The real story of one pharmacist

We find ourselves in the second half of the 18th century, in the territory of the Austro-Hungarian monarchy, during the reign of Maria Theresa and her son Joseph II. Skills and knowledge in many fields of human activity flourished, including pharmacy, medicine and herbalism.

The development of the natural sciences, chemistry, botany, biology, medicine, physics, brings to a close a long era of empirical knowledge of the world around us and puts the medical sciences on a whole new level. At that time, manufactories are set up to produce secret mixtures with medicinal effects or serving as antidotes. The most active and skilled producers of these mixtures, called "theriacs", were mainly Venetians.

Theriak in history

The Greek term 'thēriakē' comes from the word 'thērion', meaning animal. Originally intended to help with snake or scorpion bites, they were later used by high-ranking people against politically motivated poisonings. The foundations of later theriaks were laid by important figures in ancient medicine, and were used by leading physicians such as Andromachos and Galen. The theriacs of the time consisted of more than fifty ingredients, often very difficult to access. The recipes were varied and it was recommended that the mixture be aged for several years.

Almanac and the present

But back to the 18th century, specifically to Padua, Italy, where the young Johan Sarkander Bonora was learning the apothecary's art. After passing the apothecary's skills test, he travels around Europe to expand his knowledge of medicinal herbs. In 1769, he settles in the town of Weidenau (Vidnava) in Upper Silesia (today on the northern edge of the Czech Republic) and obtains a concession to set up a pharmacy. He wrote down all the knowledge and recipes he had gathered up to that time in an almanac, which he kept in his pharmacy.

This almanac, together with the recipe for Bonora's "secret" version of theriak, were the direct inspiration for the creation of our elixir. Some of the ingredients (e.g. opium) are now banned, others are no longer available and had to be sensitively replaced by others. With the help of leading pharmacologists and pharmacognostics, we have thus succeeded in linking the world of history with the world of today. The technology of preparation is also unique - we prepare theriak directly in the pharmacy, and the mixing of the final form of the elixir takes place in a certified fruit distillery.

Bonora Elixir is bitter. Really bitter. Incredibly bitter.