The Herbal Stone
Joseph Luthi

Siegried G. Karsten

(The views expressed in this paper are the authors and do not necessarily represent those of the Paracelsus College.)


0 Holy Ghost
Show me what I do not know,
And teach me what I have not yet mastered,
And give me what I do not possess.
Provide me with my own five senses,
That thou, Oh holy Ghost may dwell therein;
Bless me with the seven talents
And with thine divine peace.
Oh Holy Ghost:
Guide and teach me,
That I may live righteously
With God and my fellow man !
A U M.

This little work is dedicated in appreciation to Frater Albertus who initiated me into alchemy.

Invocation Contemplation Preparation Usage Dosage


Hierarchy of Elements
The Upper
The Lower
The Three Mothers (a psychic contemplation of the elements)
A Spiritual Contemplation of the Elements
The Fifth Essence

The Portal to Practice

The Selection of the Work
The Selection of Herbs
The Production of the Essential oils
The First Separation
The Second Separation
The Third Separation
The Refined Rectification of the Elements
The Preparation of the Carbon
The Preparation of the Archaeus
The Chemical Union
Conjunction of Above and Below
The Herbal Stone


Theme: That which is above is like that which is below (Hermes Trismegistus)



Fire  Mental Plane -  Heaven

1. Volatile
2. More Volatile 
3. Most Volatile

Air Astral Plane   Sulphur

4. Subtle
5. More Subtle
6. Most Subtle

FERMENTATION     Light   Soul


Water   Astral Plane    Sulphur

7. Dense
8. More Dense
9. Most Dense


10. Fixed -     Herbal
11. More Fixed   Earth-Body
12. Most Fixed     Hermaphrodite


FIRE: Its basic characteristics are heat and expansion. It represents the activating, the creating, the cleanest, the most subtle, the most flexible, the most absolute, the most virtuous, and the most spiritual attributes. SPIRIT is fire or heaven in which the Archaeus (or the vehicle of virtue)is to be found.

AIR: It is by one degree coarser, was precipitated from the element fire, serves as a mediator between fire and water. It is by way of heat that everything exudes its excess basic qualities. It is in the element air that the seed is contained. The airy principle in its mediating role has taken on the attribute of dryness from fire. Life within the seed which contains air, would be unthinkable without these two qualities.

WATER: It represents a dual vapor which becomes water through the process of condensation. Its inherent quality is magnetism. Water serves as the menstrum of the GREAT WORLD. It is the MOTHER of all things, a coagulated fire, a condensed air, and a fluidic earth, In contrast to fire it possesses different attributes, namely coolness and condensation.

EARTH: This principle arises out of the interaction of the first three principles discussed above, which, in turn, are within it. It is this attribute which provides the other three principles with their forms of expression.

Out of the four elements we must now make two, one active and one passive. We combine the volatile element FIRE with the subtle element AIR which instantaneously unite without friction. Since both are volatile in nature, together they represent the higher principle, the active attribute.

Viscosity, i.e., water, is combined with the fixed earth. Both unite instantaneously when the earth is first treated to make it dry and absorbent. The dry earth because of its capacity to absorb eagerly takes up the liquid. Viscosity and fixedness together form the receptive attribute, i.e., the lower principle


(a psychical contemplation)

The element fire can be considered as a matrix of formation. It presupposes the active attribute which is to be found in the sphere of creation
A fruit 'thrives in the element FIRE which unifies mercury, sulphur, and salt within it and which manifests as spirit, soul, and body, i.e. as, the fire principle.
There is a difference between the element fire and the fire principle or attribute. Everything combustible is part of the fire principle. But the element fire cannot be burned up, it always remains in its original condition.

In principle the element air is also viewed as a matrix of creation. Within it thrives a seed consisting of mercury, sulphur, and salt, embodying the air principle.
Again, there is a difference between the element air and the air principle. The air which we inhale represents an air principle, which can be used up. The element air, however, cannot be consumed; it does not change its substance.

In principle we also view water as a matrix of formation. The element furthers the thriving of a fruit consisting of mercury, sulphur, and salt, which manifests as the water that we daily consume. The element water cannot be used up. It is and remains in its essential condition. It represents a mother which conceives, bears fruit, and gives birth to that which was previously above and by which it became impregnated. The water principle represents a regulaceum and is passively receptive or magnetic. It simply absorbs what it receives. Its inherent qualities are penetration and coolness. But it is these attributes which permit it to serve as a vehicle for the spirit and to penetrate the earthly principle as a mediator. Spirit needs a vehicle in order to manifest itself; the former without the latter would be a no-thing, unfathomable, and highly volatile.

The earth is equivalent to a unity of the first three principles, namely, a coagulated fire, a coagulated water, a viscous air, and a vapor converted to earth. The earth represents a kingdom which attracts the seed of this world and conceives, lets it thrive and then be bears fruit. It provides everything essential to life and evolution on this planet. It serves as a treasurer revealing what already has been brought forth in the creative sphere.
The inherent quality of earth is coldness. Therefore the concentrating forces of nature are enclosed in it, limiting the effects of the first three principles.
The earth serves as a basis for the 'other elements, and is constantly impregnated by the latter. It is for this reason that it is also referred to as the mother of metals, minerals, plants, and of all animate life Therefore it brings forth from - its womb, everything essential to life on this planet. It reveals that which is not obvious and constantly brings forth many new things. Hence it is called the great treasurer.


It represents a confrontation between the above and the below. That which is above is as that which is below! Below is the Great Treasurer, the earth. Above is the CHAOS. However, chaos in this instance does not mean a destructive condition, as is commonly implied, but a perfected substance.
The latter is pure SPIRIT and represents a degree of viscosity of the Akasha principle. Everything which has or will take place in this world was and is contained within the chaos. It is in the latter that the elements have their source; it is the mother of the elements. Chaos itself arose out of the principle of creation.
Upon closer examination, we see the reason why Jesus said; "Not I have created these works but my Father in Heaven has done them." Every-thing already exists in a perfect state within the creative sphere, which then is converted into matter through a weakening, a cooling down, or a lowering from ABOVE to BELOW or from the nothing into the something.
This philosophic hypothesis, that the elements represent opposing forces to be brought into accord, should be well kept in mind. Nothing, can be skipped and no short cuts are available. Each element must flow into the other one and become part of it. Also they cannot transcend themselves, fire for example must exude in the air, then both of them will be subtle. Air, since it was vapour in its original state, must condense to water. Earth has to be made dry and acid to enable it to eagerly absorb the ABOVE.
The mystery that we have pointed out here, enables the unification of the ABOVE with the BELOW. If one attempted. for example, to unify fire and earth, the spirit would vanish into the chaos at the least application of heat, leaving our work without its essential mentality. Through applicable practice antitheses are eliminated and a harmonious synthesis is derived.


FIRE: The element fire originated out of the original source of the all BEING. Fire came forth out, of the original spirit substance. Its virtue is omnipotence and its implosive attribute is the conscious will.

AIR: The element air originated out of the original source of the ALL. It came forth put of the original spirit substance. It's virtues are wisdom, purity, and clarity. It is out of the latter that universal lawfulness came about. Its attributes manifest themselves in the intellect or the mind.

WATER: The element water originated out of the original source of the ALL. It came forth out of the original spirit substance. It's virtues are omnipresent love and eternal life. Its attributes are sentiment and life.

EARTH: The earth principle originated out of the original source of ALL. It came forth out of the original substance.Its virtues are omnipresence, immortality, and eternal life. Its attribute is the unification of the first THREE principles, revealing present consciousness, i.e., to be conscious of the unconscious.


These four elements together form a FIFTH essence, which manifests as a unified substance consisting of mercury, sulphur and salt,i.e., of' spirit, soul, and body.
This subsance is called Akasha or chaos; it came forth
out of the four elements. Various religious beliefs usually refer to this substance as God.
This substance appears like an ocean of light which penetrates the whole universe. It can be compared to ether and is without color in the creative sphere. The correct nomenclature for it would be mental substance.
The alchemist who is familiar and who can relate to this sphere knows that this substance represents the source of unlimited possibilities.
ALL things, including ourselves, came forth out of this original source. It is this flawless substance which was created by the creator. Imperfections have their source in man. It is through a wrong way of thinking that he brings them about and creates works of imperfection. Because man does not know himself he says; "Man proposes and God disposes", and thus imperfect things happen. In reality the opposite, is true, man disposes and God proposes. Since man is endowed with a "free-will", he is able to express his personal thoughts and to unify his own will with that of God.
On the mental plane we recognize the most volatile as mercury, the more volatile as sulphur and the volatile forms the vehicle exuding its excess which in turn condenses, forming the element air.
In the air principle we recognize the most subtle as mercury, the more subtle as sulphur, and the subtle forms the vehicle for the air. The latter exudes its excess, trickling down like a dew from heaven, giving rise to the element water.
Through heat from above, water turns vapor cooling off again. Through ascension and descension energetic forces or nitric salts are formed which represent the volatile seed of earth and impregnates the water.
The earth is the most fixed. It is the womb attracts the seed of the ABOVE. It is the wet nurse and the receiver of all things. The nature of the ABOVE descends upon the earth and what she has conceived from above she gives birth to, revealing the treasures which come from above.
This is the truth! Everyone should try to prove for themselves that which is above is also that which is below. If no errors are made and the laws are adhered to, then, the ABOVE is inverted into the BELOW, both WITHIN and WITHOUT.
This then is the contemplation of the lesser work, to be followed by a true unadulterated application to plants.


Basilius Valentinus says in his preface to the "Triumphal Chariot of Antimony". "The earth is obligated to serve man. This is why it provides man with everything he requires; not only with food and drink but also with everything essential for his health. It permits the growth of herbs, trees, fruits and many other plants. Minerals and metals which the alchemist prepares to an efficacious medication prosper in the earth." We try to learn as much as possible from nature, for she is to be our teacher. Nature is incapable of transforming matter within a short span of time. Therefore we work in the laboratory with retorts, imitating nature, trying to shorten the temporal, and to make the invisible visible, in order to derive a medication and a stone.
Contemplation follows the INVOCATION. It is only natural that we concern ourselves first with the simplist and begin with herbal alchemy. To fathom the mystery of the latter, we recall the washing of the feet by Jesus Christ, which symbolically expresses that each alchemist has to start at the lowest plane of the earth. This, in turn, implies that in order to learn from nature we have to explore and to observe her. Therefore we began the simplest maceration in order to make the invisible visible, proceeding then to the soxhlet method for the extraction of tinctures. We further proceeded to derive complex compounds out of the tinctures to achieve better cures. We proceeded still further to the Human Tincture, with which refined ordinary tinctures and compounds, no matter whether derived by maceration or soxhlet extraction, again to bring about more efficacious cures with which we had the best experiences. The next higher steps are to be found in the Para-human Tincture, and finally the herbal stone.
We shall now examine the ladder step by step, i.e., from maceration, to soxhlet extraction, to Human Tincture, Para-human Tincture, and to the herbal stone. This is the achievement the steps of which we have rendered lawfully into an unbroken chain the crown of which is the desired goal because the herbal stone is the GATE to the mineral kingdom. The latter represents the next area to be researched.


Our task now is to describe the production of the herbal stone. Since the Human Tincture has already been dealt with in other writings, we shall now illustrate the method of preparing the Para-human Tincture since it serves as the starting point for the herbal stone. We are conscious of the theory and know what we desire.


The remedy for the blood represents the "vital nature of the blood", the intricate representation of its spiritual forces.


Aconitum Napollus - Blauer Sturmhut
Arnica Montana - Bergwohlverleih
Berberis - Sauerdorn - Barberry
Capsella Bursa Pastoris - Hirtentaschel - Shepherd's Purse
Convallearia Majalis - Maiglockchon - Lily of the Valley
Digitalis Purpurea - Roter Fingerhut - Fox Glove
Melissa Officinalis - Melissa - Balm -Lemon Mint
Sangruisorba Officinalis - Wiesenknopf
Solidago Virga Aurea - Goldrute - Golden Rod


Ethereal oils are not to be found in all plants. The latter are divided into two groups consisting of plants containing ethereal oils and those being deficient in them. To the former classification belong:
Arnica Montana Bergwohlverleih
Convallearia Maiglockchen - Lily of the Valley
Melissa Officinalis Melissa - Balm
Solidago Virga Aurea Goldrute - Golden Rod

Ethereal oils were extracted from these herbs using a Buechi-Vapodest distillation apparatus. The first step always is obtaining the ethereal oils. Because of their volatile nature they should not be fermented under any circumstances. Fermentation heats the ethereal oils and makes them seek their own element.


The herb out of which the ethereal oils were distilled is placed in a container for fermentation; water; brewers yeast and sugar are added to speed up the process of fermentation.
The water that is poured over the herbs serves to promote the process of fermentation and life. The latter is exhaled by each plant through its pores to be received by the water's motherly womb. Otherwise life would volatilize and seek its own element in a respective body. The vaporizing life, i.e., the spirit, needs a vehicle in this world in order to be gathered for later separation.
It is through the exhalation of life that the plant dies and decomposes which is further aided by the addition of yeast. The water starts to form bubbles, takes on a bad odor, becomes viscous, and changes colors with the sulphur. The solid softens and becomes mucilaginous. Both salts float in the water and are invisibly dissolved in this liquid. After approximately one month, when the mercury, sulphur, and the salt are dissolved in the water, the process of fermentation is completed. One can then proceed to separate the fermented substance into its elements.


The fermented substance is put into a copper still to distill the first half into its recipient in order to have the volatile and the subtle come over. Thus we have separated the volatile and the subtle with the soft water. The acid and the alkaline or the water and the herb remain behind.


The substance remaining behind in the copper still is further distilled until a honey -like liquid remains behind. It is the coarse water, i.e., the phlegm, which went over into the recipient before the vinegar and after the alkali and the volatile which serves as a regulaceum.


The honey - like substance is placed into a retort to be further distilled step by step. First the phlegm comes over, then a strong vinegar - like spirit; an acid followed by a viscous humidity. The dead head which remains in the retort is black like coal and burns like regular coal. This type of carbon represents a virgin earth in which the alkaline salts, are hidden. We have now divided our work into a vola tile, a subtle, a viscous, and fixed parts.


The volatile and the subtle are placed into a large retort. The first half is distilled into the recipient in order to separate the volatile from the subtle which are representative of the elements fire and air respectively.


The volatile is put into a retort to be further distilled in order for the volatile, i. e., the first third to come over into the recipient, This is labelled as No. 1 or as the spirit of the fire. The second -third is distilled into the recipient and is called No. 2 or the sulphur of the fire. The remaining third represonts the salt or the body of the fire. In this manner even the most volatile has been separated into three parts, i.e.,into mercury, sulphur, and salt, which in a united condition represent the fire principle of the fermented herb.


The subtle part i.e., the air, is placed into a distillation flask. The first third, the most subtle part of the air, is distilled into the recipient,and labelled No. 4. It represents the mental or the mercury of the air. The second part of the air is classified as No.5 and is sequentially indicative of the soul or the sulphur of the air. The third part of the air, i.e., its body or salt, is called No.6.


The water was thickened to a honey-like substance during the second separation. This viscous substance is also distilled in three steps to be kept separately. Using an oil bath, the viscous part is distilled into the recpient. First we separate the regulaceum, next the sour acid comes over, to be followed by the humidity of the sulphur.


The fixed substance that remained behind, is placed into a pressure cooker to which a condensoris tightly attached so nothing can escape. All liquid is now distilled over using the fourth degree of fire. The process continues until no more liquid comes over into the recipient.
First a phlegm, which in reality still belongs to the element water, comes over into the recipient to be followed by the acid and the humidity, as an oily substance. A carbon, in which the alkaline salt is hidden, remains behind in the pressure cooker.
We reverberate the coal or carbon and pulverize it. Then we add all acidity including the oil which was derived from the water and earth elements, to the carbon, grind everything together, obtaining a thick black teeriack . The latter is placed into a strong retort. The acidity is first distilled over into the recipient, to be followed by the ruby - red humidum, leaving a coal behind in the retort. This process is repeated several times.
If we work, accurately, we will discover the following mystery: we observe that much more humidum was produced because part of the fixed coal dissolved. The fact is that fixed coal became volatile because the solid is subordinate to the soft. Thus the "volatile dragon" slayed the "fixed" one. This in turn represents the mystery of dissolution. The other mystery is that of petrification. The coal or carbon is calcined with a strong fire in order to induce the process of hardening.
We have therefore also subdivided the earthly principle into three parts. The number ten represents the fixed mercury, number eleven is the humidum - a red and dry blood when cold; it is the highest attribute of a plant. Number twelve is the coal in which the alkaline salt is contained.


The production of the salt: We take eight parts of the carbon for the extraction of the salt. Another part is later used for making the stone.
The carbon is pulverized, placed in a calcining dish, and calcined to a grey color.
The washing of the ashes: Water is poured over the ashes in order to separate from them the salt that is contained within the later.
The inspissation of the salt water: The filtered salt water is placed in a crystallizing dish in order to permit it to dry under heat leaving behind a white salt. This is put aside to permit the formation of crystals. This process takes about two to three weeks.
The refined calcination of the salt: The thus obtained salt is scraped out of the crystallizing dish and put into a crucible. At a temperature of 1000 degrees celsius, it is purified, immediately pulverized, and put into an air tight jar. This then is the refined calcined salt of the salt and the salt of the sulphur.


We place the bottles numbered one through six before us. Starting with number one, we pour into a measuring cylinder 2 cm3 each of mercury, sulphur and salt out of the first, second and third bottles respectively; this mixture represents the fire element. Out of bottles number four, five and six, we again add 2cm3 each of mercury, sulphur and salt (body) respectively - this mixture rpresents the air element, it yields an alcohol content of 50%.
The union of the volatile fire element with the subtle air element results in the "male principle", the ABOVE, or the carrier which contains the ARCHAEUS, the original beginning.


The pure calcined salt is placed into a 100 ml Erlenmeyer flask with a glass stopper. It is covered with about 2 cm of the above described ARCHAEUS. It is placed into an incubator for about one week at a temperature used for hatching.
A completely "new essence" comes forth out of the salt and the ARCHAEUS WHICH IS OF A LIGHT GREEN COLOR. It is this fusion which represents the alchemistical CHEMICAL union.


Production of the UPPER part: Eight parts of this "new essence", derived through the chemical union, are used for the preparation of the Para - human Tinture. Another part is later used for the preparation of the Herbal stone. The previously described process for obtaining the ARCHAEUS is now repeated in this eightfold procedure. The result is the ARCHAEUS of the Human Tincture.
Production of the lower part: The lower part consists of sulphur, salt and mercury of the earth and water elements, the purified salt, the strong vinegar, and the humidum, which were prepared together with the water element in one process. These we recognize as the mercury, sulphur and salt of the lower principle.


Both of the above derived substances are combined into a single tincture in a large retort, to be circulated in an especially, for this purpose, designed apparatus for one week. The treated substance must rise by one meter in this apparatus, cool off, and return to the retort. This process repeats itself every three minutes during the day; the circulation is turned off at night.
The result is the Para - human tincture, which possesses the attribute to transmute other tinctures.


The carbon which we had reserved is reverberated in order to free it of all humidity, to make it dry and absorbant.
Next take the ARCHAEUS, add to it the previously obtained acid which fixed the mercury and the humidum. Then take the freshly reverberated coal, which is dry and absorbent, and saturate it with the just prepared tincture.This compound is thoroughly ground together with the purified salt.
Everything is then poured into a small crucible and placed in an ash bath at the first degree of heat. Very slowly the heat is raised to the second degree. This process is repeated until the coal no longer absorbs any more liquid and has become heavier than at the beginning, which can be determined by an accurate scale.
When this process is completed the quartz sand bath is raised to the third degree of heat and finally the open fire is used.
The contents of the crucible becomes viscous like lava, permitting the casting of the stone. The latter is moistened with the ethereal oil and absorbs it during the cooling process. The stone thus gains the propert to repel humidity like a magnet and to become insoluble during use.
This is the true and unadulterated preparation of the HERBAL STONE, the blessed reward of the LESSER WORK, as the Poet Hans Sterneder so beautifully expressed it;
"And I circulate among the plants to heal the frailties of men and animals!"


The true alchemical elixirs of life are nothing but fabulously combined condensations which are derived analogous to the elements and to the four planes of human existence. These elixirs do not only affect the physical body of man but also his astral and mental bodies. Therefore, such an elixer does not only represent a very efficacious medicine but also a dynamic remedy for regeneration. To achieve greater and more dynamic healing effects, several plants can be compounded.
Our remedy for the blood is such a derived compound and has proven itself. It contains several medicinal herbs, the virtues of which are described.

Aconitum napellus (Sturmhut): an efficacious remedy for all types of fever. It aids in the treatment of neuralgia which occur's suddenly and violently after colds, diseases of the heart and insomnia due to emotional stress.

Arnica montana (Bergwohlverleih): is beneficial in the treatment of rheumatism with obstructions, weakness, fatigue, varicose veins, hypertrophy of the heart, angina pectoris, and for the strengthening of the vocal cords.

Berberis( (Sauerdorn) ( Barberry): is used for the treatment of back trouble, deafness, paralysis, stiffness due to rheumatism and gout, diseases of the kidneys, pains in the stomach and the liver, and for diarrhea due to weakness of the intestines.

Capsella (Hirtentaschel) (Shepherd's Purse): aids in the cures of grit and sand of the kidneys, and dropsy. It has a healing effect on the tissues of the urethra, the swelling of the spleen, complaints of the liver and the stomach, jaundice and acts as a cancer preventative.

Convallearia ( Maiglockchen) (Lily of the Valley) : helps in cases of diseases of the heart, shortness of breath, and nicotine poisoning.

Digitalis purpurea (Roter Fingerhut) (Foxglove): serves efficaciously in diseases of the heart, dropsy, and obstructions of the liver, lungs, and. kidneys, swelling of the liver, and jaundice.

Melissa (Zitronenmelisse) (Lemon Mint or Balm): strengthens and rejuvenates in cases of nervous disorders of the brain, heart, the stomach and intestinal tract, migrane, headaches, insomnia, and hysteria.

Sanguisorba officinalis (Wiesenkopf): is helpful in cases of bleeding of the stomach and lungs, hot spells of the head, and for severe diseases of the breathing organs.

Solidago virga aurea (Goldrute) (Golden Rod): an excellent medication for the kidneys, shrinking kidneys, kidney stones, albuminuria, rheumatism, arthritis, gout, diseases of the skin, scrofula and dropsy.


The benefits to be found in the use of our Para-human Tincture is the restoration of health and strength to the sick.
In the production of pure and efficacious remedies we were not deterred by troubles and sacrifices. When we contemplate upon the spiritual quality of this tincture, we come to the conclusion that it cannot be anything but spiritual in nature and therefore promotes health. Medicine serves as a carrier or medium to expand the reasoning of the patient enabling the latter to absorb the creative influences of the universe. God is to be found in the physician, the patient, and in the medicine.
It is good to apply a remedy in order to be of help to the sufferings of mankind.