… as it’s just so … Looking at the wiki-list with people of the name “Hardy” I found Claude HARDY (Ger., Fr.) (1598 or 1604-1678), a mathematician and very talented linguist who is said to have been in command of 36 languages. He published his first book at the tender age of nine years, a translation of a text by ERASMUS’ under the title De la civilité morale des enfants. HARDY works as lawyer in Paris, at least from the mid-1620s on; he is a sought -after translator and specialised in mathematical treatises. He is connected with the learned circle around Marine MERSENNE (Ger., Eng.) (1588-1648), knows DESCARTES (Ger., Eng., SEP) (1596-1650) and Blaise PASCAL (Ger., Eng., SEP) (1623-1662). After DESCARTES’ death we hear nothing else about HARDY until his death twenty-five years later.
What piqued my curiosity is the last sentence in the biographical articles that mentions that he conducted alchemical experiments together with Annibal BARLET, who taught alchemy in Paris, and Pierre BOREL (Ger., Eng.) (1620-1671) – after all physician (Médecin ordinaire du Roi) to Louis XIV. since 1654. He brought together a very large hermetic library containing * around four thousands books and manuscripts.
BARLET wrote a book about the art of chemistry (Le vray et methodiqve covrs de la physiqve resolvtive, vvlgairement dite chymie. Representé par figures generales & particulieres. Povr connoistre la theotechnie ergocosmiqve, c’est à dire, l’art de Diev, en l’ovvrage de l’vnivers, Paris 1657*, link, woodcut, woodcut), that is characterized in the Getty image database as “for the most part good practical pharmaceutical chemistry”.
It is also mentioned there that one of the visitors of his science classes was the diarist John EVELYN (Ger., Eng.) (1620-1706), also an avid book collector. The manuscript of his diary is in the BL and not online accessible, there have been some editions**. He covers the years between 1641 and the late 1690s, so he certainly writes about his stay in Paris, and I wonder whether he describes some of the experiments he seemingly had witnessed***.

Where does this lead to? Nowhere; and it’s not intended to do so; it’s just an aimless rambling in the 17th century.
What happened to all these books?

* Because this was googelised it is not in the Europeana, here.
** Link to the edition by William BRAY (1879), pdf-isised by google, accessible via the Bodleiana.
*** Up to now I found no mention of alchemical experiments there, ach



As I read here (hope my translation is adequate):

“Coffee leaves are used as a brew by 2 million humans on this earth.
Paraguay or Mate-tea drink 10 million, also ten million consume coca.
Zichorie” (Ger., Eng.), pure or mixed with coffee, drink 40 million.
50 million enjoy cacao, pure or in other forms.
100 millions each drink coffee or chew betel or a betel-surrogate.
300 million people eat or smoke hashish.
400 million opium.
500 million drink Chinese tea.
All known races of the world do use tobacco, mostly smoking, but also snuffing or chewing. With the possible exception of the cacao none of these substances has a nutritional value. But the enormous numbers listed here show the importance of these substances for mankind, because there is not one nation on this earth, that does not consume one or more of these Genussmittel, which I summarize under the name of narcotics. There must be a deeper reason, mode and imitation are not sufficient. The enormous number of consumers made me compose the following overview and the importance of the subject shows itself in this fast amount of consumers.” *

Says Ernst Freiherr von BIBRA in the foreword of his book** describing the motivation for his survey – and as I see it, he stands alone with this in the middle of the 19th century.

Ernst von BIBRA (1806-1878) (Ger., Eng.) was born in Lower Franconia into an aristocratic family (Ger., Eng.). He first turned his interest towards the study of law in Würzburg, but later focused on natural science, especially chemistry. After traveling to South America he settled in Nürmberg, publishing and caring for his collections. He was involved in the foundation of the GNM (We raise from our seats and bow in veneration, thank you). He produced chemical tracts, travel books and (in his later years) Belletristik.
His work about chemical Genussmittel and their use among the nations is pretty outstanding. Besides the above mentioned substances he treats Fliegenschwamm, Stechapfel, Lactucarium and Arsenik.
is the good old Fliegenpilz (amanita muscaria) (Ger., Eng.) used by Siberian shamans for a long time, the knowledge about this practise came to Europe (officially) in the 18th century – I guess that its effects were known here before, as the effects of other spices too. Stechapfel (datura) (Ger., Eng.) is known to be used in the Eastern folk medicine, BIBRA explains about making brews from it. Lactucarium  (Eng. only) is the dried milk of the Giftlattich (lactuca virosa) (Ger., Eng.), BIBRA calls it Giftsalat, poison salad.

It all grows out in the garden. There is absolutely no need to throw money at shady businessmen selling chemical enhanced  stuff of dubious origin, by this financing some stupid drug lord’s lifestyle of decadence, and thus strengthening the system of violence, bondage and slavery on what the narco business is based.


* „Die Kaffeeblätter werden auf der Erde als Aufgußgetränke von 2 Millionen Menschen benützt. Den Paraguay- oder Mate-Thee trinken 10 Millionen. Eben so viel Consumenten hat die Coca. Die Cichorie trinken entweder pur, oder mit Kaffee gemischt, 40 Millionen. 50 Millionen genießen den Cacao, entweder als Chocolate, oder in anderen Formen. Kaffee wird von 100 Millionen getrunken, und ebenfalls 100 Millionen kauen Betel, oder seine Surrogate. 300 Millionen Menschen essen oder rauchen Haschisch. 400 Millionen Opium. 500 Millionen trinken chinesischen Thee. Alle bekannten Völker der Welt endlich sind dem Gebrauche des Tabaks ergeben, meist rauchend, dann denselben schnupfend oder kauend. Vielleicht mir Ausnahme des Cacao hat keine dieser Substanzen eine direkte Ernährungsfähigkeit. Dennoch aber zeigen die enormen Zahlen, welche eben angeführt sind, die hohe Wichtigkeit dieser Stoffe für das Menschengeschlecht, denn da kein Volk der Erde existirt, welches nicht eines oder mehrere jener Genussmittel consumirt, die ich unter dem Namen der narkotischen zusammengefasst habe, so muß ein tieferer Grund vorliegen, und die Begriffe der Mode oder der Nachahmungssucht können hier nicht angewendet werden. Diese ungeheure Zahl der Consumenten also ist es, welche mich veranlasst hat, die vorliegende Zusammenstellung aufzunehmen, da die Wichtigkeit des Gegenstandes sich schon in diesen Millionen offenbart. … “

** Bibra, Ernst Freiherr von: Die narkotischen Genussmittel und der Mensch, Nürnberg 1855, V-VI (Vorwort) (ND Leipzig ohne Jahr)


Better Smoke …

 … without Tobacco” * is the title of a small book (138 pages in 12°) by Juliette de BAÏRACLI LEVY (1912-2009) (no Ger. wiki article; Eng.; small Ger. page with photos; Eng. bio and further materials). Those of you who live with dogs may have seen or even used one of her writings like f.e. The Complete Herbal Book for the Dog (London 1955) or others.
de BAÏRACLI LEVY was born into a wealthy family in Manchester as daughter of an Egyptian mother and a Turkish father. She later took up the study of veterinary medicine, but left the university after two years and turned towards natural herbal medicine. She travelled a lot in Europe and around the Mediterranean collecting herbal knowledge. She also bread successfully Afghans under the kennel name Turkuman. She spent her last years partly in Germany and Switzerland, where she died peacefully 2009.
de BAÏRACLI LEVY says in her booklet clearly that smoking generally should be avoided. But if the habit can not (yet) be abandoned, one should at least use not poisonous tobacco but healthy spices. She developed two smokable mixtures of spices (“Wanderer” for cooler and “Nomade” for warmer climates), describes how to collect, dry and cut the herbs and of course shares her two recipes. Traders and producers in Austria are named (the seemingly one man publishing house for this book is located in Wallingwinkl somewhere in the Salzburg area), but more than 30 years later they are all out of business.
For 400 g of  “Wanderer” she uses 228 g Holunderblätter (elder leaves, sambucus; Ger., Eng.), 7 g Holunderblüten (blossoms of elderflower), 85 g Weißkleeblüten (blossoms of white clover, trifolium repens; Ger., Eng.), 29 g of Klebkraut (robin-run-in-the-hedge, all of it; galium aparine; Ger., Eng.), 29 g Kleie (bran or chaff (Spreu) – I am not sure what she means), 22 g Salbeiblätter (leaves of sage, salvia; Ger., Eng.), 24 Gewürznelken (crushed cloves, Ger., Eng.), and a spoon of hops (humulus lupulus; Ger., Eng.). The basis for “Nomade” is wine leaves, she uses Alant (horseheal, inula; Ger., Eng.) and citron leaves instead of Klebkraut and Kleie. In the text she mentions other spices and herbs she found useful and smokable, small illustrations show the mentioned plants.
The crushed cloves remind me of the Indonesian Kretek (Ger., Eng.), but these are made from flavoured tobacco.



* de Baïracli Levy, Juliette: Besser Rauchen ohne Tabak und eine Warnung vor dem Gebrauch von Kräutern, denen die Verführungskraft zu immer erneuter Verwendung innewohnt. Übersetzt, überarbeitet und herausgegeben von Holger Ising Fassunge, 2.verbesserte Auflage, Wallingwinkl 1980