In the beginning of the human been's existence curative herbs were ingested directly or prepared with extremely simple methods, like crushing or maceration into water, milk, wine, vinegar, animals or vegetables fat. The use of fire and metal tools permitted an ulterior evolutionary stage for the extraction processes improvement.
The discovery of the alcoholic distillation, around the Xth century a.C., gave the possibility to transform herbs in derives more and more complex and developed. The research of "excellent" drug was however a continuous worry that has carried on in the course of the centuries to place side by side the use of herbs with many others with mineral and animal origin prepares, not excluded excrements.
Spagirici prepares are a classic example. Alchemy development, with the creation of laboratories opportunely equips, improved many of the extractive techniques, even if the purposes of this different science often were different, like the case of the exasperated research of the philosofal stone.