Thursday, January 12, 2012

Good For What Ails You #5

I was going to post something celebrating this blog's 100,000th visitor yesterday, but I'm a little under the weather and just didn't have the energy. Instead, I am on the search through these trade cards from the 1880s for a remedy that will make me feel better.

I don't really have a cough, but the cough drops might make me feel better anyway, especially if they're the old fashioned kind.
The backs of these cards promise me that they are cheap, harmless, pleasant, and effective.

There are some other brands I could try too.

The Red Cross Cough Syrup says it's good for whooping cough too. Nichols Bark and Iron seems to cover everything, including malaria, general debility, nervous prostration, and hypochondria. It must have a very high alcohol content! It also has Calisaya bark and iron in it. Where's the laudanum?

I don't know.  I'm feeling a little tired, but maybe I need to mix up my own elixir. I turn to my best resource book: Dr Chase's Recipes or Information for Everybody, published in 1867. The book contains sections for farriers, painters, and leather workers, in addition to the medical advice. I sometimes wonder if they get mixed up, since linseed oil does appear in some of the medical recipes. Maybe it just slipped over from the furniture refinishing department.

In any case, here are a few recipes for your amusement. Good luck finding the ingredients. I guess people just used to go to their grocer or pharmacist for these things? Try going to your pharmacist and asking for an ounce of Turkey opium.

Paregoric is also prepared with opium, just in case you thought this recipe was opium free.

  I know that a number of these recipes call for laudanum. Here's a recipe for that.

It seems that my pharmacist is out of Wahoo, spikenard root, and tamarack bark, so I think I'll just go to bed.


  1. Great recipes! Hoep you feel better soon!

  2. Most of the commercial remedies seem to have the added benefit of making people younger. Either that or they're not recommended for adults.

  3. Sorry you're not feeling well. I've got it, too, and I never get sick. Whatever this is seems to be affecting everyone.
    I noticed that Bark and Iron cures hypochondria. That seems to be counterproductive for a drug company.

  4. CH -- Feel better very soon! These cards are charming and those recipes!!! I think a hot toddy might work better. take care.

  5. the opium didn't cure..just made them not care!!!!
    hope you feel better soon!!
    love these postcards!!!

  6. Lovely Postcards today. Now which is it? Druggist, Pharmacist, or Chemist?

  7. Michael and Hanne,
    Well, that is a question isn't it. I think in the US it is now exclusively Pharmacist. Does anyone say Druggist anymore?

  8. Congratulations, I am not sure how many of those 100,000 visits I have contributed, all I know is that every visit has been an enjoyable - and informative - one.

  9. The instructions to wash the feet seem like an odd way to treat a cough.

  10. What a nice collection of trade'em!



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