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Notes concerning Pectorals

And here, for a Conclusion to the Lambatives, I freely communicate two or three Notes concerning Pectorals, which perhaps are not clearly and distinctly understood by every one, and may possibly be worth taking notice of by young Practicioners.

1. Sweet, Mucaginous, Incrassating Things though they may help Excreation out of the Throat it self, may render the Blood softer, and dispose the Humours for Maturation and Evacuation: Yet nevertheless (to speak properly) it is not their Talent to fetch up any thing that lies deep in the Chest. And therefore, when the Blood and Habit of the Body is foul, and a Load of thick Phlegm is to be brought out of the Lungs, such things as these are very wrongly and noxiously prescribed, for they will further polllute the Blood, with a mucous heavy Chyle, and stuff up the Lungs with a greater Colluvies of Recrements.

2. Brisk, acrious, stimulating Things, which do not really descend into the Lungs, but only by tickling, pricking, and irritating the Fibres, excite a Cough, and by means of it, exagitate the Lungs, and shake the Humours out of them; and so do it not primarily, but secondarily. These, I say, pump out of the Pneumatic Pipes, only such Matter as lies loose and fluid. And therefore are in vain attempted, when a great Mass of tough Phlegm is deposited, and sticks fast

in the Bronchia, and inmost Vesicles. Yea, oftentimes their use is not only in vain, but hurtful also; because they raise a Cough, and tire out of the Lungs to no purpose, and weaken their Tone to no Advantage.

3. There are no such Things as Expectorators, properly so called, except Volatiles and Balsamics: And these do not slip down directly by the Trachea, but being first conveyed into the Circulating Blood, are thence suffused into the Pneumonic Vessels, and their inmost Recesses. And it's such only that have the power to remove and cast clammy Phlegm, purulent and gypseous Matter out of the Bronchia, Vesicles, and crude Tubercles. And so, when a Physician conjectures the Foundations of a true Consumption are laid in the Lungs, all other insignificant Pectorals, and little Cough Medicines set aside; let him in good earnest insist on these primarily and chiefly, and he that doth not, shall be convinced at last of his Miscarriage, by sad and mortal Experience.

Thomas Fuller
Pharmacopeia Extemporanea 1710