1800s Medication, Part 4

God forbid the lads might need a laxative!


  • Dr. Lorraine’s Vegetable Pill “Mild, certain, safe, efficient. It is far the best cathartic remedy yet discovered” (25 cents a box)
  • Polk Miller’s Liver Pills: “For constipation, headache, biliousness” (10 cents per box)
  • Dr. Wengert’s Hepatica Pills: For derangement of the liver and secretions. An alternative and cathartic”
  • Dr. C. McLane’s Celebrated Liver Pills: “For sick headache and in all bilious complaints” MED_McLane
  • Dr. T. Reynolds’ Celebrated Virginia Hepatic Pills
  • Holloway’s Pills: ( aloe, myrrh, saffron) “sick headache with loss of appetite … dropsical swellings and turn of life … nervous disorders …” MED_Holloway
  • Tamara Larix Bon Bon: “For the cure of constipation and liver diseases and thereby for the prevention of headache, dyspepsia, cerebral congestion, biliousness, piles, etc. Etc. Cures constipation and thus prevents congestion of the brain, apoplexy, insanity, convulsions. It is almost a cure for seasickness”
  • Dr. H.D. Whitlock’s Cathartic Granules
  • Brandreth’s Pills: “Excellent purgative and anti-bilious pills, warranted purely vegetable”
  • Ayer’s Pills: “Purely vegetable cathartic” MED_Ayers
  • Beecham’s Pills:“The great English remedy, cures bilious and nervous ills” (25 cents a box)
  • Schenck’s Mandrake Pills: (“For biliousness and associated conditions due to constipation” “For all bilious complaints. These pills are composed exclusively of vegetable ingredients and, although they entirely supersede the use of mercury, do not have any of its injurious effects. They act directly upon the liver, and are a valuable remedy in all cases of derangement of that organ. Sick headache, indigestion, and all bilious disorders succumb to the free use of them” MED_Mandrake_Pills
  • Hall Family Pills: “For sick headache, vertigo or dizziness, constipation”
  • Rush’s Pills: “Purgative”

1800s Medication, Part 3

Come Spring, Carmela would probably encourage the lads to take a tonic!


  • Old Dr. Townsend’s Sarsaparilla (sarsaparilla, molasses, senna and 18-25 proof alcohol) “the most extraordinary medicine in the world”-  claimed to purify the blood and cure rheumatism, pimples, spinal issues, eye sores, ringworm and dyspepsia MED_Townsend_Bottle
  • Turlington’s Balsam of Life (27 ingredients) “good for “kidney and bladder stones, cholic, and inward weakness” MED_Turlington
  • Dr. Walker’s California Vinegar Bitters: (various herbs, fermented, possibly sour beer and aloes)
  • Mrs. N. Bailey’s Cascarilla Compound “The best Spring medicine of the age” “has cured thousands within the last fifteen years of coughs, colds, dyspepsia, salt rheum, dropsy, canker, piles, and many other diseases resulting from a vitiated state of the blood.”( $1.00 a bottle)
  • Ellis’s Iron Bitters: “will enrich the blood and prevent it from becoming watery and weak, give a healthy complexion, restore the appetite, invigorate the system and are very palatable. These bitters are recommended to all persons requiring a safe and valuable tonic, to impart tone and strength to the system, not given by Bitters merely stimulant in their effects; which, although they may possess tonic vegetable properties, cannot give the strength to the blood which the Iron Bitters will give”
  • Peruvian Syrup: “strikes at the root of disease by supplying the blood with its vital principle of life element – iron. For all diseases originating in dyspepsia, or a bad state of the blood, it is a specific” MED_Peruvian
  • Dr. J.W. Poland’s Humor-Doctor ”A positive remedy for all kinds of humors, scrofula, scurvy, salt rheum, erysipelas, nettle rash, boils, carbuncles, ulcers and all obstinate affections of the skin; mercurial diseases and every taint of the system; dyspepsia and those diseases originating in the derangement of the digestive organs; viz. Billious complaints, neuralgia, nervous affections, headache, languor, loss of appetite, depression of spirits and costiveness” “An invaluable medicine for purifying the blood” MED_Humor-Doctor
  • Dr. E.C. West’s Nerve and Brain Treatment: “For hysteria, dizziness, convulsions, fits, nervous neuralgia, headache, nervous prostration caused by the use of alcohol or tobacco, wakefulness, mental depression, loss of memory, softening of the brain resulting in insanity, premature old age, barrenness, loss of power in either sex, involuntary emissions and spermatorrhoea caused by over exertion of the brain, self abuse or over indulgence” (Each box contains 1 month’s treatment. $1.00 a box or 6 boxes for 3.00) MED_Nerve_Brain_Treatment
  • Dr. J Walker’s Vinegar Bitters: “Dyspepsia, indigestion, rheumatism, diarrhea, consumption, catarrh, bronchitis, neuralgia, headache, boils, ulcers, sore eyes, dropsy, scald head, paralysis, erysipelas, scrofula, tetter, skin diseases, bilious, remittant and intermittant fevers, pains in the back, shoulders, heart and chest, liver and kidney troubles, stomach ache, jaundice, gout and fits, colds and coughs, croup, palpitation of the heart, lead colic, nausea, biliousness, constipation, piles, worms” “A purely vegetable preparation manufactured from the Native Herbs of California. The great blood purifier and life-giving principle. Their alternative, solvent, diuretic and tonic properties exceed any medicine in the world.” Directions: Take of the Bitters on going to bed at night from a half to one an one-half wineglassful. Eat good nourishing food such as beef-steak, mutton chop, venison, roast beef and vegetables, and take outdoor exercise. They are composed of purely vegetable ingredients and contain no spirit.
  • Greeley’s Bourbon Bitters: “These biters prepared of pure old Bourbon Whiskey and possess all of its stimulating tonic and medicinal power. Modified and improved in its action on the system by the addition of many simple alternative and bitter tonics making them invaluable. A remedy in the treatment of lung complaints, bronchitis, dyspepsia, liver complaints and general debility and weakness of the system” Directions: A wine glassful should be taken before each meal. Ladies and children should begin with less quantity and increase. As an agreeable stomachic these bitters are unsurpassed.MED_Greeley_Bottle
  • Hollis Jaundice Bitters: “Are good in all bilious affectations, jaundice, dyspepsia, fever and ague, hypochondria, hysterics, flatulence, costitiveness, diarrhea, indigestion, asthma, worms, catarrh, sick headache and the liver complaint” MED_Jaundice_Bitters
  • Dr. Sawen’s Life Invigorating Bitters: “Dyspeptic remedy and blood purifyer. A great tonic acting upon the stomach and liver correcting the secretions and providing a certain remedy for dyspepsia, liver complaints, biliousness, nervous debility, loss of appetite and all other diseases requiring a tonic” MED_Sawen_Bottle
  • Moses Dame’s Wine of the Woods: “Remedy for dyspepsia, biliousness, costiveness, headache, worms, jaundice, liver complaint, debility, loss of energy, feebleness and all other diseases arising from derangement of the stomach, liver or blood”
  • Renne’s Magic Oil: “Colic, cholera mores, cramps and pain in the stomach, cholera, coughs, colds, croups, sore throat, dyspepsia, diarrhea, fever and ague, kidney difficulty, pleurisy, acid stomach, indigestion, headache, sea-sickness, rheumatism, neuralgia, sprains, lameness, sciatica, toothache, earache, catarrh, frost bites” MED_Renne_Bottle
  • Metcalf’s Coca Wine “A pleasant tonic and invigorator” “For fatigue of mind or body” “From fresh coca leaves and the purest wine” “Recommended for neuralgia, sleeplessness, despondency, etc.” MED_Metcalf_Ad
  • Vin Mariani ( coca leaves in red bordeaux wine) “Popular French tonic wine” “Diffusible stimulant and tonic in anaemia, nervous depression, sequelae of childbirth, lymphatism, tardy convalescence, general malaise, and after wasting fevers; special reference to the nervous system, in all morbid states, melancholia etc.; tonic in laryngeal and gastric complications, stomach troubles; all cases where a general toning or strengthening of the system is needed; the only tonic stimulant without any unpleasant reaction, and may be given indefinitely, never causing constipation” a proper dose was two the three glassfuls per day, taken before or after meals (halved for children). Even the Pope endorsed it!MED_Mariani_Pope

1800s Medication, Part 2

Here are some more of the over-the-counter remedies the lads might have used:

For Pain:

  • Dover’s Powder (opium and ipecac) MED_Dovers
  • Pain Killer: (opium?) “adapted for both internal and external application, and reaches a great many complaints, such as sudden colds, chills, congestion or stoppage of circulation, cramps, pains in the stomach, summer and bowel complaints, sore throat, etc. Applied externally, it has been found very useful for sprains, bruises, rheumatic pains, swelled face, etc. Arising from toothache” “Is just what its name implies – a killer of pain. It is not a cure-all but is just the thing needed in case of the slight ailments and accidents which occasionally afflict us all. For cholera morbus, cramps, and all bowel troubles, it has no equal. It removes all pain and soreness from cuts, bruises and burns, etc. (It smarts upon application, but only for a moment) MED_Painkiller
  • Miller’s Anodyne Cordial: (morphine and chloral hydrate) MED_Anodyne
  • Mrs. Winslow’s Soothing Syrup (65 mg morphine per ounce) for children but adults sometimes indulged
  • Wolcott’s Instant Pain Annihilator (possibly opium and alcohol) “A speedy and permanent cure for headache, toothache, neuralgia, catarrh and weak nerves.” MED_Wolcotts
  • McMunn’s Elixir of OpiumMED_McMunns
  • The Forest Liniment “cures rheumatism, headache, spinal complaints, swollen limbs, neuralgia and sprains, relieving pain almost instantly” (50 cents)
  • The Golden Ointment “as an external application for piles, salt rheums, poison of insects, cuts, burns or wounds of any kind, cannot be surpassed. It’s effects are truly wonderful.” (35 cents a box) MED_Golden_Ointment
  • Redding’s Russia Salve “unequalled for flesh wounds, sold all around the world”) MED_Russia_Salve
  • Holloway’s Ointment: will cure any wound, sore or ulcer, however long standing, if properly used according to the printed directions” MED_Holloway_Ointment
  • Hunt’s Liniment: “Rheumatism, sore throat, affections of the spine, nervous disorders, weakness, salt rheum, ring bone, spavin”
  • Alcock’s Porous Plasters “Seem to possess the power of accumulating electricity and imparting it to the body, whereby the circulation of the blood becomes equalized upon the parts where applied, causing pain and morbid action to cease” “For lumbago and all pains”); these were worn on the breast or between the shoulders or over the kidneys; other adverts suggested using them for such varied disorders as quinsy (you had to put a strip of plaster under your chin, stretching from ear to ear), diabetes, St Vitus’s Dance, epilepsy, dyspepsia, diarrhoea, coughs and colds, asthma, pleurisy, whooping cough, consumption, ruptures, sciatica, paralysis, rheumatism, tic douloureux and kidney problems. (The ads boasted that it only took 2 seconds to apply the plaster. Getting it off, however, was another matter. Dick’s Encyclopaedia noted in 1872 that:These plasters adhere very firmly, frequently requiring the application of heat (by means of a hot towel or warm flat-iron), for their removal.)