Sunday, 12 July 2009

Strange Medicine

As you can see from the above picture, there used to be some strange medicine taken in the name of health and/or beauty.

Arsenic complexion wafers were very popular during Victorian times. Women would take these wafers and in some instances raw grains of Arsenic from apothecaries, in the hope of achieving the beautiful, soft and pale skin that was all the rage. Men would also take Arsenic as a way to improve health, avoid infection and improve body-tone. These people were called 'Arsenic Eaters'.. while it does nothing for a person in terms of achieving a 'high', it is in fact highly addictive (not to mention lethal). There is speculation that Napoleon Bonaparte was an Arsenic Eater.

Other odd remedies include:

Chocolate covered Strychnine.
Chloroform cough medicine.
Belladonna (Deadly Nightshade).

In addition, my husband came across this interesting remedy- "The Everlasting Pill": a reusable metal capsule that would pass through the system (in the belief that it purified the body) to be reused again...sometimes amongst a whole family.

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