Monday, May 5, 2008

Hale's Honey of Horehound and Tar

You might wonder, as I did, what in the hail was Hale's Honey of Horehound and Tar? I saw this advertisement on page 3 in the 4 January 1883 issue of The Weekly Hawkeye newspaper of Burlington, Iowa. It says:

FOR THE CURE OF Coughs, colds, Influenza, Hoarseness, Difficult Breathing, and all Afflictions of the Throat, Bronchial Tubes, and Lungs, leading to consumption.

"This infallible remedy is composed of the HONEY of the plant horehound, in chemical union with TAR-BALM, extracted from the LIFE PRINCIPLE of the forest tree ABIES BALSAMEA, or Balm of Gilead.

"The Honey of Horehound SOOTHS AND SCATTLES all irritations and inflammations, and the Tar-Balm CLEANSES AND HEALS the throat and air-passages leading to the lungs. FIVE additional ingredients keep the organs cool, moist, and in healthful union. Let no prejudices keep you from trying this great medicine of a famous Doctor, who has saved thousands of lives by it in his large private practice.

"N.B. The Tar Balm has no BAD TASTE or smell.

Great saving to buy large size.
'Pike's Toothache Drops' Cure in 1 Minute
Sold by all Druggists

Why did I go to all the trouble to type that up? Because it caught my eye while doing a search in newspapers for a colleague, and it applied to my present condition:

Cough - check! Cold - yep! Hoarseness - you bet! Difficult breathing - ask my wife! Influenza - probably not! Hey, I got 4 out of 5. I catch this crud from my grandsons just about every time I see them. This time, the 4-year old had the cough and the 2-year old had the runny crusty nose... I wonder if my Tylenol Cold & Flu white and blue pills are made of this same type of stuff?

I did a Google search on Honey of Horehound and Abies Balsamea and found that the ads were in the newspapers from the Civil War up to at least 1900. There is a good article about Patent Medicines in Quackwatch at

Scattles? What are scattles, you ask? I have no clue .. sounds like it may be related to coughing. All I saw on Google was a game like Skittles.

While Googling, I saw that Janice Brown on the Cow Hampshire blog has a nice picture of the advertisement here from 1876. The ad didn't change in seven years!

Of course, I didn't find what I was looking for to help my colleague, but at least I got a blog post out of the futile search.

1 comment:

Janice said...

Thanks for the mention! Actually those old newspapers make for great blogfodder :D