Friday, May 13, 2016

Coughs & Colds in the Old West

The common cold has plagued mankind since we first walked the earth. Here are some patent medicines your characters might have turned to for relief. I've tried to find out the actual ingredients when possible, as well as the approximate dates you could have found the brand on the market and any advertising slogans they used. Occasionally, the advertisements also gave prices.

    White Pine and Tar Cough Syrup: alcohol, chloroform, white pine and tar (“For coughs, colds, hoarseness, sore throat, bronchitis, and all diseases of the throat and lungs”)
    Tuckers V. Vegetable Extract: 1846 (“warranted to cure asthma, bronchitis, canker, croup, coughs and colds, hoarseness, indigestion and sore throat”)
    Shiloh’s Catarrh Remedy: 1873-1883 (“A speedy and positive cure for catarrh, cold in the head, sore throat, canker mouth, and nervous headache”)
    Seabury’s Cough Balsam: after 1870 (“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: 1879-1905, alcohol, cannabis, chloroform and 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 
    Durno’s Catarrh Snuff: 1870-1900 (“For sore eyes, deafness, headache, and the worst forms of catarrh in the head and throat”) 34 cents
    Mann’s Wonderful Catarrh Remedy: 1870-1900 (“For catarrh, colds, headaches, sore throat”)
    Z.C. Alden’s Catarrh Cure: 1872-1880 (“For catarrh, cold in the head, headache”)
    Magic Cure for Chills and All Fevers: 1875-1883 (“Cures malarial fevers, headaches, dyspepsia, neuralgia, rheumatism, piles, costiveness”)
    The “Allenburys” Throat Pastilles: from the 1700's, diamorphine ("Heroin") and cocaine or eucalyptus and cocaine, some also have menthol; by Allen and Hanbury, London, from 1700s 
    Quaker’s Black Drops: opium-based lozenge
    Dr. Barton’s “Brown Mixture”: opium/paregoric and licorice
    Ayer’s Cherry Pectoral: 1840’s-1890, cherry extract and morphine (“Cures colds, coughs and all diseases of the throat and lungs)
    Wistar’s Balsam of Wild Cherry: 1840-1890s, cherry bark, alcohol and opiates (“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”)
    Dr. Kilmer's Indian Cough Cure: before 1906 ("For coughs, colds, croup, hoarseness, congestion, inflammation, tightness across the chest, catarrh, bronchial catarrh, asthma, bronchitis, consumption, and all diseases of the chest, throat and lungs")
    Kemp's Balsam: after 1883, chloroform, tar emetic, oil of tar, sodium salicylate ("Cures coughs, colds, bronchitis, catarrh, asthma, influenza and all throat and lung diseases. Affords immediate relief in the severest cases of whooping cough, croup and all throat disorders.") 50 cents
    Wilson's Catarrh Cure: ca 1880 ("Cures catarrh, headache, nervous pains.")
    Dr. Shoop's Cough Cure: 1892-1912, white pine tar ("For the treatment of all coughs arising from colds, catarrh, bronchitis, whooping cough, asthma, and consumption in its earliest stages.") 25 cents
    Sirop-Sulfo-Phenique: after 1878 ("Chronic cases of catarrh, asthma, rheumatism, skin diseases.") $1.00  
    Dr. Tucker No. 59 Cough Drops: ca 1880, ginger, anise, cinnamon, capsicum ("Cure of coughs, colds, sore throat, bronchial affections.")
    P.C.W. Cough Drops: before 1900 ("For coughs, colds, sore throats and hoarseness.")
    Sa-Yo Italian Mint Jujubes: ca 1897 ("For coughs and throat irritations.") 5 cents
    Ballard's Horehound Syrup: after 1885, alcohol, chloroform, horehound ("For the instant relief and certain cure of consumption, coughs, colds, asthma, dry hacking cough, loss of voice, irritation of throat, soreness of chest, croup, spitting of blood, influenza, lung fever, whooping cough, etc.")
    The Inspirator and Great Geneva Remedy: ca 1890, inhaled instead of taken by mouth ("For catarrh, hay fever, asthma, bronchitis, catarrhal deafness, colds, headaches, including early consumption, and all diseases where the nerves, muscles and tissues of the head, throat and lungs are involved.")
    Taylor's Cherokee Remedy of Sweet Gum and Mullein: after 1883 ("For coughs, colds, croup, whooping cough, hoarseness and all affections arising from the inflamed condition of the throat and lungs.") 25 cents
    One Minute Cough Cure: 1894-1906 ("For all diseases of the throat, bronchial tubes and lungs, including pneumonia, bronchitis, coughs, colds, asthma, whooping cough, sore throat, difficult respiration, pains in the chest, night sweats and hemorrhages of the lungs.")  
    Balm of America: 1862-1871 ("For coughs, colds, pulmonary complaints, consumption, asthma, whooping cough, pleurisy, spitting blood, etc.")
    Hollis' Vegetable Pectoral Syrup: 1862-1871 ("For coughs, colds, bronchitis, whooping cough.")
    Dr. Fuller's Electro Spiral Magnetic Vegetable Vapor Cure: 1888-1906 ("For headache; neuralgia; catarrh; hoarseness; asthma, hay fever; colds in the head; pleurisy and sciatica; nervous headache; dizziness; clouded memory; loss of nerve power, and all diseases of the mucous membrane.")
    Dr. Batty’s Asthma Cigarettes: ca 1890 (“Effectively treats: asthma, hay fever, foul breath, and all diseases of the throat” “not recommended for children under six”)  
    Dr. Hermance’s Radical Cure for the Asthma: ca 1880 $1.00
    Madame West’s Bronchial Balsam: ca 1890 (“one of the oldest and best remedies for coughs and colds. Give it a try”)
    Brown’s Bronchial Troches: ca 1890 (“For coughs, sore throats, asthma, catarrh and diseases of the bronchial tubes, no better remedy can be found”) 25 cents


  1. G'day;
    "No better remedy can be found" is at least true. There still isn't a real cure for much of what is listed. The patient might as well consume some alcohol and morphine and at least feel better.

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