A miraculous change right away quick

Last October I blogged about the Magic Foot Drafts, a remedy for rheumatism that required the patient to stick pine-tar-coated oilcloth plasters to the soles of their feet. This was supposed to draw out uric acid through the pores, but as Samuel Hopkins Adams said in The Great American Fraud, …

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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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The Zerret Applicator

And now for something completely different… We leap forward into the 1950s today with this Public Service Announcement from the US Food and Drug Administration. The presenter is actor Raymond Massey and his advice is all too relevant today. ‘There are no Z-rays’ is undoubtedly the best line of the film, …

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The Cordial Balm of Rakasiri – part 2

For part 1 of this article, click here. There’s also a transcript of an 1818 Rakasiri advert here. In 1828, a ‘nervous young man’ who had wasted more than 10l. on the Cordial Balm of Rakasiri went to a magistrate and succeeded in getting his money back. During the proceedings, …

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The Cordial Balm of Rakasiri – part 1

Source: The Morning Chronicle, Saturday 12 December 1818. For transcript, click here. On this site I include anything medical or surgical provided it was advertised, so not all the remedies were considered quackery in their time. Some were endorsed and prescribed by reputable doctors, and many were no worse than …

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The Famous Little Sugar Plums

Source: The General Advertiser, 19 Jan 1748 . I mentioned the Purging Sugar Plumbs for Worms early in the life of this blog, but didn’t include much beyond the ad itself, and I hardly had any readers then anyway, so I think it’s worth revisiting – especially as this advert …

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Baron Schwanberg's Liquid Shell

By the KING’S Royal Letters Patent, SCHWANBERG’s LIQUID SHELL, DAILY confirmed, by Experience, not only to be a sure DISSOLVENT for the STONE and GRAVEL, but a most powerful, safe, and efficacious Medicine in the Spasmodic and Windy Cholic, Pains in the Breast, Hypochondriac Disease, and all Kinds of Flatulences, …

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Swaim's Panacea – part 2

For part 1 about Swaim’s Panacea, click here. Within a few years of establishing his products, William Swaim was enjoying the benefits of endorsements from some of Philadelphia’s most eminent physicians, including Nathaniel Chapman, William Gibson, William Pott Dewees, Thomas Parke and James Mease – and he didn’t even have …

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Swaim's Panacea – part 1

SWAIM’S PANACEA.—This Medicine has acquired a very extensive and established celebrity in Europe and America, and its virtues are known and acknowledged by many of the most respectable physicians of both countries. As an alterative, and in various diseases, particularly in cases of inveterate corruption of the blood descending to …

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Dr Lowther's Powders and Drops

MR. ELIAS GROVES, of Clapham, attests, that he was afflicted upwards of a Year and half with a most violent windy Disorder, to so great a Degree, that the Wind would roll about, as it were, all over his Body, and occasion him frequently to be discharging it in a …

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