As with the previous translation of Syrups, headers that are in parentheses are notes from Tony Hunt, while parentheses contained within the copy usually contain my own notes, whether it is clarification of a term or uncertainty of the translation.
It is to be noted, however, that of any medicine which is prepared in the manner of electors, they can be made into pills, with the exception of those who receive the elector in such a quantity that the virtue of the elector dominates, and except for medicinal vomits. But electorates and other medicinal emetics have the power of dissolving the fluids and flatulence they touch, and from their long residence in the stomach they sometimes induce suffocation. Hence the virtue of the recipient, the complexion, the strength of the medicine, the time of the year, and the like, which may be obstacles, must always be vigilantly attended to. And beyond this, he who is about to take the pills must be prepared in the same way as he who is about to take the potion, and almost the same incidents that usually happen around the potion must be observed about the pills, with the exception of the fact that the pills are given at night. But they must be given in pill form, and they must be overslept, so that, strengthened by the natural heat, the medicine is dissolved internally in sleep. Therefore, if someone to be cleansed has taken the pills, he will be able to oversleep until the medicine is dissolved and the drink is taken. Now this is a general commandment, that no medicine from which it has been taken should cause any movement until the purification is completed. For the power of the medicine perishes and is emptied by sleep. For the heat which is dissolved in the dreams of medicine, if it lasts long, consumes its strength. It is useful, however, at the beginning of the night to give a laxative medicine in the form of pills, and this after a small meal. Hence he must eat soft eggs and the like. But the medicine to be given in a liquid substance must be given in the morning, and the potion must not then be overslept. He who is about to take pills or drink, the day before in the morning must be sufficiently replenished with food, while at the same time laxatives and sips. But it is too late to abstain. We do give pills when we want to clean the remote parts and especially to clean the head. But you should know that some pills are not laxatives, for example, there are pills for coughs and pills for asthma and to clarify the voice and such that are to be held under the tongue until they are dissolved.
In addition, it should be known that laxative pills are presented for three reasons:
1 - One reason is because of the disabled. For there are some who cannot take medicine in liquid form, and for this reason they are given pills.
2 - The second reason why they are given pills is because they are a strong attraction (adhesion?).
3 - A third reason is that pills are given when the material is large and coarse and needs strongly held together.
And because of the horrible taste they can be given in many ways:
1 - They are given in one way with the fog (thin film?), as follows: let a part of the fog be taken and placed in wine, and a pill wrapped in it. And so wrapped it is placed on a spoon and thus presented.
2 - Another method of giving is as follows: take well-skimmed honey and wrap a pill in this honey and present it.
3 - In a third way, they can be given with (“porridge” in one translation, “meal” in another, hysterically sausage in a third, but there is an older Greek word that also means porridge/mush that is similar): for they are made into (“meal” or “porridge”) and wrapped in them and presented on a spoon.
4 - In the fourth way, they should be presented in a soft egg.
5 - Fifthly, with good nectar.
6 - In the sixth way, but not at all times, thus: the skin of cherries or grapes should be taken, after removing what is contained within, and a pill should be placed in the skin and thus given.
And so about finding other ways from a talented doctor. But there are still some who cannot receive medicine in any such way. Wherefore it is necessary that they should be given laxative food, or laxative nectar, or a combination of these. In addition, it is necessary to know that in pill medicine for one pound of species it is necessary to soak three pounds of honey or two and a half pounds sugar. (One translation reads a pound and a half of sugar, another reads two and a half pounds. Original - “Preterea sciendum est quod in medicinus pillulatis ad libram unam specierum requiruntur libre tres mellis vel libre due et semis zuccare.”) And it should be noted that all the pills can be stored properly for two years, but the pills should not be too dry or too soft. For according to what Avicenna wants, the pills are not to be given after they have been dried and made hard like stones, nor should they be too soft, but should be as if they had just been taken to dry, and which should be crushed with the fingers.