Carrington's Life Pills

Carrington’s Life Pills were made principally of capsicum, so they might well have cured your cold — if having your entire head blown off could be said to constitute a cure. The Reverend Caleb Carrington was Vicar of Berkeley from 1799 until his death in May 1837, and his eventful incumbency …

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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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The Vital Regenerator

Balsam of Mecca was a prized substance in Arabian medicine and cosmetics, but it was very difficult to get hold of the real thing in Europe in the 19th century. The true balsam – a resin from the shrub then known as Balsamodendron Opobalsamum (now more commonly Commiphora gileadensis) – was …

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Widow Welch's Pills for ladies

I like this one because there’s a real sense of feminine solidarity. Mrs Smithers, possessor of knowledge passed down through the generations, sounds like a better bet than the mortifying prospect of consulting a male doctor.   TO LADIES.—THE ONLY GENUINE WIDOW WELCH’S PILLS are those prepared by MRS SMITHERS (Granddaughter to the WIDOW …

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Solomon's Drops

Happy New Year and welcome to The Quack Doctor! For more information about this new blog, please have a look at the About page. I’ll be posting transcripts of historical advertisements for all sorts of weird and wonderful patent medicines, with the aim of building up quite a collection. I’m hoping …

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