1800’s Medication, Part 1

I’m currently researching what medicines the lads would have had access to, if they had a cold or headache or something even worse. I’m having so much fun with it that I thought I’d share some of what I’ve learned!


For Cough and Cold:

  • White Pine and Tar Cough Syrup (chloroform) “For coughs, colds, hoarseness, sore throat, bronchitis, and all diseases of the throat and lungs”MED_Pine_Tar
  • Tuckers V. Vegetable Extract: “warranted to cure asthma, bronchitis, canker, croup, coughs and colds, hoarseness, indigestion and sore throat”
  • Shiloh’s Catarrh Remedy: “A speedy and positive cure for catarrh, cold in the head, sore throat, canker mouth, and nervous headache”MED_Shiloh
  • Seabury’s Cough Balsam: “For coughs, colds, influenza, croup, whooping cough, asthma, other afflictions of the lungs and throat lading to consumption” “A marvelous cure for catarrh, diphtheria, canker mouth, and headache. With each bottle there is an ingenious Nasal Injector for the more successful treatment of these complaints” (50 cents)
  • Dr. Lawrence’s Cough Balsam: (alcohol, cannabis, chloroform, antimony) “For coughs, colds, hoarseness, sore throat, tightness or soreness of the chest, whooping cough, bronchitis, croup, and all inflammations of the chest and lungs” Trial size 25 cents, family size $1 bottle MED_Cough_Balsam
  • Durno’s Catarrh Snuff: “For sore eyes, deafness, headache, and the worst forms of catarrh in the head and throat” (34 cents)
  • Mann’s Wonderful Catarrh Remedy: “For catarrh, colds, headaches, sore throat”MED_Manns
  • Z.C. Alden’s Catarrh Cure: “For catarrh, cold in the head, headache”
  • Magic Cure for Chills and All Fevers: “Cures malarial fevers, headaches, dyspepsia, neuralgia, rheumatism, piles, costiveness”
  • The “Allenburys” Throat Pastilles (diamorphine and cocaine or eucalyptus and cocaine, some also have menthol) by Allen and Hanbury, London MED_Allenbury
  • Quaker’s Black Drops (opium-based lozenge)
  • Dr. Barton’s “Brown Mixture” (opium/paregoric and licorice)
  • Ayer’s Cherry Pectoral (cherry extract and morphine) “Cures colds, coughs and all diseases of the throat and lungs” MED_Cherry_Pectoral
  • Wistar’s Balsam of Wild Cherry: (cherry bark, alcohol and opiate) “Of all the remedies ever discovered for the diseases of the Pulmonary Organs, it is universally admitted that nothing has ever proved as successful as that unrivaled medicine – Dr. Winstar’s Balsam of Wild Cherry, which has effected some of the most astonishing cures every recorded in the history of Medicine”MED_Wistars

Book Titles, Part 2

Now that you’ve had the serious advice, here’s some fun with book titles!

Writing (17 of 30)

  • Martin at the NY Times suggests Noun + Number of Nouns or Somebody’s Something
  • Promise how to change something
  • Use satisfying numbers: 3, 7, 10, 99
  • Hyatt offers four choices: Make a promise, Offer intrigue, Identify a need, Explain the content
  • Some say you should use alliteration or spoonerisms

And here’s a fun little Best-Selling Title Generator

Writing (10 of 30)

Try one of the following cliche titles:

  • The Art of ______
  • ______ For Dummies
  • Transforming _______
  • The Joy of [something not usually thought of as joyful]
  • The End of [something people don’t usually want to end]
  • Extreme _______
  • The [something important] playbook/guidebook/handbook
  • Breakthrough _______
  • How to [verb] {adjective]
  • [Outrageous Claim] – how something will do something
  • The [number} Sins/Secrets of Something
  • [Made-up Word You Sincerely Hope Will Become a Meme]

And once you’ve picked a title, just for fun here’s a Title Scorer to see if your title will hit Number One!

How To Title a Book

I get this question all the time over on WikiAnswers … “What is a good title for a story/book about _____?”

Writing (27 of 30)

So how do you find a good title for your book? Here are a few tips:

  • Finish the book first (unless the perfect title “just comes to you” along the way) – the best titles come from something within the work, so unless you’ve finished, you might miss the perfect line or phrase that creates your title
  • Try a double meaning – the most memorable titles are ones that can mean several things depending on how you look at it
  • Be sure the title matches the story – sometimes you have what seems to be the perfect title, then when you’ve finished the story, the title doesn’t fit any more. Be sure to check the fit before you slap the title onto the cover
  • Make it short – your title should be short enough to type, tweet, or say easily
  • Remember your voice and POV – if you’ve written in third person point of view, don’t title the book “The Day I Learned The Truth”
  • Use precise nouns and active verbs – while there’s no actual algorithm for writing book titles, you can be sure that “Desire Under the Elms” beats “Love Under the Trees” as a title
  • Grab their attention – your title should be something that “hooks” a passer-by and interest them enough to make them pick up the book and check it out
  • Give an idea of what’s to come – your title should hint at what’s in store for the reader inside your book, but not give away any important plot points
  • Make it easy to say – the title should be simple, easy to remember and say, and not something that would embarrass your friends to ask about in a bookstore
  • Make it something you can say 1,000 times – you’re going to be saying your own title thousands of times, so make it something you don’t mind repeating

For You: The Lads Board a Train

This is part of the scene where the lads (and Emily) head off to New York for their new case:

A few last-minute arrivals bustled over, and were hurried on board. With a whoosh of steam and a series of great jerks, the double engines pulled us away from the station. A cloud of cinders flew past the windows, sparkling in the gloom, and the scent of wood smoke stung my nose. That ash would get everywhere if we opened the windows or left the car. Our clothing would require a good cleaning once we reached our destination. I had to remember that it was small price to pay for such a speedy journey. After all, it had taken our grandparents months to travel across the country. Just because I’d prefer to be relaxing within my own drawing room was no reason to disparage the wonders of modern technology[ Check etymology].

Emily and Barbara stared eagerly out the windows as we rode through the Sacramento Valley. This late in the year, the harvest was all gathered, but the valley was still green and lovely. The train swayed and jerked, and the constant rattle of the wheels lulled one into a daze. I pulled out The Mysterious Island, a new volume by Jules Verne. That, a couple more new books and a few old favorites should last the journey. I didn’t look up until the train began to climb the Sierras. The setting sun turned the rocks of the mountains golden. My appreciation of nature may be less than that of modern convenience, but I can recognize beauty when I see it.


We broke out the fried chicken dinner Mrs. Rowell had packed, and made use of the dining table. The porter, when summoned, was happy to fetch a coffee service and pour the wine, especially when I dropped another coin into his palm. These fellows made little or nothing from the big bugs of the railroad, and depended on their tips to make ends meet. A well-greased wheel moves easiest, and Chance Knight is all for greasing the wheels of society. “George” agreed to keep the coffee pot filled for us.

“If you like, sir,” he added, “I can provide an informative lecture when we reach the most interesting spots on the journey.”

“Oh, we should enjoy that very much,” cried Emily. “I’m certain you have seen every inch of the countryside by now.”

“George” smiled and nodded his curly head. “Yes’m, and I’ve got some mighty interesting stories, too. You’d be surprised what happens on a train.”

The landscape outside the windows changed from rolling fields to rugged cliffs and ravines and broken ridges, covered by dense stands of pine. The odor of the evergreens overpowered even the scent of the ash flying alongside the windows. I reached for my book.

“About our conversation the other day…” Emily said with a smile that raised the hackles on the back of my neck.

Kye had the audacity to chuckle.

“I have no idea what you are talking about,” I said, opening the novel pointedly.

“Your memory is perfect, my dear. You are well aware that I am discussing Devon Day and the Sweetwater Kid.”