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elixir

Detail of Qin Shi Huang's imperial tour across his empire. Depiction in an 18th century album.

How the Search for Immortality Killed the First Emperor of China

No man had ever risen as high as Qin Shi Huang. He was the first emperor of China - the first man to conquer its seven kingdoms and rule them all. There was only one threat left for him to overcome:...
A bottle of an elixir.

Seeking Life but Finding Death: Deadly Chinese Elixirs of Immortality

The elixir of immortality (known also as the ‘elixir of life’) is a legendary substance found in many ancient cultures. This elixir is expected to grant eternal life to the person who consumes it...
Top image: A woman in traditional Chinese dress. Source: CC0

When Concubines Fought Back: The Plot to Eliminate a Mad and Sadistic Emperor

The Renyin Plot was an assassination attempt carried out on the sadistically violent Jiajing Emperor, who was the ruler of China’s Ming Dynasty during the 16th century. The assassins almost succeeded...
An image of the god Soma and its representations.

The Secret Substance Soma: Bringing Human Beings Closer to the Gods

Soma is both the name of a god and a substance that is found in Hindu mythology. As a deity, Soma is one of the most important gods in the Rigveda . Soma is also considered to be a primeval being,...
William Blake's “Newton.” (1795) In this work Newton is depicted critically as a "divine geometer".

Making a Magical Substance for Health and Wealth - Discovery of Alchemy Transcripts by Newton

A recent auction has led to the discovery of one of Isaac Newton’s alchemy transcripts, which may just be one step towards creating the magical substance known as the philosopher’s stone. According...
The Alchymist, in Search of the Philosopher's Stone by Joseph Wright of Derby, 1771.

Alchemy and Immortality – The Tale of Nicolas Flammel and the Lapis Philosophorum

For mankind, immortality has always been a remarkably fascinating idea. Throughout time, the quest to eliminate death in order to achieve indefinite life in the physical body has taken various forms...
Living bacteria found in Siberian permafrost

Russian scientists make progress on secret of eternal life

Scientists have decoded the DNA of a bacteria found thriving in ancient permafrost, and are now seeking to understand the genes which provide its extraordinary longevity. Work is also underway to...
Donkey milk: Ancient elixir of life

Donkey milk: Ancient elixir of life experiences modern-day resurgence

Donkey milk was hailed by the ancients as an elixir of long life, a cure-all for a variety of ailments, and a powerful tonic capable of rejuvenating the skin. Cleopatra, Queen of Ancient Egypt,...
Elixir of Long Life recipe

Archaeologists recreate Elixir of Long Life recipe from unearthed bottle

Beneath a construction site for a glassy, 22-story hotel in New York, archaeologists unearthed a history of drinking, eating and lodging, along with a tradition of consuming cure-alls and potions for...
The Food of the Gods and the Elixir of Life

Immortality, the Elixir of Life and the Food of the Gods

When we look into the accounts of many different mythologies and religions, it becomes clear that the gods are either immortal or live a life of many thousands of years. What is rarely mentioned is...