A devil of a cure

One must always be grateful for small mercies. When a giant jazz-hands Satan is trampling amok on your planet of residence, you can at least gain comfort from the fact he has kept his underpants on. This depiction of Old Nick was registered as a trademark in 1915 by the …

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Hunt’s Remedy

ADvent Calendar Day 7 Take THAT, Death! POW! The skeletal figure of the Grim Reaper drops his scythe and cowers before the might of a strong, healthy opponent wielding a bottle of Hunt’s Remedy. The Remedy became popular in the 1870s after it was acquired by William Clarke of Providence, Rhode …

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Dr Ralph’s Pills

ADvent Calendar Day 2 Dr Ralph’s Pills and the ‘Ralphian Theory’ appear to have been inspired by the Hygeist principles of James Morison, who introduced Vegetable Universal Pills to Britain in 1825. Joseph Ralph’s system, like that of Morison, comprised two varieties of remedy – the Alterative Purgatives (No. 1) …

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A pleasant time and a pleasant tomorrow

  We all have those Facebook friends – you know, the ones who make it clear what a wild, fun and edgy life they lead by announcing that they’re, like, sooooo hungover lol. Well, perhaps their troubles would have been easier to bear in 1955, when a party-pak of Quaff-Aid …

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Torpid Liver Positively Cured

I’m sure all The Quack Doctor’s readers have leapt out of bed bright and early this morning, clear-headed, sparkly-eyed and ready to go out and grab all the exciting opportunities that the New Year presents. But if you know someone who is feeling a little more fragile right now, you …

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Mayr’s Wonderful Stomach Remedy

Some secret remedies remain secret for centuries. Not Mayr’s Wonderful Stomach Remedy. Within about a year of it becoming famous, a Chicago newspaper was describing its promoter as a ‘comical quack’ and ‘one of the most entertaining medical fakers in Chicago.’ The Stomach Remedy was inspired by the methods of …

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Bile Beans, part 2

Just a quick post today while I languish on my sickbed without any useful remedies to console me. Following on from a previous post about the Bile Beans for Biliousness, Jane Ellen, Senior Archivist at the University of Melbourne Archives kindly sent me this image, probably from the 1930s. It …

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Charles Forde's Bile Beans for Biliousness

While Bile Beans were initially pitched as a cure for biliousness, the influenza epidemic of 1899 was too good an opportunity to miss. Horrible though the ‘flu was, a lot of people would recover after a week or so anyway, and it was an easy matter for quacks to point to …

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Dr. Pierce's Pleasant Pellets

Dr Ray Vaughn Pierce (pictured, courtesy of Project Gutenberg) was an über-quack whose laboratory in  Buffalo, NY, produced millions of dollars worth of patent remedies. As well as the Pleasant Pellets shown below, there were Dr Pierce’s Anuric Tablets, Dr Pierce’s Favorite Prescription, Dr Pierce’s Vaginal Tablets, Dr Pierce’s Extract of Smart-Weed and Dr …

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Monteet's Infallible Medicines

Monteet’s Medicines weren’t among the more famous of 19th-century remedies. The proprietor, R. Hodgson, advertised them quite heavily in the Northern Echo for a few months in 1880-81, but after that they disappear. There is no way to tell whether the various mixtures were all pretty much the same, but it wouldn’t …

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