Once Upon a Malady (Part 1): Of Cod and Continence

Gentlemen, do you suffer from chilblains, lumbago, scrofula, dropsy, catarrh, or salt rheum? Ladies, are you laid low by ague, biliousness, goiter, St. Vitus dance, costiveness, la grippe, scurvy, or brain-fag? If so, you may be suffering from a bad case of the 1800s. Such ailments were rife back then, judging from patent medicine ads in the Fort Worth Gazette of the late nineteenth century. Here are the first four of eight ads.

Buchu-Paiba: good for catarrh and for “stone or gravel diseases of the prostate.” Also gets the drop on “dropsical swellings” and on diseases of the kidneys and “allied organs.” Puts the kibosh on continence, both in- and over-.

Ozomulsion: good for scrofula, catarrh, and “skin affections.” Contains cod liver oil.

Scott’s Emulsion: good for inert logs and “brain-fag.” Another cod liver oil product. Remarkably, this emulsion, which dates to 1876, is still sold, complete with fish-on-back trademark.

Dr. Fisk was a local doctor. His ad continues the aquatic theme as he describes a man who suffered from catarrh: “The fell destroyer of health and happiness, catarrh, had like an octopus fastened itself upon his vitals.” Now there is a word picture that will make you walk funny for a week.

Once Upon a Malady (Part 2): Of Mandrake and Maltobeef

More on patent medicines:

From Drooper to Super: Of Snake Oil and Lip Service

The Weaker Sex? “Ladies, Here’s to Your Health (Hic)”

Shock Jock: “Just Let the Electrodes Work Their Magic”

Up a Lazy Liver: Snake Oil, Celery, and Feeling No Paine’s

Near Beer, a Steer, and “Better Take Something for That Cough, Dear”

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