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A Pink Tincture of Antimony

Antimony, the alchemists’ prized mineral long revered for it’s universal curative properties, is no longer such a secret amongst alchemists but to the general public is still relatively unknown as a powerful medicinal agent. Of course it must be prepared correctly, otherwise it will remain as poisonously toxic as it is in its native form, Stibnite. There are many recipes in alchemical literature, but not all are to be trusted, therefore caution is to be taken in picking the right recipe to follow to prepare a tincture from this mineral. The true Antimonial Panacea was said by Glauber to be of a fair red colour, have diaphoretic properties, and not provoke vomiting unless the dose be too high. His Panacea apparently cured many that remained uncured by the diverse potions and powders of other physicians, which he describes in the Second part of his Spagyrical Dispensatory (Works of Glauber).

This particular tincture was prepared following Glauber’s recipe of calcining the raw powdered Stibnite with equal amounts of Nitre salt in an open crucible in a furnace three times, washing the fixed Nitre salt away each time with pure water, drying, grinding and remixing the Antimony each time with more Nitre. After three calcinations the powder is made white, from being originally quite black. This powder is known as a Bezoar powder, also counted as having Panacea like qualities in very small doses, such as several grains (1 grn = 60 mg). Glauber then advises to extract the white powder with well rectified Spirit of wine to get the red tincture, however he either leaves something out here in the preparation of the alcohol spirit, or my spirit wasn’t rectified enough, because my spirit (about 96%) had virtually no power to extract from the powder, even with a soxhlet extractor only the faintest yellow colour was imparted to the alcohol. So distilled vinegar spirit was used instead which immediately took on a peach colour in the digestion at about 60 C, after a couple of weeks the peachy spirit was separated from the remaining powder and vacuum filtered through glass in a buchner funnel, at which point a dramatic colour change appeared, the spirit became a bright purple. I can only put this down to an oxidation effect of the dissolved antimony. The tinctured vinegar was then evaporated slowly to an orange-brown residue, washed with pure water and evaporated again several times. This residue was then extracted with rectified alcohol spirit to produce a brilliant magenta pink tincture, which was then concentrated down to the syrupy consistency of the pink-red tincture pictured above.

I found the tincture to be non-toxic when taking a couple of drops, and an elated feeling of happiness followed, but there was no diaphoretic effect, which made me dismiss this particular tincture as being something other than a Panacea. Although I recommend to anyone who wishes to make it to take it homeopathically, to recieve its vibration more than its corporal substance.