How thou sall make aqua vite
The original recipe for aqua vite from Edinburgh Surgeons’ Hall:
First fill ane pot of auld reid wyne cleir and strong and
do [put] therein powder of canel, gylofer [gillyflower],
synger [ Spygnard], pellitory, …………
… peper, comyn, fenel seed, smallage,
parsley, sage, mynt, rewe, calamynt, of eche of them
lyke much and beware that they differ
not the wecht of a drame under nor above at ye most
ye wecht of ane drame is twa pens halpenny.
Then efter put them in a stellatorie and distyll it to an …….. and lock
the stellatorie weill so that no …… go out, and luke [see] yat thy fyre
be of gude coale…… this water is called the water of lyfe and it may
be lykened to bame [balm] and put in ye steid of bame naturall for
it lyes all the natures of balme and yrfor Philosophers do name it ye
This water is cleir and lychter than ye water of roses for it will fleit above yis water.
This water kepieth both flesh and fysch both raw and sodden in his
owin kynde and state and as long as a man is withouten …….., gif he be
wasched thrin it helpeth greitlie against aches in ye bones, pockes and
Taken from Ane Gude Boke of Medicines [Edinburgh University Library Special Collections DC8.130]. From Early 17th century, extracts from a well-known Treasure of Puir Men.