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Three London hospitals in the 18th century published a dispensatory recommending dried horses' hooves and wood lice.
Two decades later, Michael and Thomas Bretton patented "An Oyl extracted a Flinty Rock for the Cure of Rheumatick and Scorbutick and other Cases." The next year a Reading apothecary, John Hooper, was given a patent for the manufacture of "Female Pills" bearing his name.It arose from a cosmic view that God or Nature had provided remedies for the Aments of mankind and had furnished clues to direct man in his search.Thus the thistle was useful for a stitch in the side, walnut shells for a cracked skull, and pulverized mummy for prolonging life .Thus surgery and experimenting in the laboratory were frowned upon.Disputation between proponents of conflicting theoretical systems was protracted and bitter.Preoccupied with questions of preferment and precedence, the physicians refused to expand their ranks even though there were over 1,300 serious cases of illness a day per every member of the College. They found it at the hands of surgeons and apothecaries, not yet fully reputable but increasingly countenanced because of the great need, and they found it at the hands of well-meaning empirics and unscrupulous quacks .
It would be hard to discover a time and place in which nostrum promotion was more brazen than in 18th-century England.
Richard Stoughton's Elixir was the second compound medicine to be granted, in 1712, an English patent.
In 172 6 a patent was also granted for the making of Dr.
Galen's ideas, although not uncontested, were the dominant force in medical thinking into the 19th century, and remedies that would restore the harmonious relationship of the humors, called galenicals, were for sale by any British or American apothecary . These began with a 16th-century chemist-physician named Paracelsus who displayed his contempt for tradition by burning the works of Galen.
He proclaimed that chemistry should forsake its forlorn effort to make gold from baser metals and devote itself to finding remedies to cure the sick.
This did not mean that the state of medicine was still dawn-age.