An 18th century recipe shows that Italy's most famous Chianti wine infused with a concoction of honey, cherries and secret herbs can be the secret to long life.
The therapeutic recipe was discovered in an old manuscript discovered in the shelves of Italy's oldest Tuscany pharmacy in Asciano near Sienna dating back to 1715.
"My ancestors left several manuscripts with formulas for digestive drinks, but this one struck me because of its ingredients. I knew it had strong scientific basis," Discovery quoted pharmacist Giovanni De Munari, who found the old recipe.
After the discovery, De Munari brewed the beverage, and came up with a "low-calorie, highly digestive alcoholic infusion, which tasted delicious."
The key ingredient in the elixir is the Sangiovese grape, which is the soul of Chianti wine.
Until the middle of the 19th century, Chianti wine was only made out of Sangiovese grapes; however, around 1850 Baron Bettino Ricasoli codified the formula and included 15 percent of the white grapes like malvasia.
"In our recipe, we only have Sangiovese grapes. This is much more like the famous Brunello variety which grows in this area," said De Munari.
The elixir's formula echoes recent studies that credit resveratrol, a compound found in the skins of red grapes and helps in protecting against heart disease and other age-related illnesses.
"Researchers are currently investigating whether resveratrol acts like a longevity molecule that mimics the effects of a calorie-restricted diet," De Munari said.
"My ancestors may not have known the names of the chemicals, but they knew that red wine, and Chianti in particular, had therapeutic properties," De Munari added.