Friday, November 17, 2006

A Cure for Catarrh?

I had no clue what catarrh was when I found an interesting article in The Fitchburg (MA) Sentinel newspaper dated 18 August 1897. The article on Page 1 reads:


A Disgusting Habit Altogether too Familiar - How to Stop It.

It may be a habit.
It may be catarrh.
But catarrh is dangerous.
The habit is disgusting.
Catarrh causes headaches, inflammation of the eyes, deafness and consumption.
The habit causes humiliation.
Catarrh and habit should be cured.
That catarrh can be cured easily and quickly is proved by cases right here in Fitchburg, note this one:
A.W. Lawrence, 40 East Street, Fitchburg, says: "I am more than satisfied with California Catarrh Cure. My head was stuffed up and I suffered with headaches and pain and pressure over my eyes most of the time: all of which the California Catarrh Cure I got at Graves (??) drug store has removed. It has also lessened the buzzing and ringing in my ears and the dropping into my throat; and in all ways I feel greatly benefited."
Going away this summer?
To avoid Hay Fever?
Don't do it.
Stay at home .
And sneeze?
And suffer?
With red and smarting eyes and stinging nasal passages and burning throat?
Not at all.
Use California Catarrh Cure.
Use it early.
Use it often.
Use it morning and evening.
Use it as often as you have to.
And avoid Hay Fever.
California Catarrh Cure is the greatest reliever of Hay Fever and the greatest cure.
California Catarrh Cure is sold by all dealers, 50 cents, three times as much, one dollar.

Catarrh is basically the common cold - sniffles, nasal blockage, ear problems, coughing, etc.

The "cure" is described on this web page titled "The Great American Fraud," an article from Collier's Magazine dated 2 December 1906 :

Birney's Catarrhal Powder, Dr. Cole's Catarrh Cure, Dr. Gray's Catarrh Powder, and Crown Catarrh Powder are the ones most in demand. All of them are cocaine; the other ingredients are unimportant--perhaps even superfluous.

Whether or not the bottles are labeled with the amount of cocaine makes little difference. The habitues know. In one respect, however, the labels help them by giving information as to which nostrum is the most heavily drugged.

"People come in here," a New York City druggist tells me, "ask what catarrh powders we've got, read the labels, and pick out the one that's got the most cocaine. When I see a customer comparing labels, I know she's a fiend."

Naturally these owners and exploiters of these mixtures claim that the small amount of cocaine contained is harmless. For instance, the "Crown Cure," admitting two and one-half percent, says:

"Of course. this is a very small and harmless amount. Cocaine is now considered to be the most valuable addition to modern medicine. . .it is the most perfect relief known."

Fascinating...scary. Cocaine was a big business even in 1905!


Janice said...

Patent medicines weren't the only thing that contained cocaine back then.


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