No earlier years had found so many forward-looking inquirers at work as did the 18th century, men anxious to transfer into the fields of biology and medicine the scientific revolution that had remade physics and astronomy.
Yet the problem of disease and health was so vast and complex, the sum total of new medical knowledge still so small, and the weight of past traditions so pressing that even the keenest minds were perplexed.
Medicines approv'd by royal charter, James, Godfry, Anderson, Court-plaster, With Keyser's Hooper's Lockyer's Pills, And Honey 'Balsam Doctor' Hill's; Bateman and Daffy, Jesuits drops, And all the Tinctures of the shops, As Stoughton, Turlington and Grenough, Pure British Oil and Haerlem, Ditto. Its founders were certain ingenious Englishmen who combined medical lore and promotional zeal in an age when regular medicines left much to be desired. Anderson's Pills, a product of the 1630's, were prepared from a formula allegedly learned in Venice by a Scot who claimed to be physician to King Charles I.
These last were listed: Bateman's and Stoughton's Drops, Lockyer's, Hooper's, and Anderson's Pills, British Oyl, and Daffy's Elixir  American patent medicine history began in Britain.
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.
Thus surgery and experimenting in the laboratory were frowned upon.
Disputation between proponents of conflicting theoretical systems was protracted and bitter.
Besides this therapeutic toleration, there were other aspects of the medical scene which encouraged the would-be medicine maker.Paracelsus and his disciples added certain minerals to the materia medica . One touchstone that had brought appalling substances into usage was the dictum that the worse a medicine tasted the greater its curative power.Disease was an invader that must be driven from the body by a substance as abhorrent as itself.The age of discovery had flooded Europe with new products from the entire world. By 1650 the medicinal garden at Oxford University, begun in 1623, was growing 600 native species and 1,000 plants brought from beyond the seas .Medication in the 17th and I 8th centuries was certainly laissez- faire, the multitude of remedies justified in terms of speculative theory or presumed empirical experience.
English practitioners who possessed prestige and status were the fellows of the London College of Physicians, a body founded during the quickened scientific interest of the Renaissance but now grown arthritic.