Encyclopedia of Renaissance Philosophy

Living Edition
| Editors: Marco Sgarbi

Alchemical Medicine and Distillation

Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-02848-4_1086-1


Alchemical medicine – often termed “chemiatra” or “iatrochemistry” – was a part of Renaissance chymistry that sought to purify the body into its most ideal state of health and, at its height of ambition, to extend human life indefinitely. To this end, alchemical physicians utilized distillation to produce medicaments from plant, mineral, and animal matter. Much like the chrysopoetic ambition to purify base metals into gold, distillation presented a potent means of purifying natural substances through the separation of subtle essences and medicinal waters from the impurities of gross matter.

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.History and Philosophy of ScienceUniversity of SydneySydneyAustralia

Section editors and affiliations

  • Hiro Hirai
    • 1
  1. 1.Center for the History of Philosophy and ScienceRadboud Universiteit NijmegenNijmegenThe Netherlands