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Spagyric, sometimes called herbal alchemy is the production of herbal medicine by alchemical procedures. These procedures involve fermentation, distillation and the extraction of mineral components from the ash of the marc. Paracelsus stated that the true purpose of Alchemy was not for the vulgar purpose of gold making, but rather for the production of medicines. [1] The term ‘Spagyria’ has been used by Paracelsus in his book 'Liber Paragranum', deriving from the Greek words 'spao' and 'ageiro', the essential meaning of which is to 'separate and to combine'. He formulated that nature in itself was 'raw and unfinished' and man had the God-given task to evolve things to a higher level. As an example: The 'raw' medicinal plant would be separated into the basic components he termed 'mercurius', 'sulphur' and 'sal' and thereby cleaned of nonessential components. 'Mercurius', 'sulphur' and 'sal' were then recombined forming the medicine.

In nowadays terms this would be the extraction of the essential oils with vapor gaining the 'sulphur'. Then fermentation of the remaining plant and distilling the alcohol produced thus gaining 'mercurius'. Extraction of the mineral components from the ash of the marc which would be the 'sal'. Diluting the essential oils in the alcohol and then solving the mineral salts in it would produce the final potion.

Note that this is a simplified representation of the process which varies strongly depending on the source chosen.


  1. ^
  • M.C Ramos Sánchez, F.J. Martín Gil, J. Martín Gil. "Los espagiristas vallisoletanos de la segunda mitad del siglo XVI y primera mitad del siglo XVII". Estudios sobre historia de la ciencia y de la técnica: IV Congreso de la Sociedad Española de Historia de las Ciencias y de las Técnicas: Valladolid, 22-27 de Septiembre de 1986, 1988, ISBN 84-505-7144-8, pags. 223-228
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Spagyric". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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