Of Pills


1. They are called Pilulæ, because they resemble little balls; the Greeks call them Catapotia.

2. It is the opinion of modern physicians, that this way of making medicines, was invented only to deceive the palate, that so by swallowing them down whole, the bitterness of the medicine might not be perceived, or at least it might not be unsufferable: and indeed most of their pills, though not all, are very bitter.

3. I am of a clean contrary opinion to this. I rather think they were done up in this hard form, that so they might be the longer in digesting; and my opinion is grounded upon reason too, not upon fancy, or hearsay. The first invention of pills was to purge the head, now, as I told you before, such infirmities as lie near the passages were best removed by decoctions, because they pass to the grieved part soonest; so here, if the infirmity lies in the head, or any other remote part, the best way is to use pills, because they are longer in digestion, and therefore the better able to call the offending humour to them.

4. If I should tell you here a long tale of medicine working by sympathy and antipathy, you would not understand a word of it. They that are set to make physicians may find it in the treatise. All modern physicians know not what belongs to a sympathetical cure, no more than a cuckow what belongs to flats and sharps in music, but follow the vulgar road, and call it a hidden quality, because 'tis hidden from the eyes of dunces, and indeed none but astrologers can give a reason for it; and physic without reason is like a pudding without fat.

5. The way to make pills is very easy, for with the help of a pestle and mortar, and a little diligence, you may make any powder into pills, either with syrup, or the jelly I told you before.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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