Chapter 5: A Common Way of Making Potable Gold.

Treatise on Gold Joannes Agricola 1638

Chapter 5

A Common Way of Making Potable Gold

Take some gold purified through antimony, 3 Lots. Dissolve it in oil of salt, mixed with Mercury made of urine. When the ( ) is well dissolved into a golden oil, pour the oil of wine into it, and it will become red as blood. Take 1 part of this blood and 10 parts of spirit of wine, distill over the alembic till it is quite beautiful like a ruby, and you have a potable gold which can be used internally and externally.


The author indicates various processes for making potable gold, and when they are examined by day, it is all one work, that is, a dissolution of gold. Only the menstrua are somewhat changed, for the rest it is one and the same, as I have already mentioned. You can take any menstruum you like, provided it does not harm ( ), so that the gold is not contaminated by it, thereby causing harm to man. Through the menstrua gold does not acquire any other virtues than those it already has. Arousing those, however, so that they can come out of their potentiality into actuality, can only be done by a suitable menstruum, which has been discussed in various Notes. Whoever possesses a good menstruum, let him dissolve gold in it, and he has enough processes, and must not look for another. Even if there were a thousand processes, nothing will finally result thereby but a dissolution. Nevertheless, one process is better than another. The present preparation is just like the recent one with the oil of wine, except that the spirit of urine is added to the oil of salt. Aside from that, it is one operation and has one effect. But here he speaks of the Mercury of urine, which is no other than the spirit of urine, and he does not say anything about the method of its preparation. Although I have already referred to the spirit of urine, I will nevertheless describe here the right preparation of the Mercury, so that laboratory workers are not hindered by a lack of knowledge thereof and can find in one context the whole perfect process. It is done as follows:

Collect a good amount of boys' urine, let it putrefy for some time, and distill the first and subtle spirit over like brandy. Set the filtrate in digestion for 8 days and distill again as before. Keep the spirit but boil the left-overs of both distillations quite dry in a kettle. Calcine it in a potter's furnace, extract from it its fixed salt with rain water, knead it under potter's clay, and distill it like common spirit of salt. You will obtain a yellow, sharp spirit, rather heavy in weight. Rectify it to remove all phlegma, then pour on it by drops the first-prepared volatile spirit. It will effervesce strongly, so that you will be surprised to find so many opposites together in one subject. A white substance will precipitate. Let it settle, pour the phlegma off from it, dry the rest, put it in a curcurbit and sublimate it with a strong fire. A beautiful bright sublimate will rise into the alembic. Remove it and keep it, as it is good for many things. Take one part of it, add to it 3 parts of spirit of salt, digest this together and distill it. Now you will have a wonderful menstruum for dissolving not only gold but all the other metals and minerals.

Now dissolve the calcined gold with it, according to the author's instruction, and you will obtain a very fine and right extraction. While feces will be left over in the retort, which turn into a white Body if they are melted with borax, but it is quite untractable, brittle, and breaks. If it passes through the bath of Saturn, however, its malleability is restored and it turns into a true fixed silver, which has also been referred to in the previous Note. How to process it to revert it to what it had been has also been reported.

The Mercury spirit of urine is an excellent medicine for all pulmonary diseases, because it cleanses them thoroughly and rids them of the slime that is the cause of tuberculosis, asthma, and other severe sicknesses. If one takes of it only one drop in a liquid such as hyssop, melissa, or carbobenedict water, it also expels the calculus, but without any suffering. It dissolves it, as the calculus is salty tartar. The spiritual tartar looks for it and masters it. Being a spirit, it penetrates and liquifies it, forcing it to pass together with it through the urether and bladder. I could tell many examples of this, how I cured persons of high and low ranks with it - but of that more will be said in its place. Everyone who has a house apothecary should keep it ready, for it is not only useful for the aforementioned diseases but for many others. Taken in camphorated spirit of wine at the time of the Plague, it drives the poison out with great force through perspiration and urine. It resists all corruption, from which this disease actually stems, and all medicines for this infection should really be tinged with this spiritus, which should be carefully remembered. It is a great pity that hardly any apothecary exists where such a wonderful medicine can be found, to which one could resort in case of need. I am afraid it will also mean preaching to deaf ears.

If the brain sinks down either through beating or falling, people generally become insane. A wonderful experiment can now be made with this spirit. Of this medicine give every morning half a scruple in water of blue violets, and you will see with surprise how soon it will show its effect.

When in winter the external members, hands and feet, freeze, put some spirit of urine over them with a sponge or cloth. It extracts the frost in a few hours and prevents the member from rotting or developing a tumor.

Quote of the Day

“in Mercury and the Sun for the Sun, and in Mercury and the Moon for the Moon; since the whole virtue of this art consists in them alone.”

Arnold de Villa nova

(Pt. I., cp. vii.)