was originally a pill shaped lump of compressed herbs
, which was burnt to release its medicinal
properties. Pastilles were in widest use during the eighteenth century, and have never really made a comeback. Today, "pastille" can also refer to a medicinal pill
or flavored candy, or to any kind of incense
. References to the burning of medicinal pastilles include the short story "Birthmark" by Nathaniel Hawthorne
, the poem "The Laboratory" by Robert Browning
, and the novel Jane Eyre
by Charlotte Brontë
. They are also mentioned in the novel McTeague
by Frank Norris
, when the title character's wife burns them to mask an unpleasant odor in the couple's rooms.
A pastille is also known as a "troche", or medicated lozenge, that can be dissolved like a candy.