This section is from the book "Meals Medicinal", by W. T. Fernie. Also available from Amazon: Meals Medicinal: With "Herbal Simples" Curative Foods From the Cook in Place of Drugs From the Chemist.
(See Birds, Small).
The flesh of the Song Thrush, or Throstle, is excellent for a weak digestion. "Roasted with myrtle berries it helps the dysentery, and other fluxes of the belly." Its notes, of flute-like melody, are "full of rich cadences, clear, and deep." The food of the Song Thrush is chiefly insects. "Around the head of spring," quoth Master Swan (Speculum Mundi, 1643), "the choristers of the resounding woods do then begin to tune their sugared throats, bidding good morrow to the day, and music to the morn".
In former Roman times patrician ladies reared thousands of Thrushes yearly for the market, and further sold the manure therefrom for the land. Men ruined themselves in procuring dishes composed of these birds for their guests. But when the physician of Pompey prescribed a Thrush for inciting appetite, there was not one to be found for sale in all Rome; meantime Lucullus had scores of them in his private Aviary. The Thrush Aviary of Varro's aunt was one of the sights of Rome. Hannah More has told, respecting Dr. Johnson that when talking to her about Pembroke College, Oxford, and his poetical companions thereat, - Shenstone, and others, - he said, "We are all a nest of singing birds here".
For the particular aphthous, white, patchy soreness inside the mouth, which is known as "thrush," especially in infants (and in some extremities of adult disease), - this local trouble being produced by the yeast fungus (Saccharomyces albicans), - Swedish doctors give the "Thrush lichen" (Pettigera aphthosa) (which grows on moist Alpine rocks), boiled in milk, as a cure. Likewise, "On fait avec le suc de Cassis" (black currant) "une confiture, et un Sirop que les Anglais emploient dans ces maux de gorge. Ils en fabriquent des saccharoles solides, sous forme de pastilles".