Patent Medicine Trade Cards, c.1900

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2 comments to Patent Medicine Trade Cards, c.1900

  • Jinx

    A “sick headache” is a migraine.

    Seidlitz powder is the name with which is commonly known a medication composed by a mixture of tartaric acid, sodium bicarbonate, and potassium sodium tartrate, used as a mild cathartic by dissolving in water and drinking. When it mixed with the stomach acids, it would create gas that would go one way or another, giving relief. It could be fatal for people with a bowel obstruction!

    Many of these concoctions had high alcohol content, which of course would cause relief and rest. Laudanum was a mixture of whiskey and morphine (1%) guaranteed to bring relief to what ails you!

    Lydia Pinkham’s pills and tonics were actually the least harmful and possibly most helpful of all patent medicines. Her Wiki is interesting. The contents of her medicine were actually fairly helpful for “women’s troubles”, and her company willingly dispensed information to women who wrote.

    The use of “electro” in some medicines didn’t mean electricity was used in them, but was merely a marketing ruse to make it seem modern and mystical at the same time!

    At a time when few could afford a doctor for every little ill, and hospitals were far away, these “medicines” were the first line of defense for many families, unless they made their own brews.

    Great stuff, thanks!

  • Eric

    I have an old bottle that was used for “Mrs. Winslow’s Soothing Syrup”. It was, indeed, meant for teething and colicky babies. I imagine it worked pretty well, seeing as how 40% of each bottle was pure morphine.

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