7 Old Timey Medical Remedies that Inspired Today’s Medicines

It is hard to imagine the old days when our government was not regulating everything like they are now. Back then, medical remedies were rampant and pretty much uncontrolled as no authority could tell you what you couldn’t or could sell as medical miracles. We look upon the 1800s as a time when folks probably knew just enough about the human body and medicine to be very dangerous. There were virtually no drug regulations at all and no agency requiring these companies who made these medicines to list all their ingredients on the bottles. The sad result were things like babies who were addicted to heroin and adults rubbing hydrochloric acid on their heads.

Let us examine further 7 old timey medical remedies that actually became reality.

1) Dr. Thomas’s Eclectric Oil


Dr. Thomas’s Eclectric Oil was portrayed as a miracle cure that promoted some pretty unbelievable claims. They not only claimed to cure countless ailments, they claimed it would cure them within a specific period of time. For instance, they said that backaches would be cure in only 2 hours, or that an earache would go away within 2 minutes. It was said that everything from deafness, toothaches, coughing, and sore throats would be cured by this miracle drug.

This oil was created in the mid-1800s by Dr. S.N. Thomas from New York and was marketed later under the name of Excelsior Eclectric Oil, because the oil had an eclectic variety of ingredients. The active ingredients it contained were opium, hemlock oil, chloroform, turpentine, alcohol, and alkanet for color. The product was so popular that you could actually get recipes to mix up your own version.

2) Perry Davis’s Vegetable Pain Killer

Perry Davis’s Vegetable Pain Killer

Perry Davis came from a poor family in Dartmouth, Massachusetts. He was a shoemaker turned failed inventor. During his middle years, he was unfortunately afflicted by chronic aches and pains from frequent colds and coughs, stomach pains, as well as kidney distress. He put his inventor mind to work in order to curie himself. He mixed up a concoction of various herbal and natural ingredients.

Amazingly, many centuries before the phrase “all-natural” would become a common catchphrase and promotion tool, Davis developed his Vegetable Pain Killer. Claiming that it essentially cured him of everything that ailed him, he became known all across the world for his pain killer that cured everything from coughs to cholera. It was even given to horses during the Civil War to relieve their aches and pains. The product was definitely all-natural—and it also contained a very hefty amount of opium and ethyl alcohol.

3) Gripe Water

Gripe Water

Gripe water is a prime example of where modern medicine that is just a safer version of what it used to be centuries ago. It was an American creation from the 1840s and was used for colicky babies in order to stop their crying as well as relieving their discomforts. It most definitely did a very job of this, as the medicine contained dill seed oil, sodium bicarbonate, water, sugar, and roughly 9% of pure alcohol.

A spinoff of this medicine that was created for treating a strain of malaria found in babies, gripe water is still recommended by physicians to relieve babies that are suffering from colic. But today the main active ingredient is herbs that help bust up air bubbles in the digestive system of a baby, and not alcohol that just knocks them out.

4) Coca Wine

Coca Wine 2

Coca wine was actually the original energy drink. They didn’t just market it as a wine, but as a medicinal potion that cured body fatigue and provided an emotional pick-me-up for the mind. And it most definitely would, because it was primarily a mix of cocaine and alcohol.

Coca Wine was manufactured by a Corsican company called Vin Mariani, which was founded in the year 1863. They boasted of having some 7,000 written endorsements from doctors on how their product was successful in stimulating the nerves, brain, and body. Among these, they had the major endorsement from none other than Pope Leo XIII. It was said that the pope actually carried a hip flask of Coca Wine for times when his prayers failed and he needed a little more help with his pains.

5) Dr.Scott’s Electrical Devices

Dr.Scott’s Electrical Devices

Dr. Scott most certainly made a huge impact from the sheer volume of his electrical devices. Even though these inventions were called electric devices, the curing magic actually came from the magnetically charged iron rods that every one of his hair and flesh brushes contained. These brushes were claimed to prevent balding and relieve headaches – but Dr. Scott went further by saying they would even cure blood diseases, constipation, and paralysis.

And the good doctor stop with his brushes, he went on to release an entire line of magnetic devices to include belts, corsets, curling combs, button hooks, bracelets, toothbrushes, hats, nail brushes, anklets, shoulder braces, rings, shoe insets, and even horse brushes.

6) Cocaine Toothache Drops

Kudos to Lloyd Manufacturing – they were at least honest when they labeled their Cocaine Toothache Drops. Their market slogan was an “Instantaneous Cure!” for just 15 cents. Cocaine Toothache Drops were produced in Albany, New York during the 1880s. And they not only worked – they worked great. The cocaine was blended in a way that it behaved as a topical anesthetic while it minimized the mood-altering characteristics of the product.

Cocaine laden throat lozenges were also very popular. They too behaved as a topical anesthetic, as it quickly numbed sore throat pain. During this time, many chemists and druggists bought bulk tablets in order to repackage them under their very own labels.

7) Bayer Heroin

Bayer Heroin

Of course, when we look further, we find yet another case when the German company Bayer delivers questionable products to the public. They happen to be the very first company to actually manufacture heroin. They began this hideous practice in 1897 and were making a ton of heroin annually. It was exported as over the world as a cure for pneumonia, tuberculosis, and as a pain killer.

Strangely enough, heroin was considered as treatment for a new worldwide problem – opium addiction. The very first solution for this addiction was switching them to the allegedly less lethal morphine. After this didn’t work, they attempted to wean these addicts using a supposedly less dangerous drug known as heroin. During this time, medical assessment from all over the world approved the use of heroin for this purpose. And by 1924, some 98% New York’s drug addicts had become addicted to heroin. Thanks once again to Bayer who has a rich history of sacrificing public health for profits.

Modern Approach to Home Remedies

There are actually several home remedies that work great. Check out the video below if you would like to learn more.