Carlo Lancillotti explains how to easily separate the pure from impure with low temperatures and menstruums. In so doing achieving fairly volatile substances.
Nuova Guida alla Chimica……dichiarando come si estraggono i Sali, Ogli, Essenze, Magisteri, Mercuri etc. Con il modo di fare vari Colori, Belletti e altri rari Secreti……Opera utilissima a Medici Speziali, Alchimisti, Pittori, Orefici e altre persone curiose.
………….revealing how to extract Salts, Oils, Magisteri (1). Work very useful to Iatro-Chemists, Alchemists, Painters, Goldsmiths and other curious persons. Being born by Carlo Lancillotti, Physician, Chemist and inhabitant of Modena. Venezia 1681. Together with Fioravanti, Capello and Sala works, Nuova Guida alla Chimica is a famed and indispensable iatro-chemical treatise. If french seventeenth century chemists were concerned with theoretical aspects of chemistry as long as to give a systematic approach to it, contemporary italians on the contrary gave real clues through their practical chaos. The ones being necessary to the others.
We often hear of putrefaction, digestion and circulation, but most of us do not know where to place them and what they really are for. Thus pay attention to what might appear as too easy operations, and always consider that Alchemy, or at least Preliminary works namely Labors of Hercules, are to be chemically performed. And strangely enough ancient chemical proceedings perfectly suit our alchemical need for extraction of pure from impure, or in poor word volatilization of salts. Carlo Lancillotti Putrefaction, Digestion and Circulation methods are getting to their practical points, but be aware that being only the interlude of the whole extraction work or the Intermezzo as Lancillotti calls them. Nevertheless a necessary part to start our wet way volatilization processes. But let’s start, now. My translation (not so easy this time) from italian:
On the extraction by means of mezzo intermezzo or half interrupted (don’t ask. Lancillotti himself forgot to give an explanation), chapter 16, page 30: the extraction by means of “ mezzo intermezzo” allows to extract without distillation or sublimation the purer parts of liquid things as well as the damped dry ones and it is done in three ways: digestion, putrefaction and circulation.
This series of operations causes many difficulties to chemists, for it needs a suitable menstruum to loose the mixed union with its essence, which is the most secret and inner substance, hidden and closed behind its center by nature. Operate carefully to avoid it taking offense. And then remove menstruum by evaporation or distillation so essence remains in the pot bottom, with the consistency of honey or just a little more dense. This is what is called extract, but still being in liquid form, and combined with its menstruum, it is properly called tincture.
Digestion is a process through which the material is cooked by a heat similar to the natural heat, just like a stomach digests food as well as cooking with a temperate heat in order to separate all elements and drive them to bowels and the noblest among substances can be then separated in the liver. One can operates in the following way: put the simple (2) to digest in a glass jar tightly closed, place it in balneum mariae or in horse manure or other warm place to stay for the given time. Digestion not only helps distillation and extraction, but also rectification, coagulation, fixation and edulcoration.
On Putrefaction, chapter 17 page 31: Putrefaction is done when the mixed cardinal humor raises from the dry part limiting it, and one operates as follows: prepare what you want to putrefy and place it in a glass cucurbit (3). Since it is dry and without humidity to help putrefaction, then pour over a suitable menstruum, and seal tightly. Then close it tightly and put it in horse manure or balneum mariae for the time required which is usually a month or more, according to the artist intentions. This will destroy the mixed ancient nature and it will produce a new one. Then we’ll test the philosophers axiom, that’s to say “corruptio unius est generatio alterius” or the corruption of one is the generation of the other.
On Circulation, chapter 18, page 32: Circulation is an operation whereby oils, waters and spirits ascend to a more sublime degree of subtlety and virtue, and during circulation they lay any impurity and is made as follows: Take the liquor you want and put it inside a pelican, or put it in a circulation vessel or circulatorium (4), to fill less than the six-part volume, the four or five must remain vacant. Then bury said vessel, till the part containing the liquor in Manure or balneum Mary and all the rest is to remain out for the heat to cause liquor raising up at the top, which being cold condenses the liquor.