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Thread: Can plants be used to make "the solvent?"

  1. #1
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    Can plants be used to make "the solvent?"

    I haven't done any further testing yet, but I did get one blackened mass from a simple reflux setup. I'm sure my next experiments with leafy greens when spring arrives will tell me more about whether this is a dead end or not, but I'm beginning to suspect there is some very active enzyme hiding in plant material that if properly extracted might be actionable on things outside of the plant kingdom. This isn't from reading, it's from doing, and there are a couple obvious texts on the cirulatum that I will need to revisit.

    If the solvent was prepared and extracted, but you didn't have the prima materia, what kind of effects do you believe would be indicators? Perhaps suspend a certain metal inside and see if it gets eaten? Do you think the solvent can dissolve gold by itself, or that it would need this capability? Is that the test? Try it against a fiddling amount of gold to see if it will dissolve it?

    Where would I look for multiplying it. Is it as simple as adding some more water and refluxing or distilling?

    Just passing curiosities. Anyone is welcome to chime in with an opinion, even if it goes against the grain.

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dragon's Tail View Post
    I haven't done any further testing yet, but I did get one blackened mass from a simple reflux setup. I'm sure my next experiments with leafy greens when spring arrives will tell me more about whether this is a dead end or not, but I'm beginning to suspect there is some very active enzyme hiding in plant material that if properly extracted might be actionable on things outside of the plant kingdom. This isn't from reading, it's from doing, and there are a couple obvious texts on the cirulatum that I will need to revisit.

    If the solvent was prepared and extracted, but you didn't have the prima materia, what kind of effects do you believe would be indicators? Perhaps suspend a certain metal inside and see if it gets eaten? Do you think the solvent can dissolve gold by itself, or that it would need this capability? Is that the test? Try it against a fiddling amount of gold to see if it will dissolve it?

    Where would I look for multiplying it. Is it as simple as adding some more water and refluxing or distilling?

    Just passing curiosities. Anyone is welcome to chime in with an opinion, even if it goes against the grain.
    If by "the solvent" you mean the secret solvent of alchemy, then the answer is very difficult to resolve. Some authors keep insisting on the "mineral" and/or "metallic" nature of the secret solvent, while others openly acknowledge that non-metallic/mineral substances are used in its preparation. The "adept" who called himself "Theodorus Mundanus" in his letter to Edmund Dickinson says that the secret solvent can be made even with common spirit of wine, BUT provided that you unite to it a certain other "vegetable nature which bears the character of a trefoyle".

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by JDP View Post
    If by "the solvent" you mean the secret solvent of alchemy, then the answer is very difficult to resolve. Some authors keep insisting on the "mineral" and/or "metallic" nature of the secret solvent, while others openly acknowledge that non-metallic/mineral substances are used in its preparation. The "adept" who called himself "Theodorus Mundanus" in his letter to Edmund Dickinson says that the secret solvent can be made even with common spirit of wine, BUT provided that you unite to it a certain other "vegetable nature which bears the character of a trefoyle".
    Hmm, sounds similar to Paracelsus with his wine/alkali mix-mash. The word "character" is interesting in its own right. And yes, I was referring to the secret solvent.

    When they insist on the metallic nature, I wonder if they are referring to an actual metal. I've seen plenty of things appear in my flask that have a decidedly metallic (shiny/hard) nature to them. The first skin that I pull off my "water tincture" looks almost like the film from old tapes, for instance. And other little peculiarities. In the universe of Alchemy "metallic nature" could refer to just about anything, or they might be simply referring to Hg. Such a fickle lot we are.

    Same with a "vegetable nature" which might not suggest a substance coming from a vegetable at all, since the spirit of wine already comes from the vegetable kingdom.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dragon's Tail View Post
    Hmm, sounds similar to Paracelsus with his wine/alkali mix-mash. The word "character" is interesting in its own right. And yes, I was referring to the secret solvent.

    When they insist on the metallic nature, I wonder if they are referring to an actual metal. I've seen plenty of things appear in my flask that have a decidedly metallic (shiny/hard) nature to them. The first skin that I pull off my "water tincture" looks almost like the film from old tapes, for instance. And other little peculiarities. In the universe of Alchemy "metallic nature" could refer to just about anything, or they might be simply referring to Hg. Such a fickle lot we are.

    Same with a "vegetable nature" which might not suggest a substance coming from a vegetable at all, since the spirit of wine already comes from the vegetable kingdom.
    That "Mundanus" indeed means something coming from a vegetable source is plainly seen by the fact that he says "another vegetable nature" (i.e. besides the common spirit of wine. Keep in mind that "Mundanus" is here talking about an alternative method in which common spirit of wine can also be used in the operations, but this is not the method that he himself uses, though.) Also, if you read the descriptions he makes of the preparation of the secret solvent from the reactions & interactions between at least 3 substances (which he hides under the names of "mercury", "sulphur" and a "distilled water"), you can't avoid concluding that more than minerals/metals are at play in these operations he describes. Anyone who has a lot of empirical experience with mineral/metallic substances knows that they usually do NOT give liquid products by interactions/reactions between themselves, and when they do they do not display the same things that "Mundanus" describes. So obviously there is more at play here than 100% mineral/metallic substances.

  5. #5
    Maybe this discussion can be helpful?
    Circulatum Minus

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