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 good health, according to a report in DNA Info. The discovery included a two hundred-year-old glass bottle that once contained the “Elixir of Long Life”. Now the research team have tracked down the original German recipe used to create the elixir for fending off death.
“We decided to engage in our own brand of experimental archaeology,” said Alyssa Loorya, the president of Chrysalis, a company regularly hired by the city to oversee excavation projects. Loorya enlisted researchers in Germany to track down the recipe in an old medical guide, which revealed that the potion contained ingredients such as aloe, which is anti-inflammatory, gentian root, which aids digestion, as well as rhubarb, zedoary, and Spanish saffron – ingredients still used by herbalists today.
In addition to the Elixir of Long Life, archaeologists also discovered two bottles of Dr Hostetters Stomach Bitters, a once-popular 19th century medicine, which contained a complex mixture of ingredients including Peruvian bark, which has malaria-fighting properties, and gum kino, a kind of tree sap that is antibacterial. Loorya and her team are have recreated both types of elixir, which they say taste very bitter.