London: E.G. for William Lee, 1650. 4to. [xii], 75 pp. FIRST AND ONLY EDITION IN ENGLISH. Title within typographical border, woodcut headpieces and initials, printed marginal notes. Early (possibly contemporary) full calf ruled in blind; first and last blank leaves browned around fore-edges. Item #16395
First and only edition in English of Helmont’s treatise on catarrhal discharges and phlebotomy, an analysis of pulmonary infections by the Flemish physician and chemist (1580-1644) who founded the Iatrochemical School and coined the term “gas.” He opposes many of the popular views of the day, including bloodletting and purgatives, and takes a stand against the Galenic theory that catarrh was the result of phlegm distilling and condensing in the head, pointing out that mucus in the nose and throat actually protects tissue from irritation. This demolition of the traditional explanation of all disease as a down-flow of corrosive mucus (the so called “deliramenta catarrh”) was a definite advance in the direction of understanding disease as determined by specific pathogens and local changes.