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Respiration. 1991;58 Suppl 1:37-42.

History of the treatment of chronic bronchitis.

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Olive View Medical Center, Sylmar, Calif.


Although chronic bronchitis was first named and described in 1808, the disease has been known since earliest time, and numerous drugs have been utilized in its therapy. The basic historic theories of human function have readily been applied to bronchitis; thus in Greek medicine, the disease was appreciated as one of excess phlegm. Early remedies included garlic, pepper, cinnamon, and turpentine, whereas later therapies of choice emphasized coffee, ipecac, and potassium nitrate. Most of the favored bronchodilator drugs of today are derived from the traditional folk remedies, ephedrine, atropine, and theophylline. The most interesting historical drugs, however, are those that have given rise to modern mucokinetic agents such as bromhexine and iodides.

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