The Balm of Zura, or Phoenix of Life

Source: Trewman’s Exeter Flying Post, 3 April 1823 Much of the evidence on this one is anecdotal, but the proprietor of the Balm of Zura, Dr A. Lamert, certainly sounds quite a character. Lamert was the son of a London-based German quack who dabbled in ophthalmology before moving on to …

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Nelson's Mixture for Diseases of the Lungs

A MORE VALUABLE DISCOVERY was never made in Medicine than NELSON’S MIXTURE for DIS- EASES of the LUNGS.—Coughs the most inveterate, sleepless nights, wheezing, and shortness of breath, profuse spitting, pains in the chest, and spitting of blood, in short asthma and consumption is completely cured by it;  it lessens excessive …

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Butler's Vegetable Restorative Tooth Powder

Image: Le Baume d’Acier by Louis Leopold Boilly. Courtesy of the US National Library of Medicine. BEAUTY, HEALTH, and a PEARLY SET of TEETH, may be preserved to old age, by the use of BUTLER’s VEGETABLE RESTORA- TIVE TOOTH-POWDER, a specific for the Tooth Ach, and its cause, the Scurvy …

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Newton's Restorative Tooth Powder

   (Image from Gray’s Anatomy, 20th US Edition 1918.) There’s a sub-species of urban myth specifically related to “the olden days,” and one of its pronouncements is that everyone before about 1950 had appallingly rotten teeth. That’s if they were lucky enough to have any teeth at all.  I have a vague memory of a …

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