Thursday, February 3, 2011

Flatulence Is Not a Laughing Matter - Chamberlain's Colic Remedy - Part I

Here are some photos of the latest addition to my patent/quack medicine collection: Chamberlain's Colic Remedy (c. 1935). The medicine was introduced in the 1880s by the Chamberlain Medicine Co. of Des Moines, Iowa. It seems to have been sold into the 1940s.

There are several reports in the early 1900s to this medicine and it is not hard to se why. The ingredients included45% alcohol, ether, chloroform, and chlorbutanol (1930s)...earlier formulations included narcotics such as morphine. This troubling report appeared in the July 1906 issue of the Homeopathic Envoy:

"Up in Vancouver "Chamberlain's Colic, Cholera and Diarrhoea Remedy" was too much for a baby. The Vancouver World published the facts with the coroner's verdict in the case. The Chamberlain people then sent a defense to the World with a large advertisement which was refused. The medicine company then sued the newspaper for libel. The newspaper is now demanding and will probably get such legislative enactment as will in future control the sale of such dangerous medicines...Ella Clark went to the Insane Asylum at Mt. Pleasant in January, 1906. She was a morphine fiend and used the Chamberlain Colic Cure in large quantities. In Shelburne Falls, Mass., there is a man who began to take the same remedy for diarrhoea and now takes from two to four ounces nightly for its sedative effect and his doctor says he is a nervous wreck."

In my next post I'll include scans of the package insert.


No comments: