The Primum Ens is the ‘First Entity’ of a thing, be it plant, animal or mineral. In his book ‘Concerning Renovation and Restoration’ Paracelsus leaves a number of recipes on how to extract the First Entities, but the most interesting is the Primum Ens Melissa, which is said to radically change the human body and restore lost youth.
“The First Entity of balm,” says he, “renovates and restores the body far more powerfully than seems possible to be done in natural things.” An account of the incredible properties of the Primum Ens Melissa was recorded by the Lesebure, physician to Louis XIV he says:
"One of my most intimate friends prepared the Primum Ens Melissae, and his curiosity would not allow him to rest until he had seen with his own eyes the effect of this arcanum, so that he might be certain whether or not the accounts given of its virtues were true. He therefore made the experiment, first upon himself, then upon an old female servant aged seventy years, and afterwards upon an old hen that was kept at his house. First he took, every morning at sunrise, a glass of white wine that was tinctured with this remedy, and after using it for fourteen days his finger and toenails began to fall out, without, however causing any pain. He was not courageous enough to continue the experiment, but gave the same remedy to the old female servant. She took it every morning for about tend days, when she began to menstruate again, as in former days. At this she was very much surprised, because she did not know that she had been taking the medicine. She became frightened, and refused to continue the experiment. My friend took, therefore, some grain, soaked in that wine, and gave it to the old hen to eat, and the sixth day that bird began to lose its feathers, but before two weeks had passed away new feathers grew, which were much more beautifully coloured; her comb stood up again, and she began again to lay eggs.”
We will leave you two recipes, both differing, the first from Franz Hartmann:
Take half a pound of pure carbonate of potash and expose it to the air until it is dissolved (by attracting water from the atmosphere). Filter the fluid, and put as many fresh leaves of the plant melissa into it as it will hold, so that the fluid will cover the leaves.
Let it stand in a well closed glass, and in a moderately warm place, for twenty four hours. The fluid may then be removed from the leaves, and the latter thrown away. On the top of this fluid absolute alcohol is poured, so that it will cover the former to the height of one or two inches, and it is left to remain for one or two days, or until the alcohol becomes of an intensely green colour.
This alcohol is then to be taken away and preserved and fresh alcohol is put upon the alkaline fluid, and the operation is repeated until all the colouring matter is absorbed by the alcohol. This alcoholic fluid is now to be distilled, and the alcohol evaporated until it becomes the thickness of syrup, which is the Primum Ens Melissae; but the alcohol that has been distilled away and the potash may be used again. The liquid potash must be of great concentration and the alcohol of great strength, else they would become mixed, and the experiment would not succeed.”
The following recipe comes from the Book of Formulas:
“In the proper season of the year, when the herb (balm) is at its full growth, and consequently, its juices in their whole vigour, gather at the fittest time of the day, (when Jupiter is rising and the Moon is in Cancer is applying to a conjunction, sextile or triune aspect thereto), a sufficient quantity of Balm, wipe it clean and pick it; then put it into a stone mortar, and by laborious beating, reduce it into a thin pap.
Take this glutinous substance and put it into a bolthead, which is to be hermetically sealed, place it in a dunghill or gentle heat equivalent thereto, where it must be digested for forty days. When it is taken out, the matter will appear clearer than ever, and have a quicker scent. Then separate the grosser parts, which however, are not to be thrown away, put this liquid in a gentle bath that the remaining gross particles may perfectly subside. In the meantime dry, calcinate, and extract the fixed salt of the grosser parts (which remained after the above separation), which fixed salt is to be joined to the liquor when filtrated.
Next take sea salt, well purified, melt it by setting it in a cold place (deliquesce), it will dissolve and become clear and limpid. Take both liquors and mix them thoroughly, and having hermetically sealed them in a proper glass, let them be carefully exposed to the sun, in the warmest season of the year for about six weeks. At the end of this space the primum ens of the balm will appear swimming at the top like a bright green oil, which is to be carefully separated and then preserved.
“Of this oil,” says the author of the Book of Formulas, “a few drops taken in a glass of wine for several days together will bring to pass those wonders that are reported of the Countess of Desmond and others; for it will entirely change the juices of the human body, reviving the decaying frame of life and restoring the spirits of long lost youth.”