Humans have always been obsessed with living forever. And, as you may have guessed, we’ve continued to fail.
The practice of drinking cold goes all the way back to ancient China and Egypt but came back into high fashion in the 16th-century in France. Members of the court of King Henry II tried different tonics with gold to reduce wrinkles and stave off death, but, of course, it killed many of them.
De Poitiers was very influential, and despite her choice of cocktail ingredients, she did live to be 66. According to Atlas Obscura: “Brantôme, the French historian, once wrote about meeting de Poitiers six months before she passed away at the age of 66. Though he admitted to not knowing much about the ‘potable gold and other drugs’ she took daily, which contributed to her ‘fine appearance,’ he quickly added: ‘I believe that if this lady had lived another hundred years she would not have aged … in her face, so well-composed it was.'”
Gold drinking was perhaps even more popular in the medieval period after an alchemist devised a method for dissolving solid gold into a liquid. The drinkable gold was called aurum potabile (or aurum potable), and it was advertised as a medicinal drink that could cure everything from epilepsy to manic episodes.
One of the oddest recipes comes from Pope John XXI, who, in In 1578, wrote a recipe for an elixir of youth that included “taking gold, silver, iron, copper, iron, steel, and lead filings, then placing that mixture ‘in the urine of a virgin child on the first day,’ then white wine, fennel juice, egg whites, in a nursing woman’s milk, in red wine, then again in egg whites, in that order, for the following six days,” according to Atlas Obscura.
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Source: “Drinking Gold Was a Grisly Anti-Aging Trend of 16th-Century France” — Atlas Obscura