Have archaeologists discovered an “Elixir of Long Life” that could unlocked secrets to preventing death? While it certainly seems far-fetched, or like a magic potion in a fairy-tale, some New York archaeologists believe that an old German recipe could have the answers.
A glass bottle allegedly containing the elixir is well over a hundred years old, but that doesn’t mean researchers can’t learn a lot from its contents.
“We decided to engage in our own brand of experimental archaeology,” said Alyssa Loorya, president of the company overseeing the excavation project, who made the discovery in 2014.
The bottle was found in a German beer garden in New York, and may date back to the 1800s. The team reached out to German researchers, who helped them track down the recipe from a 19th-century medical guide.
With their help in translation, the team was able to discover the contents that most likely matched the recipe used for the elixir.
The ingredients included aloe and gentian root, saffron, zedoary, and rhubarb, all of which are still popular with herbalists for home remedies. The elixir also involves a lot of alcohol.
According to the team, it’s very bitter to taste.
While it is of course unlikely that the recipe has any actual powers of immortality, it is a fascinating insight into the long-ago practices consumed by many in an attempt to fend off death and ailments.
According to DNAInfo, the recipe is as follows below.
Elixir of Long Life:
Aloes – 13 grams
Rhubarb – 2.3 grams
Gentian – 2.3 grams
Zedoary (white turmeric) – 2.3 grams
Spanish saffron – 2.3 grams
Water – 4 ounces
Grain alcohol (vodka, gin) – 12 ounces
Squeeze out the liquid from the aloe and set aside. Crush the rhubarb, gentian, zedoary and Spanish saffron (for a modern twist, use a blender for this part), and mix them with the aloe liquid, water and alcohol. Let the mixture sit for three days, shaking frequently. Then filter it using a cheesecloth or coffee filter, and serve. Be careful with the liquid — the saffron can dye your hands or other kitchen items.