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Alchemy, a quasi-scientific practice arising in 13th-century Europe, focused on finding the Stone of Knowledge (the Philosopher’s Stone), believed to transform base metals into precious metals and unlock the means of eternal youth and health. Alchemists held that a universal medicine to cure disease and extend life could be created using the stone. Alchemical manuals used basic chemistry to create medicines using plants, seeds, and other materials. Such manuals included plant pharmacopoeia and bestiaries to assist in the identification of substances called for by the recipes in the books.