Spirit of Human Brains: In the 17th century, distilled brains rather than raw liver was prescribed as an epileptic cure. The English physician John French and the German chemist Johann Schroeder both recorded recipes for gray matter cures, although French’s was the less appetizing of the two. French recommended grinding the brains of a young man who had died violently to a pulp, and then steeping them in wine and horse dung for half a year prior to distillation. Schroeder called for a more floral cerebral tincture, infusing three pounds of human brain with water of lily, lavender, and malmsey. Schroeder, however, may have prepared far more gruesome distillations, including one made by taking an entire corpse, chopping it into small pieces, and then mashing it into a paste before soaking and distilling it.