Hood’s Sarsaparilla was big business in the late 19th and early 20th centuries – you can get an idea how big from this picture of the Massachusetts laboratory. Adverts for it were everywhere, and there were also spin-off products such as calendars and cookbooks.
Is essential to health.
Every nook and corner
Of the system is
Reached by the blood, and on
Its quality and condition
The condition of
Every organ depends.
The surest way to
Have good blood
Is to take
Which by its power as a
Cures Scrofula, Dyspepsia,
That Tired Feeling,
Loss of Appetite, etc.
From taking Hood’s Sarsaparilla
Makes strong nerves, good
Digestion, Robust health,
Is the One True Blood Purifier. Sold by all
Chemists. Small. 2s. 9d. ; large, 4s. 6d. Sent
post paid on receipt of price by C. I. Hood and
Co., Limited, 34, Snow-hill, London, E.C.
HOOD’S PILLS are gentle; do not pain
HOOD’S PILLS or gripe.
Source: The Bristol Times and Mercury, Saturday 27th February 1897
Advertising pamphlets stated the mixture was “carefully prepared from Sarsaparilla, Dandelion, Mandrake, Dock, Pipsissewa, Juniper Berries, and other valuable vegetable remedies, in such a peculiar manner as to retain the full curative value of each ingredient used,” but analysis by the BMA, reported in Secret Remedies: What they cost and what they contain, showed that the mixture contained only “2.0 parts of vegetable extract per 100 fluid parts.” Instead, its popularity might have been down to it being nearly 20% alcohol.
Here is a US advert from 1886:
Thank you to the US National Library of Medicine for both images on this page.