In 1605, the duc d’Éstrées entrusted the Carthusians with a manuscript containing a mysterious recipe composed of 130 plants which could be used to produce an “elixir of long life.” For over one and a half centuries, the Carthusians worked to perfect this recipe, which resulted, thanks to Brother Jérôme Maubec, in a final product established in 1764 called the “Élixir Végétal de la Grande-Chartreuse.” It was rapidly distributed to the local populations. Brother Charles was the first to sell it at the local markets, riding down from the monastery on a donkey. The recipe for the élixir has remained unchanged ever since 1764.
Production of the élixir Végétal takes several weeks and includes three stages: distilla- tion to obtain the aroma, maceration, which gives the natural color, and extraction to recover the beneficial properties from the 130 plants, flowers, bark, roots and spices. Its properties lie primarily in the use of the plants in their natural state.