of all the instruments that I ever saw, not any one of them
extracted a greater quantity of Oil, and with less labor and industry then
this. Thus you may without any fear of burning, draw Oil out of flowers,
leaves, spices, Gums, and wood with the most vehement fires, as also out of
Juniper and Laurel berries.
"The description of a Descendatory, whereby Oil is extracted by descent."
I cannot refrain from describing here an instrument found out by my own
private experience, which I hope will be of no small profit to the
ingenious. By which they may draw Oil out of any the least of things
without any fear of burning. For there are many tenuous, oily flowers, as
of Rosemary and Juniper, and other things, as Musk, Amber, Civet, Gum and
suchlike out of which may be drawn oils very sweet and medicinable. But
they are of so thin a substance, that there is a very great hazard of
burning them, when they are forced by the heat of the fire without which,
neither fat things will be elevated, nor extracted. Therefore to remedy
these inconveniences, I have invented an instrument, by which oil shall
descend without any labor or danger of burning. Let a vessel be made of
Brass, in the form of an Egg, two foot high, and of the same breadth. Let it
be divided towards the top, of which the upper part most serve for a cover,
and be so fitted to be received into the lower part, that the joints may
closely fall in one another, and be exactly stopped. In the lower part,
towards the middle, about half a foot from the mouth, let there be a Copper
plate fitted, as it were the midriff, so that it may easily be put and taken
out. In which there must be made three hollow places to receive the bottom
of three retorted vessels, the rest of the plate must be previous, that the
boiling water and hot spirits may have passage to rise upwards. Out of the
sides of the vessel there must be three holes, through the which the necks
of the Retorts may pass, being glued and fastened to their pipes and Flax,
and tied with fillets of bladders. So that not the least air, much less any
water may leak out. When you prepare to work, fill the glass Retorts with
the things you intend to still, thrust the necks through the holes outward,
and lay their bodies in the prepared hollowness of the cross plate, somewhat
elevated. If there remain any void space between the necks, and the sides
of the holes they pass through, stop it with flax, and tie it about with
fillets of bladder, and fill the vessel with water, within three fingers up
to the cross plate. The vessel, being covered, and the joints well stopped
and glued, and bound about, so that the force of the vapors arising, may not
burst it open, and scald the faces of the bystanders, kindle the fire by
degrees, until it becomes very vehement. Then will the vapors make a great
noise, almost sufficient to terrify one. First water, then water and Oil
will Distil out. I cannot contain myself from relating also another
instrument invented for the same purpose. Make an oval Brass vessel, as I
advised before, with a hole bored through the bottom. To which fasten a
pipe that may arise up to the mouth of the vessel under, may by degrees
receive the swelling parts of the neck. Adapt a cover to this vessel that
it may be close stopped and Luted as we said before. You must make a
furnace on purpose for this use. For the fire must not be made in the
bottom, but about the vessel. The use is this; fill the glass with flowers
or other things, put in some wire Lute-strings after them, that they may not
fall out again when the glass is inverted. Thrust the neck through the
Brass pipe. Put on the cover, and plaster it about. Set the Receiver under
the furnace that it may catch the falling water and Oil. Then kindle the
fire about the sides of the pot, the violence of which, will elevate vapors
of burning water, which, beating against the concave part of the cover, will
be reverberate upon the bottom of the gourd glass, whose fervent heat, will
turn the water and Oil into vapor, and drive it down into the Receiver. I
will set down some examples of those things which I made myself a trial of.
"How to Extract Oil out of Rosemary flowers."
Fill the Retorts with the leaves and flowers of Rosemary, and set them in
the Brass furnace. The fire being kindled will force out first a water, and
afterwards a yellow Oil, of a very strong and fervent odor, a few drops of
which, I have made use of in great sicknesses, and driving away cruel pains.
You may extract it easier, if you Macerate the flowers or leaves in their
own, or Fountain water, for a week. In the same manner,
"Oil of Citron Pill,"
Is extracted when Citrons have come to perfect ripeness. Shave off the peal
with a gross Steel file. Put the filings into a pot, and set them to
Macerate ten days in Dung, being close stopped up. Then accommodate them to
the furnace, and kindle fire. An Oil mixed with water Distils out with a
most pleasant scent. The same may be done with Orange and Lemon peal. In
places where flowers and fruits are not to be had, they cut off the tops of
branches and tendrils, and slice them into four inch pieces, and so Distil
"Oil of Roses, and Citron flowers."
Is drawn after the same sort, a most excellent Oil, and of an admirable
favor. But because the Oil is very hardly distinguished from the water,
pour the water into a long glass with a narrow neck, and expose it to the
Sun being close stopped. The Oil will by little and little, ascend to the
top, which you must gather off with a Feather or pour out by inclining the
"Sweet Oil of Benjamin."
Is to be made by putting Benjamin into a glass Retort, and fitting it to the
furnace. Then increase the fire without any fear of combustion, and you
will obtain a fragrant Oil, to be used in precious ointments. So Oil of
Storax, Calamite, and Labdanum, and other Gums. So also,
"Oil of Musk, Amber, and Civit."
Cannot be Extracted more commodiously by any instrument, art or labor, then
by the aforesaid, for they are of so thin a substance, that they can hardly
endure any but the least heat, without contracting a scurvy base stink of
burning. Yet by this artifice, it may be drawn out very safely. I see
nothing to the contrary, but that we may Extract Oil out of spices also,
very securely by the same artifice.
"How to Extract Oil out of Gums."
There is a peculiar extraction of Oil of gums, which, although they require
the same means almost as the former, that is, the mixing them with waters,
and macerating them for many days, then putting them in a Brass pot, and by
a vehement fire, forcing out the Oil with the water. Yet it does come out
but in a small quantity of an excellent odor, and free from the stink of the
fire, as thus they deal with Opoponax, Galbanum, Storax and others. But
they are distilled also another way, by ashes, which does require the
diligent attendance of the workman, and a singular judgment and provident
dexterity in him. For it is rather an ingenious then painful operation. I
will set down an example,
"How to Extract Oil out of Benjamin."
Macerate the Benjamin in Rosewater, or omitting that, put it into a Retort.
Set the Retort into a pot full of sand, so that it may fill up the space
between the sides of the pot, and bottom of the Retort. Put the neck of it
into a Receiver with a wide belly. Kindle the fire by little and little,
and without any haste or violence of heat, let the water Distil. By and by
increase the fire that the Oil may flow out, yet not too intensely, for fear
of burning, but moderately between both. The oily vapors will straight fill
all the Receiver, then will they be condensed and turn into flakes like
wool, and sticking to the sides and middle of the glass, present you with a
pleasant spectacle. By and by they are turned into little bubbles, so into
Oil , and fall down to the bottom. Keep the fire in temper, until all the
feces are dried, then remove it, for fear of ustion.
"Oil of Storax,"
Is drawn in the same manner, but if the Storax be liquefied, it will run
with a gentle fire. It is of a strong and quick odor. Calamites requires a
more lively fire, such as was used in Benjamin, and a diligent attendance.
For too much fire will cause adustion on it.
"Oil of Laudanum."
Beat the Laudanum, and Macerate it fifteen days in Aqua Vita,, or Greek
wine, at least ten. For the longer it infuses, the sooner it will run into
Oil. Draw it with a gentle fire, it will distill out by drops after the
"Oil of Turpentine."
Is extracted easily, for it flows with a gentle fire. But beware in the
operation, that no smoke evaporates out of it, for it will presently take
fire, and with a magnetic virtue attract the flame, and carry it into the
Retort, where it will hardly be extinguished again. Which will happen in
the extraction of,
"Oil of Olives, and Linseed Oil."
If you Distil common Oil, it will hardly run. Yet increasing the fire, it
will come out in six hours. You must be very careful, that the ashes and
pot do not wax too hot. For if the Oil with take fire, it will break the
vessels, and fly up, that it can hardly be quenched, and reach the very
ceiling, so that it is best to operate upon Oils in arched rooms. From
hence artificers of fireworks, learned to put Oil in their compositions,
because it quickly takes fire, and is hardly extinguished.
"Several arts how to draw Oils out of other things."
The nature of things being diverse, does require divers ways of distilling
Oil out of them. For some being urged by fire, are Sublimed, and will not
dissolve into Liquor. Others cannot endure the fire, but are presently
burned. From which variety of tempers, there must arise also a variety in
the manner of Extraction. I will set down some examples of these, that
ingenious artists may not despair to draw Oils out of anything whatever.
"Oil out of Honey"
Is hard enough to be Extracted. For it swells up with the least heat, and
rises in bubbles. So that it will climb up through the neck of the Retort,
though it be never so long, into the head, and fall into the Receiver before
it can be dissolved into Liquor or Oil. There are diverse remedies found
out to help this. Take a glass with a short wide neck, put your Honey into
it, and stop it in with Flax quite overlaid two fingers thick. This will
repress the Honey when it swells and froths, and make it sink down again.
Clear water will drop out at first. But when it begins to be colored, take
away the Receiver, and set another in the place, so to keep the waters
severally. Or put Honey into any vessel, so that it may fill it up four
large fingers above the bottom, and cover it close, as the manner is. Then
dig a hole in the ground, and set the vessel in, as far as the Honey rises.
Then Lute and plaster it about four fingers above the ground, and dry it
well. Kindle your coal round about it. Then the Honey will grow hot, and
by degrees stick to the pot. But because the heat is above it, it cannot
swell up, but very easily distills water and Oil. First, yellow, next
reddish, until the Honey is turned into a very coal. There is another way,
which may be performed by any woman. Pour the Honey into a new Pipkin, and
cover it. Dig a hole, and bury it abroad about a cubit under ground. There
let it putrefy for ten days. Then take it up, and there will swim on the
top of the Honey a crystal Liquor, which you must strain out, and stop the
Pipkin again, and bury it as before. About a week after, view it again, and
strain out the over-flowing water. So the third and fourth time, until all
the Honey is converted into water, which you may see by uncovering the
Pipkin. Distil the water according to art, and it will yield water and Oil
"Oil of Camphire."
Beat Camphire very small, and put it into common Aqua Fortis, made of
Saltpeter, and Coppress Distilled and clarified. Set the pot in a bath or
stove for half a day, and you will see a clear bright Oil swim on the top of
the water. Incline the pot gently, and pour it off, and clarify it in a
Retort. so shall you have a beautiful, thin and sweet Oil.
"Oil of Paper and Rags."
Roll up your paper like a pyramid, as grocers do, when they lap up anything
to lay by, or send abroad. Clip the edges even. And taking a hold of the
top of it with a pair of Pincers. Set it on fire with a candle. And while
it flames, hold it downward over a broad dish half a finger distant from the
bottom, so that the smoke may hardly fly out. And still as the fire
consumes the paper, let your hand sink, that may always keep the same
distance from the dish. When it is quite burned, you will find a yellow Oil
, stinking of burning, upon the bottom of the dish. Gather it up, and
reserve it. It is excellent to drive away Freckles and Pimples in women's
faces, being applied. Almost in the same manner,
"Oil of Wheat ."
Lay your Wheat plain upon a Marble Mortar, being turned with the bottom
upwards, and cover it with a plate of Iron, almost red hot, and press it
hard. Out of the sides there will be expressed an Oil of a yellow color,
and stinking of burning, which is good for the same purposes. That which is
good to refresh decayed Spirits, is prepared another way.
"How to Extract Oil by Descent."
The way is common and vulgar to all. For it is done by Ustulation. But the
Oils are of a most offensive favor, and can be used only in outward
medicines. For they are not to be taken inwardly. Prepare a Pipkin of
tough Clay, and able to endure fire, well Vernished within, that there may
be no suspicion of running out. Let the bottom be full of holes, set upon
another earthen Pipkin whose mouth is large enough to receive the bottom of
the upper Pipkin. Lute them close together. Fill the Pipkin with slices of
your Wood. Cover it and Lute it. Then dig a hole, and set the Pipkins into
it, and fling in the earth about it, and tread it down close and throw sand
over it two inches thick. Make a gentle fire just over the Pipkin, which you
must increase by degrees, until the Pipkins have stood there a whole day.
After this, remove the fire. And when the heat is spent, dig up the
Pipkins, and you will find the Oil strained down into the lower. Which you
must Distil again in a Retort, to purify from filth. To add something to
the former invention, I always do thus. I make a Trestle with legs of two
foot in length. There must a hole be bored in the plank of it, to receive
the neck of the Limbeck. Upon the Trestle fasten an Iron plate to keep the
wood from burning. Underneath, about the middle of the feet, fasten a
board, upon which the Receiver may stand, and meet with the neck of the
inverted vessel. Which being filled with the materials to be stilled.
Kindle a fire about it. Therefore you would extract,
"Oil out of Lingnum Guaiacum,"
Fill it with the dust of Lingnum Guaiacum, and Lute it close with Straw
Mortar, twice or thrice double. When it is dried in the Sun, put into the
neck, wire strings, and thrust it through the hose of the Trestle into the
mouth of the Receiver, and Mortar them together. The kindle the fire on the
plate about the body of the Limbeck, at some distance at first, and by
degrees closer and hotter. But let it not be red hot, until you think it is
all burned. Then remove from the fire, and let it rest a while, until it is
cold, and you shall find in the lower vessel a black stinking burnt Oil. In
this manner is Oil drawn out of Juniper, Cypress, and Lingnum Aloes. But in
this last, you must use art and diligence, and a gentle fire, because it is
mixed in Ointments.
"Of the Extraction of Essences."
We have delivered the several kinds of extractions of Oils, now we are come
to Quintessence's, the extraction of which, we will here declare. The
Paracelsians define a Quintessence to be the form, or spirit, or virtue, or
life, separated from the gross and elementary impurities of the body. I
call it the life, because it cannot be extracted out of the bones, flesh,
marrow, blood, and other members. For wanting life, they want also the
Quintessence. I say, separated from elementary impurities, because when the
Quintessence is extracted, there remains only a mass of elements void of all
power. For the power, virtue, and medicinable qualities, are not the
elements, but in their Essences, which yet are elements, and contain the
virtues of the elements in them, in the highest degree. For being separated
from the grossness of their bodies, they become spiritual, and put forth
their power more effectually and strongly when they are freed from them,
then they could while they were clogged with the elements. They are small
in bulk, but great in operation. The strength of Quintessence's, is not to
be judged by the degrees of their qualities, but of their operation. For
those which soonest and clearest root out a disease, are reckoned in the
first degree. So the Essence of Juniper, is reckoned the first degree of
operation, because it cures the Leprosy by purging the blood only. The
Essence of Amber in the second, because it expels Poison, by purging the
heart, lungs, and members. Antimony in the third, because (beside the
former virtues) it also purges the body. But Gold of itself alone, has all
those virtues, and renews the body. Wherefore the fourth degree and greatest
power, is attributed to it. But how to extract these Essences is a very
difficult work. For they may be either Oil, or Salt, or water, or of
Extraction. Some, by Sublimation, others, by Calcination. Others, by
Vinegar, Wine, corrosive waters, and such-like. So that several kinds of
Menstruums are to be provided according to the Nature and temper of things.
I will set down some things which are most agreeable to the things to be
Extracted, and as simple as may but. For Essences ought not to be
compounded, mixed, or polluted with anything, be pure, simple and
immaculate. But if there is a necessity of adding something let them be
separated after Extraction. If the Essence of any metal is to be Extracted
by Corrosives, separate the Salt from the waters, after the work is done,
and use those Salts only, which will easily be taken out again. Vitriol and
Allom are very difficult to be separated, by reason of their earthy
substance. Moreover, use not a watery Menstruum, for a watery Essence. Nor
a oily Menstruum, for and oily Essence being of like natures, they are not
easily separated. But watery Menstruums for oily Essences. And so on the
contrary. I will set before you some examples in Herbs, fat of flesh, and
other things by which you may learn of yourself how to perform it in the
rest. There are an infinite number of Essences, and almost as many ways of
Extraction. Of them, some I shall show unto you, whereof the first shall
"How to Extract the Essence out of Civet, Musk, Amber, and other spices."
Take Oil of Ben, or of Almonds, mix Musk, Amber, Cinnamon, and Zedoary, well
beaten in it. Put it in a glass bottle, and set it in the Sun, or in
Balneo, ten days. Then strain from it the Dregs, and the Essence will be
imbibed into the Oil. From which you may separate it in this manner. Take
Aqua Vita, and if it be an odoriferous body, Fountain water, three or four
times Distilled. Mix with the aforesaid Oil, and stir it about, and so let
it digest for six days. Then Distil it over Cinders. The hot water and the
Essence will ascend, and the Oil remain in the bottom without any scent.
Afterwards, Distil the Aqua Vita, and the Essence in Balneo, until the water
be evaporated, and the Essence settles to the bottom in the form of Oil. If
you will do it with Aqua Vita alone, slice the roots of Zedoary, and beat
them and Infuse them in so much Aqua Vita as will cover them three fingers
over in a glass bottle. Let them Ferment for ten days according to Art.
Then Distil them over it. Take the Distilled Liquor, set it in Balneo. And
with a gentle fire, let the Aqua Vita evaporate, and the Quintessence of
Zedoary will settle in the bottom, in a liquid form. Next,
"To Extract Essence out of flesh."
Out of three Capons, I have often Extracted an Essence in a small quantity,
but of great strength and nutriment, wherewith I have recovered the life and
strength to sick persons, whose stomachs were quite decayed. And they
almost were dead for want of nourishment, having not been able to eat any
things in three days. Take Chickens, or Hens, or Capons. Pluck them, and
draw their guts out. Beat them well, and let them boil a whole day in a
glass vessel, close stopped over warm embers until the bones, and flesh, and
all substance be dissolved into Liquor. then strain it into another vessel
through a Linen cloth and fling away the Dregs. For the remaining bones are
so bereft of flesh, scent, or any other quality, that a Dog will not so much
as smell to them. Which is an assured argument that their goodness is
boiled out. Pour the strained Liquor into a glass bottle, and dissolve it
into a vapor in a gentle bath. The Essence will remain in the bottom,
either hard, or soft, like an Ointment, as you please, of a most admirable
virtue, and never sufficiently to be commended.
"To Extract Essences out of Salts."
Take Salt and Calcine it according to Art. If it is volatile, burn it, and
grind it very small. Lay the powder upon a Marble in a moist cellar, and
set a pan under it to receive it as it dissolves. Let it Ferment in that
pan for a month. Then set it in Balneo, and with a gentle fire let it
Distil. Cast away the sweet water, that comes from it, and set that which
remains in the bottom, to Ferment another month, the Distil out the sweet
water, as before. And do this, while any sweet water will run from it.
Keep it over the fire until the moisture is all consumed. And then what
remains settled in the bottom, is the Quintessence of Salt. Which will
scarcely arise to two ounces out of a pound.
"To Extract Essences out of Herbs."
Beat the Herbs, and set them to Ferment in Dung for a month in a convenient
glass bottle. Then distil them in Balneo. Again, set them in Dung for a
week, and distil them in Balneo again. And thus macerate them so long as
they will yield any Liquor. Then pour the Distilled water upon the herbs
again, and Distil them in this Circulation for six days, which will make it
of a more lively color. Draw of the water by Balneum, and the Essence must
then be Expressed out in a press. Ferment it in Dung for five days, and it
will yield you the scent, color and virtues of the Herbs in perfection. A
way to extract,
"The Essence of Aqua Vita."
It is a thing bragged of by thousands, but not effected by any. I will not
omit the description of it, which I have found out, together with a friend
of mine very knowing in experiments, by the assistance of Lulius. Provide
some rich, generous, old Wine. Bury it in Dung for two months in large
bottles close stopped and Luted, that they may not have the least vent. The
whole business depends on this. For if this is not carefully looked into,
you will lose both your cost, and your labor. The month being past, Distil
it in a an ordinary Stillatory. Reserve the Spirits by themselves. The
Dregs and Faeces of the Wine must be buried again, and the Spirits be
Distilled out as before, and reserved by themselves. Distil the Faeces
until they settle like Honey or Pitch. Then pour on the Phlegm upon them.
Wash them and lay them to dry. Then put them in a potter's, or glass
maker's furnace, and with a vehement fire burn them into white ashes. Wet
them with a little water, and set them in the mouth of the furnace, that
they may be converted into Salt. There is not better mark to know the
perfection of your work, then by casting some of it on a red hot plate of
Iron. If it melt and evaporate it is well done. Otherwise, you must
rectify it. Mix the Salt with water, and put it into a glass bottle with a
long neck. Stop it with a Cork and parchment. Then set on the head and
kindle the fire. The force of which will carry it up through all the
stoppage into the head, and there it sticks to the sides like dirt. The
water will remain quiet in the bottom, in which you must again mingle the
Salt. And so by a continual circulation, draw it out of itself, until it is
divested of all it grossness, and obtain a more thin and subtle Essence.
"What Magisteries are, and the Extraction of them."
I said, that Quintessence's do participate of the nature of mixed bodies.
On the contrary, a Magistery takes the temper of the elements. So, that it
neither extracts the Spirits nor the Tinctures, but a certain mean between
both. A Magistery therefore, is what can be extracted out of things without
separation of the elements. Essences do often keep the color of the bodies
out of which they are extracted. Tinctures always do it, Magisteries
never. the means of extracting Magisteries, are various, according to the
diversity of natures in things. I will set down for an example and pattern.
"How to Extract a Magistery of Gems, Coral and Pearl."
Beat the gems, and set them in Igne revererationsis, until they be Calcined.
Mix them with an equal quantity of Saltpeter, and dissolve them in Aqua
Vita. Pour out that which is liquefied, and let the remainder of the powder
be Calcined better. Then lay it in Aqua Vita again, and do this until all
is dissolved. Set this water in a hot furnace, until the moisture is all
evaporated. And what shall remain in the bottom, is the Magistery of gems.
Pearls must be dissolved in Vinegar. And if possible, in juice of Lemons.
You may augment the strength of the Vinegar by those things, which, as I
showed you in Aqua Vita. Which does quicken the virtue of it, that is, its
own Salt, being dissolved and Macerated in Balneo, or in Fimo, for a month.
Then Distil the Menstruum, and in the bottom will remain the Magistery of
I will deliver to you the way that I use. For the Paracelsians do either
conceal it, or not know it. Beat your Gum very small, and dissolve it in
Aqua Vita. When it is liquefied, pour that out, and put in fresh. Let them
Macerate for a month. And when all is dissolved, mix the waters all
together, and let it evaporate over a fire. So in the bottom will remain
the Magistery of Charabe. It will take away scars in the face and cure the
"The Magistery of Guaiacum."
Is a excellent remedy against the Pox, and is thus Extracted. Take the
shavings of Lingnum Guaiacum, or the dust of it, which the Turners work off.
For the file by continual friction, heats it, and exhausts the best Spirits.
Lay it in clarified Aqua Vita a whole day. When the water has contracted a
red color, which will be when it has sucked out the oiliness and substance
of it, strain it out, and pour in fresh. Then stir it about, until the
water becomes colored again. Strain that out also, and put in as much more,
until the water do not alter its color any more. Then strain it in a press,
and distil the juice through Linen cloth. And then boil it till the
moisture is consumed. The Oil, or Gum, or Magistery will remain of a bright
color, and most sweet scent, which you would think impossible to reside in
such wood. You may Extract the same in a shorter time, but it will not be
of the same value. For if you lay the dust of Guaiacum in Distilled
Fountain Water, boil it for half a day, strain it, and Distill it through a
cloth, and let the moisture evaporate over a fire, the same Gum will settle
in the bottom. You must choose the most gummy wood, which being held near a
candle, will sweat out a kind of Oil.
"The Magistery of Lingnum Aloes."
Take the shavings of the wood worked off, as the former, with a Turners
wheel. Lay in in Aqua Vita until it colors it. Then strain it out, and let
the moisture evaporate over a fire. and in the bottom of the glass, you will
find a most odoriferous Oil, excellent to be used in sweet Ointments.
"The Magistery of Wine, commonly called the Spirit of Wine."
I will first set down the Paracelsian way of extracting it. And afterwards
my own, because we cannot use that in our countries. Pour some strong
generous Wine into a glass bottle. so that it may fill two parts of it.
Stop the mouth of it very exactly, either with Hermitis Sigillum, or a
strong glue, which I will hereafter describe to you. And so set it in Fimo
three or four months, with an unintermitted fire. In the winter set it out
in the frost for a month, and let it freeze. The Spirit or Magistery will
retire into the center, because its fiery essence makes it incapable of
Conglaciation. Break the vessel, cast away the congealed part, and reserve
the liquid, which being circulated in a Pelican for a month, will yield you
what you seek. My way is, to put the aforesaid Wine into a round glass
vessel. Let it ferment in Fimo, Conglaciate it, as I shall show you. And
then breaking the vessel to reserve the unfrozen Liquor, in which you will
find a great deal of virtue. But if you desire to have it better, you may
perfect it by Circulation.
"How to Extract Tinctures."
A Tincture is the purest and most active part of a colored body extracted.
The noblest Essence of a compound. It is Extracted out of gems, flowers,
roots, seeds, and such-like. It differs from Quintessence thus, that it
especially draws the color of the body from whence it is Extracted. And
requires art and cunning, and diligent attendance, more then labor. It is
separated by Distillation, clear from any oiliness or matter. Free from the
commixtion of other elements, or any impure substance. It imitates the
clearness and perspicuity of the air. And in that brightness represents the
color of the gem or flower, from whence it is drawn. Of so pure a substance,
that in many years it will not have any Dregs in it, but will continue in a
perpetual clearness, subtlety, and strength. After the extraction, the
matter remains discolored, and useless for anything. I will present some
examples to you how to extract the Tincture out of metals and flowers, etc.
"How to draw out the Tincture of Gold."
If the Virtues of this never sufficiently praised metal, were known, as well
for the health of the body, as the convenience of men's living, it would be
adored with a greater devotion then it is already. The apes of wise
Nature, cunning inquirers in experiments, perceiving a certain glory and
brightness in Gold. And an attractive or magnetic Virtue, (if I may so say)
which at first sight draws every man's eye to look upon its majesty and
beauty. And tempts our hands to touch and handle it. And even our mind's
to desire it. So that even infants do rejoice, and laugh at the sight of
it. And reach their arms out after it, and catch it, and will no means part
from it. Presently conjectured, that there was some extraordinary Virtue in
it for the health of man. Astrologers, seeing it contend with the Sun in
beams, brightness and glory. And to have a prerogative of majesty among
metals, like the Sun among the stars. Do therefore set it down for a
Cordial, and a destroyer of Melancholy, and all the ill companions of it.
Refiners say, that the elements are so proportionally mixed in the
composition of it, so put and compacted, that they account it a most exactly
tempered body, and free from corruption. In which there is nothing deficien
t or so superfluous. So compact and close, that it will not only endure the
fire without consumption, but will become more bright and refined by it. It
will also lie under ground thousands of years without contracting any Rust.
Neither will it foul the hands like other metals, or has any ill scent or
taste in it. Wherefore, say they, being taken into our bodies, it must
needs reduce the elements and Humors into a right temper. Allay the
excessive, and supply the defective, take away all putrefaction. Refresh
the natural heat. Purge the blood and increase it. And not only cure all
sicknesses, but make us healthy, long lived, and almost immortal.
Rainoldus, Raimundus, and other Physicians of the best esteem, do attribute
to Gold, a power to corroborate and strengthen the heart, to dry up
superfluities and ill Humors. To exhilarate and liven the spirits with its
splendor and beauty. To strengthen them with is solidity. Temper them with
its equality and preserve them from all diseases. And expel excrements by
its weight. By which it confirms youth, restores strength, retards old age,
corroborates the principal parts, opens the urinary vessels, and all other
passages, being stopped. Cures the falling sickness, madness, and Leprosy,
(for which cause, Osiander the Divine wore a chain of Gold about his neck).
And also Melancholy. And is most excellent against Poison and infections of
the Plague. We will now examine whether the old or new Physicians knew the
way to prepare it correctly, to perform these admirable effects. Nicander
does mightily cry up for an Antidote against Poison, Fountain water in which
Gold had been quenched. Supposing, that it imparts some of its Virtue to
the water in the extinction. Dioscorides, Paulus Aegineta, and Aetius,
affirm the same. Avicenna says, that the filings of it helps Melancholy,
and is used also in Medicines for the shedding of the hair. In liquid
Medicines , or reduced into very fine powder, it is used in Collyriums, or
Medicines for the eyes, for the pain and trembling of the heart, and other
passions of the mind. Pliny uses it burnt in an earthen Pipkin, with a
treble quantity of Salt. Whereby it will communicate its Virtue, but
remains entire and untouched itself. He also makes a Decoction of it with
Honey. Marsilius Ficinus says, it is of a solid substance, and therefore
must be Attenuated, that it may penetrate the body. But he is ignorant of
the way of it. Only, he advises to give it in Cordial waters, being beaten
out of thin leaves. For so the water will suck out the Virtue of it. Or
else by extinguishing it in Wine. There are some of Pliny's scholars, who
would have the parts of a Hen laid in melted Gold, until it consumes itself.
For the parts of a Hen are Poison to Gold. Wherefore Ficinus mixes leaf
Gold in Capon broth. Thus far the Grecians, Latines, and Arabians, have
discoursed concerning the Extraction of the Tincture of Gold. But they have
eroded far from the truth. For what a vanity is it to imagine, that
quenching it in water, can Extract the Virtue of it? Or, that the heat of
man's body, though it be liquefied and made potable, can draw anything from
it, when the force of the most vehement fire is ineffectual and cannot work
upon it? I have made trial of it in a most violent fire for the space of
three months, and at last I found it nothing abated in weight, but much
meliorated in color and goodness. So that the fire, which consumes other
things, does make this more perfect. How then can it be concocted by the
heat of man's body, which is scarce able to concoct Bread? And how can it
impart is Virtue by Extraction, when neither Aqua Vita, nor any strong
waters can alter the color or taste of it? I will set down what I have
seen. The later learned men, and curious inquirers into Nature, affirm,
that the Magistery, secret and Quintessence of Gold, consists in the
Tincture. No small labor and pains. For those who pretend to speak of it,
do it so intricately and obscurely, that they rather seem to obscure it, or
not to understand it, that to discover or teach it. Know therefore, that
the Tincture cannot be Extracted, but by perfectly dissolving it in strong
waters. And that it cannot be dissolved, as the work requires, in common
Aqua Fortis, or Royal Waters. Because the corrosive Salts in them, are not
perfectly and absolutely dissolved into water. Wherefore you must learn by
continual solution and Immistion, so to Distil them, that the whole
substance of the Salt may be melted. Which must be done by reiterating the
operation. I have informed you, what Salts are easy to be separated, the
which must only be used in this work. After perfect solution, cast in that
Menstruum or water, which I have often mentioned for the Extraction of
Essences or colors. I have with great joy beheld it attract to itself the
golden, yellow, or red color, and a white dust settles down to the bottom.
We must then separate the Salt from the Menstruum. Dissolve it, and the
Liquor evaporate away. And there will remain true potable Gold, the right
Tincture, and that great Arcanum of Philosophers, disguised with so many
riddles. So thin, that it will easily penetrate the body, and perform those
wonders, which antiquity could only promise.
"Tincture of Roses."
Cut red Rose leaves with a pair of shears into small pieces. Lay them in
Aqua Fortis, and they will presently dye it with a sanguine color. After
three hours, change those leaves, and put in fresh ones. Until the water
becomes very much colored. Then strain it out, and let the Liquor evaporate
quite away, and in the bottom will remain the Tincture of Roses.
"Tinctures of Marigolds, Violets, Bugloss, and Succory flowers."
If you Extract them the former way. The Tincture of Marigolds will be
yellow. Of Bugloss, Violets, and Succory flowers red. Because the colors
of those flowers, is but thin and superficiary. So that it expires with
little heat, and is red underneath.
"Tincture of Orange flowers of an excellent scent."
Cut the Orange flowers into small pieces, Macerate them in Aqua Vita. And
when the water is turned yellow, and flowers have lost their scent, change
them, and put in fresh, until the water becomes very sweet and well colored,
and somewhat thick. Then strain it, and let it evaporate. It will leave
behind it a Tincture, enriched with the scent and virtues of the flowers.
"Tincture of Coral."
Beat the Coral to a powder, and with a vehement fire turn it into Salt. Add
an equal quantity of Saltpeter to it. Then Extract the Salt with Aqua Vita,
and it will bring out with it, the Tincture of a wonderful Virtue.
"How to Extract Salts."
Salts do retain the greatest part of the Virtue of those things, from whence
they are Extracted. And therefore are used so season the sick persons meat.
And other ways, because they have a penetrative quality. It was a great
question among the ancients, whether Salts retained the virtue of the
things, or, whether they lost some in the fire, and acquired others. But it
is now manifested by a thousand experiments, that the virtues do not only
remain in them, but are made quicker and more efficacious.
"Salt of Lemons."
Distil the Lemons with their peels and juice. Reserve the water, and dry
the rest in the Sun, if the season permits. Or do it in an oven. Put them
in a pot close Luted, and Calcine it in Igne reverberationis. Then dissolve
the powder in the water, and boil them in a perfect Lye. Cleanse it with a
Feather, that the Dregs may settle to the bottom. Purify it, and let the
Liquor evaporate. So the Salt will remain in the bottom, which is most
excellent to break the Stone in the bladder.
"Salt of Pellitory of Spain."
Dry the roots, and burn it in a close Luted pot for three days, until it has
been reduced to white ashes. Pour on its own Menstruum. Distil it, and
Calcine it again for the third time. Then cleanse it with a Feather. Boil
it in an earthen vernished Pipkin, with the white of an Egg to clarify the
Salt. At length, a white grained Salt will appear.
"Salt of Cumin."
Put the roots, leaves, and flowers in a close Luted vessel, and dry them.
Put them in a Potter's furnace until they are burned to ashes. In the
meanwhile, distil the roots, leaves and flowers. Or, if you please, make a
Decoction of them. And of that Decoction a sharp Lye. Which, being
strained very clean through a Linen cloth three or four times, must be
boiled to a Salt in a glass vessel. If you desire it very fine and white,
strew the Salt upon a Marble, and set it in a moist place with a pan
underneath to receive it as it dissolves. Cleanse the filth still away.
And so this three times, until it becomes a crystal color. So reserve. In
this manner Sal Alchali is made.
It is made like the former. If you season your meat with it, it protects
from all danger of poisoned bread or meat. Conserves from the contagion of
pestilential and infectious air. The same may be extracted out not other
Alexipharmacal bodies, which Princes may use at meals, instead of ordinary
Salt. For they scarce differ in taste. A Salt may be made of Thapsia. It
is very good to remove the Stone in the bladder or kidneys, and to dissolve
the Tartar, or viscous Concrescency. To kill the Worms, and purge the
blood. To provoke sweat by being often taken, and is admirable in Venereal
diseases. The Salt of Pimpernel, being taken three days, and the third
month, for a man's whole lifetime, secures him from the Dropsy, Pthisick,
and Apoplexy. It also preserves from infection had pestilent air. And
helps in the digestion in a weak stomach. But it is to be observed, that
these Salts must not be eaten every day, lest they become too familiar to
the stomach, and be taken for food. There may be a Salt also extracted out
of the filings of Lingnum Guaiacum, which is excellent in the French Pox,
being taken as the former. By these you may learn to make other Salts.
Elixirs are the conservators of bodies in the same condition wherein they
find them. For their virtue is to preserve from corruption, not by
meliorating their state, but by continuing it. And if by accident, they
cure any diseases, it is by reason of their tenuity. They have a double
virtue to preserve from sickness, and continue health, not only in men, but
to preserve plants also. They imitate the qualities of Balsam, and resort
chiefly to the heart, brain, and principal parts, where the spirits reside.
There are three kinds of Elixirs; of metals, of gems, and of plants; as of
roots, herbs, flowers, seeds, woods, gums and such-like. An Elixir differs
from Essences, Tinctures, and rest, because it is compounded of many things
void of fatness. Therefore it cannot be an Oil, because it wants
perspicuity and clearness. Not an Essence, because it is a Compound. Not a
Tincture, but a mean between all, and of a consistency most like to water.
Whence it had its name Ab eliquesco, to be dissolved or liquefied.
"To make Elixir of Pimpernel."
Dig up the roots in a convenient time and Macerate them in their water,
putting some weight on them to depress them under water. When the flowers
are blown gather them, and Macerate them in the same manner, in a peculiar
vessel. The same must be done with seeds. Then put them in an Alimbeck,
and draw out the water and Oil, until the Foeces remain dry. Then separate
the Oil from the water, and circulate it in a Pelican for two months. Then
take it out, and reserve it for your use.
"An Elixir of many things."
Many compositions of Elixir, are carried about, which are erroneous and
false to my knowledge. And of so hard a work to extract the Oil and water,
that you will more probably lose your time and cost, then gain any good by
them. For they are made for pomp and magnificence, rather then for the
benefit of man. Besides, I have found them often fail in the performance of
what was promised from them, and cannot be made according to those
descriptions. But here I will deliver one to you which will perform far
more then is promised. Take the flowers of Sage, Origanum, Mugwort, Savory,
Elder, Sage leaves, White Mint, Rosemary, Basil, Marjoram, Pennyroyal,
Rosebuds, the roots of Betony, Pellitory, Snake-weed, White Thistle,
Aristolochy, Elder, Cretan Dittany, Currants, Pineapples, Dates, Citron
Pill, of each an ounce and a half. Ginger, Cloves, Nutmegs, Zedoary,
Galangal, white and long Pepper, Juniper berries, Spikenard, Mace, Cubebs,
Parsley seed, Cardamoms, Cinnamon, Staechados, Germander, Granes, Rose of
Jerusalem, Doronicum, Ammoniac, Opoponax, Spodium, Schaeinanthus, Bdellium,
Mummy, Sagapenum, Camphire, Mastick, Frankincense, Aloes, powder of Ebony,
Bole-Armenick, Treacle, Musk, Galls, Mithridate, Lingnum Aloes and Saffron,
of each three Drachms. Of clarified Sugar, thirteen pounds. Of Honey two.
I exclude Pearl, Rubies, Jacinths, Sapphires, Emeralds and leaf Gold from
the composition, because, as I have proven before, they have no operation.
Especially, thus exhibited. And therefore are used in medicines by none but
ignorant Physicians. Reduce all these into powder, and put them into a
Pelican or blind Alimbeck, with twelve pounds of Aqua Vita, very well
clarified, as though the whole work depended on it. Let it circulate in
Balneo for a whole month. Take off the yellow Oil or Quintessence of all,
with a Silver spoon, and add to it a Drachm of Musk and Amber, and set it by
for your use in a glass bottle close stopped. Distil the remainder, and it
will afford a yellow clear water. But you cannot extract the Oil without a
stink of burning. I have very exactly extracted Oil of gums, roots and
seeds of the aforementioned. And mixing them together, have effected
strange things with them. Most of their operations are against Poisons, and
pestilential contagions. Especially, those that are apt to seize on the
Spirits. For a drop of it, being anointed on the lips or nostrils, revives
the soul, and keeps it in perfect senses at least six hours.
"Of a Clyssus, and how it is made."
That there may nothing be omitted, I will now show what a Clyssus is, and
how it may be made. A Clyssus is the Extraction of the spirits of every
part of a plant, united in one common entity. There are in a plant, the
root, leaf, flower, fruit and seed, and in every one of these parts, there
is a peculiar nature. The operation is thus. Dig the roots when they are
full of juice, the leaves when they are fresh and green, the flowers, when
they are full blown, the fruit and seeds in due time. Extract the Spirits
or Essences out of all these by Distillation, Maceration or Calcination, or
any other of the former ways. But when they are all Extracted severally, on
in the form of Oil, another of Salt or Liquor. Then mix them all together,
so that they may be joined and united in one body, which is called a
Clyssus. Some mix them in Distillation in vessels made for the purpose in
this manner. They put the water, Salt and Oil in three separate cubicles of
equal height and size. And tying their three necks together, and put them
into one common head, which may be fit to receive them all. Close them,
Lute them, and kindle the fire under. The heat will elevate the thinnest
substance in all of them which will meet and mix in the head and run down
the nose or spout, into the Receiver. So set them by for use. This
congregation of Essences, does penetrate and search all the remote passages
of the body, and is very useful in Physick.
"How to get Oil out of Salts."
I have declared many ways of Extracting Oil. Now I will show how to draw it
out of Salts, that they may be more penetrative, and work more powerfully,
which can be done no other way. They seem to have some kind of fat in them,
yet will not burn. So that it cannot be called a perfect Oil.
"Hot to Extract Oil of Tartar."
Burn the Tartar, and reduce it into a Salt, as I have shown before. Then
lay it on a Marble in a moist place, and in a few days it will turn to Oil,
and run down into a dish, which you must set underneath to receive it. Thus
you may easily make it into Salt. Beat the Tartar into powder, and mix an
equal quantity of Saltpeter with it. When they are mixed in an Iron Mortar,
set them in the fire, until they are quite burned. Grind the remaining
Foeces, and dissolve them in a Lye. Strain it, and let the Lye evaporate
away. The Salt will settle to the bottom. Then boil some Eggs hard. Take
out the yolks, and fill up their place with Salt, and in a little time it
will dissolve into Oil.
"Oil of Sal Soda."
Dissolve the Salt in water. Strain it through a cloth and dry it. Lay it
on a Marble and set it in a moist place. It will run down in an Oil.
"The famous Oil of Talk."
Is extracted only by the vehement heat of fire. Yet I know not at first
what it was useful for. But I perceive it is much accounted of by women in
their Fucus. Beat it into fine powder in an Iron Mortar, and put it into a
very strong thick pot. Fasten the cover on with wire. Plaster it with
Potter's clay. And let it in the Sun for three days. Then thrust it into a
Potter's furnace where the flames are most violent. After three or four
days, take it out, break open the pot. And if you find it not sufficiently
Calcined, make it up, and set it in again. When it is burned perfectly
white, lay it on a Marble, and place it in a moist room, or in a hole dug in
the earth. And there let it stand for a good while, until it dissolves into
Oil. Then reserve it in a glass bottle. So also is made,
"Red Oil of Sulphur."
Grind live Sulphur into a small powder, and mix it with an equal quantity of
the former Oil of Tartar. Boil it three hours in a glass bottle. And when
it is dissolved, strain it through a Linen cloth another glass, and set it
over a gentle fire, until it thickens like clotted blood, and do dry. Then
powder it, and lay in on a Marble in a moist cellar. There it will
dissolve, and run down into the dish placed below. Set this Liquor, being
first strained through a cloth, in a glass bottle over warm ashes until the
moisture is consumed. And there will remain a red Oil of Sulphur.
"Oil of Myrrh."
Boil some Eggs hard. Cut them in the middle, take out the yolks, and fill
their places with Myrrh, powdered and Seirced. Lay them in an earthen pan
upon long cross sticks, that the Eggs may not imbibe the Oil again. Shut
them in a moist cellar so the Oil will drop down into the pan.
"Of Aqua Fortis."
Now I will recite those Distillations, which draw out neither water nor Oil
, but a middle between the both. For the Terrene parts are forced up,
turned into water by the vehemency of the fire. From whence they do acquire
so great a heat, that corrode and burn most violently. they are extracted
only in Igne reverberationis, and with great care and labor.
"How to draw Aqua Fortis, or Oil, out of Salt."
It is a piece of art discovered by very few. Take Pit-Salt, put into a
glass Retort, treble Luted over, and dried. Set it in Igne reverberationis,
where the flames do struggle most violently. The first time you will get
but little moisture. Break the Retort, and remove the Foeces into another,
pour the extracted water into them, and Distil them again. The second time
thou wilt get more. Do the same a third time, and so to the tenth, until
the Salt is all turned into Liquor, which is a most precious jewel and worth
any labor. Some quench hot bricks in the liquefied Salt, and then Distil
them with a most intense fire, as in Oil of Bricks.
"A water for the separation of Silver."
Take Saltpeter and Alom in equal quantity, beat them in a Mortar, and put
them into a glass Retort Luted over three double. When it is well dried,
set it in the circulating fire, that is, which is Reverberated on the top
and bottom also. Stop it close, and set a large Receiver under it. For if
it is too narrow, the strong Spirits will break out with a great bounce,
crack the vessel, and frustrate your labor. Distil it six hours. If you
Calcine the Alome fire, the water will be stronger.
"A water for separation of Gold."
Mix with the equal parts of Saltpeter and Alom, as much Vitriol, and Distil
it, as before. There will proceed a water so strong, that it will even
corrode the Tincture of Gold. Wherefore, it this seems too violent, take
nine pounds of the former Salts, being dissolved in water, and two ounces of
Sal Ammoniacum. When they are melted, set them two days in Fimo, and with
hot ashes you may distil a water that will corrode Gold. If you refund the
water upon the Foeces, let them Macerate and Distil it again. The water
will be much stronger.
"How to purge the Phlegm from these waters,"
Without which they are of no force. Cast a little Silver into a little of
this water, which, being overcharged with Phlegm, will not corrode it. But
set it to heat over the fire, and it will presently do it. Pour all this
water into another pot, and leave the Foeces behind in the former. So the
water will be clarified.
"Oil of Vitriol."
Dissolve Vitriol in an earthen pan with a wide mouth. Let the Phlegm
evaporate, then increase the fire and burn it until it becomes all red and
the fourth part consumed. Put it into a glass Retort, Luted all over thrice
double, and well dried, and set in Igne reverberationis, continually
augmenting the fire, and continuing it for three days, until the vessel
melts, and an Oil drops out without any water. Every three pounds will
yield once ounce of Oil. Put it into a glass bottle, and set it in hot
embers that the water, if any be in the Oil may evaporate. For so it will
be of great strength. The sign of a perfect extraction, is, if it makes a
piece of wood, being cast into it, smoke, as it burned it.
"Oil of Sulphur."
This is the proper way to extract Oil of Sulphur. Take a glass with a large
mouth in the form of a bell, and hang it up by a wire. Place a large
Receiver under it, that it may catch the Oil as it drops out of the bell.
In the middle between these, hang an earthen vessel full of Sulphur. Kindle
the fire, and make the Sulphur burn. The smoke of which, ascends up into
the bell, condenses itself, and falls down in an oily substance. When the S
ulphur is consumed, put in more, until you have the quantity of Oil which
you desire. There is also another way to extract it in a greater quantity.
Prepare a great glass Receiver, such as I described in the Extraction of Oil
of Tartar, and Aqua Fortis. Cut a hole through it with an Emerald, and
indent the edges of it, that the smoke may pass out. Set this upon an
earthen pan, in which you burn Sulphur. Above this, set another vessel of a
larger size, so that it may be about a handful distant through the first,
and circulating about the second, may Distil out of both. So you may add a
third and fourth. Pour this Oil into another glass, and let the Phlegm
evaporate over hot embers. It will become of that strength, that it will
dissolve Silver. And I may say, Gold also, if it is rightly made. The fume
of Sulphur is congealed in Sal Ammoniacum. For I have gathered it in the
Mountains of Campania, and condensed it into Salt. Nothing at all differing
from that which is brought out of the eastern countries. Thus, Sal
Ammoniacum, which has so long lain unknown, is discovered in our own
country, and is nothing but Salt of Sulphur. I would like to know how
learned men do approve this my invention. I take the earth, through which
the smoke of Sulphur has arisen, and dissolve it in warm water, and purge it
through a hanging receptacle described before. Then I make water evaporate.
And so find a Salt nothing different, as I hope, from Sal Ammoniacum.
"Of the Separation of the Elements."
In every Compound, there are four Elements. But for the most part, one is
predominant, the rest are dull and unprofitable. Hence when we spoke of
separating the Elements of a Compound, we mean the separating that
predominant one. In the Water-Lilly, the Element of water is chief. Air,
earth and fire are in it, but in a small proportion. Hence there is but a
small quantity of heat and dryness in it, because water overwhelms them all.
The same must be understood in other things also. But do not think, that we
intend by the separation of the Elements, to divide them absolutely, the air
from the water, and the water from the earth and fire. But only by a
certain similitude, as what is hotter then the rest, we call fire. The
moister, water. Stones participate more of earth. Woods, of fire. Herbs
of water. We account those airy, which fill the vessels and Receivers, and
easily burst them, and so fly out. When the Elements are thus separated,
they may afterwards be purified and attenuated. The manner of extracting
them, is various according to the diversity of natural things. For some
must be Calcined. Some Sublimated, other Distilled. I will set down some
"How to separate the Elements of metals."
Lay your metal in Aqua Fortis, as I have shown before, till it be dissolved.
Then draw out the Aqua Fortis in a bath, and pour it on again, and so again,
until it be turned into an Oil of a light red, or Ruby color. Pour two
parts of Aqua Fortis into the Oil. Macerate them in a glass in Fimo for a
month. Then Distil them on embers till the water is all drawn out, which
you must take and Distil again in Balneo, until it ascend. So you will have
two Elements. By the bath the air is elevated. The water and earth remains
in the bottom. The fire continues in the bottom of the former vessel. For
it is of a fiery substance. This, nature, and the assusion of water, and the
Distillation in Balneo will reduce into Oil again. In which you must
correct the fire, and it will be perfect. You may lay metal in embers, then
by degrees increase the fire. The water will first gently ascend, next the
earth. In Silver, the first Oil is bluish. And in perfect separation it
settles to the bottom, and the water ascends. But in Balneo, the Elements
of fire and earth remain. First the earth will come out, afterwards the
fire. So of Tin, the first Oil is yellow. In Balneo, the air will remain
in the bottom, the fire, earth and water will ascend. Which is proper only
to Tin. For in no other metal will air remain last. But in Tin, the water
is first elevated. Next the fire. Last of all earth. Of Iron is made a
dark reddish Oil . Of Quicksilver, a white Oil . The fire settles to the
bottom. The earth and water are elevated. And so of the rest.
"How to separate the Elements in Herbs."
In Herbs there is always one Element which reigns in chief. Take the leaves
of Sage. Bruise them, Macerate them in Fimo, and then Distil them. The
fire will first ascend, until the colors are changed. Next the water. Then
a part of the earth. The other part will remain in the bottom, not being
volatile, but fixed. Set the water in the Sun six days. Then put it in
Balneo. The water will first ascend, then the color will alter. And the
fire ascends next, till the taste is changed. At length, a part of the
earth, the rest being mixed with air, tarries behind in the bottom. In
water plants, the air rises first, next the water and fire.
"How to find out the Virtues of plants."
There are no surer searchers out of the Virtues of the plants, then our
hands and eyes. The taste is more fallible. For, if in Distillation, the
hottest parts evaporate first, we may conclude, that it consists of hot and
thin parts. And so of the rest. You may easily know by the separation of
the Elements, whether a plant has more of fire, or water, or earth, by
weighing the plant first. Then afterward, when the water and oil are
extracted, weighing the Foeces, and by their proportion you may judge of the
degrees of each Element in the composition of it, and from thence of their
qualities. But the narrow limits of this book will not give me leave to
expatriate farther on this subject. Wherefore I will leave the discourse of
it to a particular Treatise, which I intend to set out at large on this
"How to Extract Gum out of plants."
There are some plants out of which we may extract Gum. Some plants, I say,
because many have none in them, and nothing can give more then it has.
Fennel, and all other kinds of it, Opoponax, and such like Herbs are full of
it. Nature is the best director in extracting them. For when the Sun
shines very hot, and the stalks of these plants are swelled with sap, by
reason of the continual increase of their juice, they open themselves in
little clefts, like a woman when her labor approaches. And then the plant
brings forth, as it were in travel, that noble Liquor. Which partly by the
heat of the Sun, partly by a natural inclination grows clammy, and is
condensed into a hard body. Hence we may learn,
"How to Extract Gum out of Opoponax."
In the summer Solstice gather the roots in the nighttime, that the heat of
the Sun may not exhaust the moisture. Slice it long ways, and put it into a
well vernished earthen Pipkin. Then set it upside down in a descending
furnace with a Receiver underneath, to catch the falling Liquor. Make a
fire about the upper part of the vessel, which will drive down a noble Gum,
which must be purged in other vessels, and may be meliorated by
Distillation. The same may be effected on Sagapene, whose roots must be
gathered at the same time, and sliced. And being put into a vessel with a
gentle fire, will drop out a glutinous Liquor into the Receiver. Which,
being clarified, will harden like Gum, and is kept for medicinal uses.
"How to Extract Gum out of Fennel."
Gather the stalks of Fennel, when it is in its vigor, and the flowers begin
to blow, about the full of the Moon. For then they are more succulent.
Slice them into pieces of a hand long, and put them into a glass tub of a
hand in wideness, and a handful and a half in length. Fill it full, and set
the bottom of it, being full of little holes, into a tunnel fit to receive
it. And the lower part of the tunnel into a Receiver. Then make a gentle
fire about the tub at a handful distance, which may beat upon the stalks on
every side with its heat, like the sunbeams. The tub thus growing hot, will
exclude some drops. Which, flying from the violence of the heat, slide down
through the holes of the bottom into the tunnel, and from thence into the
Receiver, where they will condense into Gum, participating of the nature of
Fennel, of no contemptible Virtues.
The End of the Tenth Book of Natural Magick