Nostradamus Had A Recipe For Romance That Will Have You Scratching Your Head

Most of us know Nostradamus as a popular soothsayer whose predictions may or may not include the rise and fall of Hitler, along with the assassination of John F. Kennedy. But, in all fairness, that's just a part of who he was. Born Michel de Nostradame in 1503, Nostradamus learned about mathematics and astrology early in his life thanks to his grandfather. As an adult, he studied medicine at the University of Montpelier and, in 1525, he received a license to practice medicine (via Biography).

As an apothecary — sort of like today's pharmacist — Nostradamus concocted plenty of recipes and remedies. Over time, he gained notoriety for his medical treatments. In fact, Jules-Cesar Scaliger, a popular scholar at the time, requested that Nostradamus work with him in France, which he did for several years. A supposed offensive remark about a religious statue caused Nostradamus to fall out of favor with the Church, an event that resulted in Nostradamus fleeing to avoid an inquisition. During his journeys abroad, he experienced an awakening, per Atlas Obscura. A few years later, he published a book titled "Traité des fardemens et confitures," or "Treatise on Make-Up and Jam," which included a variety of recipes. One of the most interesting — and bizarre — recipes was for romance, and it's about as strange as love potions get.

The ingredients include blood from sparrows

The recipe involves several complicated steps and ingredients. The first step is to collect three mandrake apples at sunrise and place them in a mixture of verbena leaves and mullein root. Leave the mixture in a bowl overnight and crush a small portion of it into a fine powder. Then, you'll need to collect the blood of seven male sparrows (taken from their left wings), seven grains from a musk plant, octopus tentacles (including one eyelet from each), cinnamon, cloves, lignum aloes, mace, sweet flag, illyrica, sugar, wine, and the root of Bee's Laughter (via The Guardian).

Once you've managed to gather the ingredients, blend them in a pot and bring the mixture to a boil until it thickens. Strain the mixture and store it in a silver or gold container. Those wanting to use this potion should plan on being intimate soon after ingesting some of it, because of its powerful effects, per The Guardian. History reports that the potion was reportedly so powerful that if a person transferred some of it while kissing someone, it would cause the kissee to "perform the love-act."

Nostradamus also created a recipe to fight the plague

While Nostradamus' love potion might sound a bit unsound, he did attempt more serious medical endeavors. One was treating the plague, which ran rampant in France during his lifetime. He might have been driven to find a cure because his wife and two children died of the disease, per Atlas Obscura. The Infectious Disease Associates of Tampa Bay (IDATB) reports that Nostradamus was actually a "capable physician," and his efforts to treat the plague were fundamental to finding a cure. Unsurprisingly, he didn't follow traditional methods such as bloodletting. Instead, he practiced keeping his patients clean and worked to remove dead bodies off the streets. 

Nostradamus also had a recipe for treating the plague. It included cypress wood shavings, violet-root, cloves, sweet calamus, aloes-wood, and several hundred red roses (via The Guardian). He also fashioned a lozenge made of vitamin C and rose hips that relieved minor symptoms of the disease, per the IDATB. His patients were also fed a low-fat diet and were advised to get a good amount of fresh air, according to Biography. As a result of his unconventional methods, he had a lower mortality rate than other physicians in his area (via IDATB).