Storehouse of Physical Practice (1695)

Storehouse of Physical Practice (1695)


Storehouse of Physical Practice (1695)



Pechey, John (1655-1716)

According to the description on the cover page of this book, the store-house of physical practice being a general treatise of the causes and signs of all diseases afflicting human bodies : together with the shortest, plainest and safest way of curing them, by method, medicine and diet : to which is added, for the benefit of young practisers, several choice forms of medicines used by the London physicians. It was printed in London, for Henry Bonwicke, at the Red Lyon in St. Paul's Church-yard, MDCXCV

According to Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, volume 44, John Pechey, (a.k.a. Peachey, and Peche) was born in Chichester in 1655. He obtained his BA at New Inn Hall, Oxford, in 1675, and his M.A. in 1678. He became licentiate of the College of Physicians in London on 22 Dec. 1684. He practiced in the city of London, residing at the Angel and Crown in Basing Lane. His methods were those of an apothecary rather than of a physician.

In 1692 he published two books, ‘Collections of Acute Diseases, in five parts,’ and ‘A Collection of Chronical Diseases.’ The first describes treatment of smallpox, measles, plague, and other febrile disorders, of rheumatism, apoplexy, and lethargy; and the second deals with colic, hysteria, gout, and hæmaturia. He published in 1693 ‘Promptuarium Praxeos Medicæ,’ in Latin—a compendium of medicine with many prescriptions given in full. He next published in 1695 ‘The Compleat Herbal of Physical Plants’ and ‘The Storehouse of Physical Practice, the book in our collection. In 1696 he published ‘A General Treatise of the Diseases of Maids, Big-bellied Women, Childbed Women, and Widows’—a compilation without any original observations.  Altogether, Pechey had at least another 20 studies are attributed to his name. The book in our collection has a section on teeth. On black and rotten teeth, John Pechey has this to say:

“The teeth are often black, yellow or livid, by reason of vitious humours sticking to their Superficies, which by lying long on them corrode, and make them rotten; ill vapors do the same, which arise from unwholesome meats eaten, or from an Intemperies of the stomach; quick-silver used to the whole body, or to the face to beautifie it, blackens the teeth: upon which account women that use paint are wont to have black or foul teeth.  In order to the cure, the antecedent cause must be first removed, and if ill humours abounding in the stomach occasion this disease, they must be evacuated, and the Intemperies producing it must be corrected, and a good course of diet must be ordered, and such meats must be avoided as are apt to corrupt the teeth, especially those that are sweet.

There are a great many medicines proposed to whiten the teeth by authors, which every one may make trial of; we use only one, which presently frees the teeth from all filthiness, and renders them white; and also preserves them from a caries, that is, the Spirit of Vitriol or of Sulphur, in which a small stick wrapt round with a rag may be dipt, and the Teeth rubbed with it, and presently after the teeth must be dried with a clean linnen cloth.

When the teeth are very foul, the pure oyl may be used, or mixed with Honey of Roses, or it may be corrected with simple water, least the use of it corrode the gums. Montanus relates that he learned this from a woman at Rome, whom he had seen when he was very young, and she about the age of twenty; he found her afterwards when she was Fifty in the same condition, who had preserved her beauty and strength by the use of the Oyl of Vitriol; and that her teeth which were very ill in her Youth were become firm and clean in her old age by the use of it; for she was wont daily to rub her teeth and gums gently with a drop or two of it.

The Ashes of Tobacco are also excellent to cleanse and whiten the teeth. But to preserve them and to keep them clean, they must be daily cleansed from filth, and meat that sticks in them, by a tooth-picker, made of the Lignum Leutiscinum. Afterwards you must wash the mouth with wine, and the teeth must be rubbed with the following powder: Take of the Roots of Bistort, Allum, and White Coral, each one ounce; make a fine powder wherewith rub the teeth.”

This was state-of-the-art in 1695.

Edititorial notes by Andrew I Spielman.

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