"...Granted, hindsight is 20/20, but some awfully strange substances have been used for pharmaceutical purposes in the past -- and some might argue, continue to be used today. Here are some vintage advertisements touting items that we might balk at taking today..."
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Weed, Booze, Cocaine and Other Old School "Medicine" Ads
Posted by Mark Jun 9th, 14:50
Granted, hindsight is 20/20, but some awfully strange substances have been used for pharmaceutical purposes in the past -- and some might argue, continue to be used today. Here are some vintage advertisements touting items that we might balk at taking today.
Lloyd Cocaine Toothache Drops
In the US, cocaine was sold over the counter until 1914 and was commonly found in products like toothache drops, dandruff remedies and medicinal tonics.
Metcalf's Coca Wine
Coca wine combined wine with cocaine, producing a compound now known as cocaethylene, which, when ingested, is nearly as powerful a stimulant as cocaine.
From 1898 through to 1910, heroin was marketed as a cough suppressant by trusted companies like Bayer -- alongside the company's other new product, Aspirin.
Pantopon Roche Injectable Opium
"Try Pantopon in place of morphine for dependable, optimum relief of pain."
Brand name for the now-illegal sedative methaqualone. "Now the physician has one less tired, sleepy and apprehensive patient to contend with."
Starting in the late 1800s, many breweries produced "food tonics," malt beverages containing around 2% alcohol that were promoted as "food in liquid form," aiding in digestion, increasing appetite and aiding in sleep. "A boon to nursing mothers."
A combination of two amphetamines; known popularly as "black beauties." Marketed for its weight loss benefits.
Brand name for methamphetamine. "The selective cerebral action of Norodin is useful in dispelling the shadows of mild mental depression."
McNeil Butisol Sodium
Brand name for butabarbital. "Mabel is unstable...it's 'that time' in her life. To see her through the menopause, there's gentle 'daytime sedation' in Butisol Sodium."
Brand name for pentobarbital. "When little patients balk at scary, disquieting examinations...When they need prompt sedation (and the oral route isn't feasible)...try Nembutal sodium suppositories...There is little tendency toward morning-after hangover."
Dr. Miles' Nervine
"Since I have been taking Nervine, nothing bothers me."
Wolcott's Instant Pain Annihilator
"A speedy & permanent cure for headache, toothache, neuralgia, catarrh and weak nerves."
Dr. Ham's Aromatic Invigorator
A "cure for Dyspepsia, Low Spirits, Nervousness, Heartburn, Colic Pains, Wind in the Stomach or Pains in the Bowels, Headache, Drowsiness, Kidney and Liver Complaints, Melancholy, Delirium Tremens, and Intemperance."
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