The recipe for youth exists? Each of us can benefit from it.

Superstitions, magic, and pseudoscience — for centuries people have tried to overcome aging. However, the surest recipe for youth lies within our minds.

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Representatives of the Homo sapiens species have dreamed of the elixir of youth since they first noticed signs of aging in themselves. That is, since the biblical expulsion from paradise or — more scientifically — since our ancestors became self-aware. Initially, the recipe for youth was associated with seeking the favor of the heavens. Then they turned to magic, or — one could say — pseudoscience.

Greeks were inspired by, among other things, the mythological sorceress Medea with her cauldron, into which she could throw dismembered corpses and pull out a living and rejuvenated body. Fortunately, less drastic methods were also considered.

Medea — [Photo: Frederick Sandys, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons]

Does the elixir of youth exist?

From the times of the Egyptian pyramid builders, a papyrus with a recipe for a cream made from exotic fruits has been preserved, which, when applied to the face, removes all signs of aging. Such a remedy apparently was not enough for Cleopatra, who bathed in donkey milk for rejuvenating purposes. Following her lead was the wife of Nero, Poppaea Sabina, and centuries later, even Napoleon’s sister — Pauline Bonaparte.

Even more was invested in the fight against aging by the Byzantine Empress Zoe. A thousand years ago, she created a real cosmetic laboratory in her palace, and thanks to experiments with infusions, oils, and ointments, she preserved her dazzling beauty until her sixties.

Chinese people also dreamed of the elixir of youth at the other end of the known world at the time. The first emperor Qin Shi Huang (3rd century BC) swallowed pills with mercury for this purpose — which shortened his life, rather than prolonging it. And the experiments of subsequent scholars did not lead to the discovery of the elixir of life, but rather to the invention of gunpowder by the Chinese.