Mucu-Tone

Much-Tone

Mucu-Tone

Mucu-Tone was a multi-purpose “alterative tonic” which was manufactured for a brief period in the early 1900’s. Two of its active ingredients are Cascara sagrada and Nux vomica. Nux vomica is the poisonous seed of the Strychnos nux-vomica tree and contains ca. 4% by weight of the poisonous alkaloid strychnine.  Cascara sagrada is the bark of the bearberry tree (Rhamnus purshiana).  Known as a laxative by native Americans, cascara sagrada was widely used in over-the-counter medicines until banned by the FDA due to its toxicity and potential carcinogenicity.

The Rexall company was started in Boston in 1904 by Louis K. Liggett, who also founded the United Drug Company.  The “Rexall” name was derived from the words “Rx to all,”  an allusion to the company’s goal of providing low-priced, high-quality prescription medications. The Rexall name was franchised to individual owners, and soon the company lost profits to more competitive retail pharmacy chains. The Rexall company survives today as Rexall Sundown, Inc., which markets vitamins and healthy living products.

Bibliography:

Cascara. (2008). In A. DerMarderosian & J. A. Beutler (Eds.), The review of natural products.  Accessed Nov. 12, 2008.

Nux Vomica. (2008). In A. DerMarderosian & J. A. Beutler (Eds.), The review of natural products.  Accessed Nov. 12, 2008.

Rexall- Our History. 2008. Katz Group. Accessed 11 Nov. 2008 from: http://www.rexall.ca/about_us/our_history.aspx.

“Rexall.” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. 13 Oct 2008, 01:13 UTC. accessed 12 Nov 2008 from :http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Rexall&oldid=244890195.

Smith, M. C. (2004). The Rexall story: A history of genius and neglect. New York, NY: Pharmaceutical Products Press.

Credits:

Nick Feidberg
November, 2008

 

Kickapoo Saga

Kickapoo Sagwa

Kickapoo Sagwa

In the late 1800’s,  John E. Healy and Charles F. Bigelow founded a small business that sold various medicines and called it the “Kickapoo Indian Company.”  Although they had no affiliation with the Kickapoo Indian tribe, Bigelow claimed that an Indian chief who happened to have this “Sagwa” medicine saved his life when he had fallen ill in the wilderness.
The company sold many medicines and cosmetic products, but their most famous product was the Sagwa Laxative. The formula for this laxative probably changed over time, but in the early 1900’s it apparently consisted of over a dozen ingredients including:  yellow dock, licorice, and roots of gentian, mandrake, and rhubarb.  Sagwa and other products such as Kickapoo Indian Oil, Kickapoo Buffalo Salve, Kickapoo Indian Cough Cure, and Kickapoo Indian Worm Killer were sold at “Indian medicine shows” put on around the country by the Kickapoo Indian Company.  This company was not the first to capitalize on the prevailing view of native Americans as natural physicians endowed with secret healing powers.  But with aggressive advertising and extravagant productions, the Kickapoo Indian Company’s shows became some of the best-known and most widely attended, from the large cities of the East coast to tiny towns in the midwest.  These shows featured native Americans, none of whom were in fact from the Kickpoo tribe, who entertained and enticed customers to buy these “Kickapoo” remedies.  Soon, the shows became so popular that the company had a many as one hundred troupes touring the country and selling products.

Bibliography:

Indian dream book (1910). Clintonville, Conn: Kickapoo Indian Medicine Co. p. 13-25.

Scheeder, L. (2000). Medicine Shows. In S. Pendergast & T. Pendergast (Eds.), St. James  Encyclopedia of Popular Culture (Vol. 3, p. 339). Detroit: St. James Press.

Collins, W. F. (1924, January 20). HOKUM: The story of ballyhoo. third article. The Los Angeles Times, pp. G6, G12.

Anderson, A., and Falk, H. R. (2000) Snake Oil, Hustlers, and Hambones: The American Medicine Show. Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland.

Rosenberg, J. (2012), Barbarian Virtues in a Bottle: Patent Indian Medicines and the Commodification of Primitivism in the United States, 1870–1900. Gender & History, 24: 368–388.

Weiser-Alexander, K. (2012, May). American history: Patent medicines and the popular medicine show. Retrieved from http://www.legendsofamerica.com/ah-patentmedicine.html

The Kickapoo Indian Medicine Company. (1998). Digger Odell Publications. Retrieved from http://www.bottlebooks.com/kickapoo.htm

Credits:

Jasmine Paje
November, 2013

Mia Fredricks
November, 2012

William Brown
November, 2011

Revised and edited 3/2/14 S. M. Kerwin

 

Angier’s Emulsion

Angier's Emulsion

Angier’s Emulsion

Angier’s Emulsion was manufactured by the Angier Chemical Company beginning in  the late 1800’s and was sold world-wide throughout the mid 20th century. Angier’s Emulsion was originally compounded and marketed as a “food-medicine” and cure for a variety of respiratory ailments.   The principle ingredient of this product was refined petroleum oil.  Studies carried out as early as 1884 demonstrated that petroleum oil has no nutritional value. In response, Angier Chemical Company reformulated the product and marketed it as a laxative for “temporary constipation relief.” However, the notion that Angier’s Emulsion helped sooth membranes, including those of the respiratory tract continued to be prominently featured in advertisements, which promoted this product’s use to treat influenza infection and other respiratory illnesses.

Bibliography:

American Medical Association. (1916). Angier’s Emulsion [Monograph]. The Propaganda for Reform in Proprietary Medicines, 9th Edition, 1, 172-173.
Puckner, W. A. (1914) Angier’s Emulsion in Journal of the American Medical Association, p. 962.
Angier Chemical Company. (n.d.). Angier’s Emulsion [Pamphlet]. Retrieved from http://www.wellcomecollection.org/explore/sickness–health/images.aspx
Advertisement [Special section]. (1908, January 1). Medical Press and Circular, 136(1), xiii.

 

Credits:

Masie Comen
November, 2011

Kevin King
November, 2012

revised 3/2/14 S. M. Kerwin

Aletris

Aletris

Aletris

Aletris, N.F. is a fluid extract of the rhizome of Aletris farinosa, a plant of the lily family (Liliaceae). This plant is known by many common names including unicorn root, stargrass, or devil’s-bit.  A. farinosa grows in the eastern United States, and had been used by Native Americans to treat diarrhea and rheumatism.  More recently, this plant has been used as a laxative, a sedative, a treatment for menstrual disorders, and a general tonic.  The chemical constituents of Aletris root are not well studied, and although there are claims that these compounds possess estrogenic properties, this has not been clinically established.

This product was sold by the Parke-Davis Company.  This company was founded by Hervey Parke in 1866 in Detroit, Michigan. The company pioneered and built the first modern pharmaceutical laboratory.  Although it became a subsidiary of Pfizer in 2000, it was once America’s largest pharmaceutical company.

Bibliography:

Aletris (2011)  I A. DerMarderosian & J. A. Beutler (Eds.), The review of natural products.  Retrieved fromhttp://www.drugfacts.com. Accessed Nov. 12, 2011.

Leung AY, Foster S. Encyclopedia of Common Natural Ingredients Used in Food, Drugs, and Cosmetics. New York, NY: J. Wiley and Sons; 1980.

2000: Pfizer joins forces with Warner-Lambert, Web site: http://www.pfizer.com/about/history/pfizer_warner_lambert.jsp Accessed 11/12/2011
True Unicorn Root Herb – Uses And Side Effects, Web site: http://www.vitamins-minerals-supplements.org/herbs/true-unicorn-root.htm Accessed 11/12/2011

Wright, J. E.  US Patent 1885 (CA 314212 ).

Barr, J. R.  US Patent 1885 (CA 329697).

Credits:

Dan Chen
November, 2011

BonKora

BonKora

BonKora

The laxative and carminative indications on label of Bon Kora, along with the representation of a svelte naked female physique, left little doubt about this product’s use as a means for chemically-induced bulimia.  Ingredients in Bon Kora include Epsom salts (magnesium sulfate), a saline laxative and Cascara sagrada, a strong cathartic.  Anise and caraway, used as digestive aids, and fennel, which helped reduce intestinal spasms, were also included. The label warns that Bon Kora could cause dependence if used frequently.

This medication was sold by the Consolidated Royal Chemical Corporation.  In the late 1930s, this corporation sponsored a number of radio shows,  including one by the Carter family, which was broadcast on the radio station XERA, just across the Mexican border of Del Rio, Texas.  These shows included advertisements for the company’s remedies.

Bibliography:

“Federal Trade Commission Weight Loss Products and Services.” Natural Fitness  Group. 2008. Creative Thirst. 12 Nov. 2008. <http://naturalfitnessgroup.com/FTC1927-1997pt2.html (accessed Nov. 12, 2008).

“Herbal Remedies – Fennel.” Herbal Remedies Info. 2008. Herbal Remedies Info. http://www.herbalremediesinfo.com/Fennel.html. (accessed Nov. 12, 2008)

Middleton, Jim. Personal communication. Nov. 12, 2008.

“Royal Chemical.” Royal Chemical. 2002. http://www.royalchemical.com/ (accessed Nov. 12, 2008)

“Spices and Herbs: Anise Seed.” Culinary Cafe. http://www.culinarycafe.com/Spices_Herbs/Anise_Seed.html (accessed Nov. 12, 2008)

“Spices and Herbs: Caraway Seed.” Culinary Cafe. http://www.culinarycafe.com/Spices_Herbs/Caraway_Seed.html (accessed Nov. 12, 2008)

“What Are Epsom Salts?” wiseGEEK. 2008. Conjecture Corp.
http://www.wisegeek.com/what-are-epsom-salts.html (accessed Nov. 12, 2008)

Credits:

Laura Elliott
November 2008