Have you noticed the abundance of drug advertisements on TV and in magazines? This is not a new phenomenon apparently. The following ads were found in the Lawrenceville Republican Jan 25, 1900. These were usually based on testimonials, and, of course, were before the passage of the Pure Food & Drug Act of 1906 and the Shirley amendment of 1912 prohibiting false and misleading claims including the use of the word “cure.”
Good old Granny Metcalf of Kentucky 89 years old says that Dr. Bell's Pine – Tar – Honey is the best grippe cure, cough, lung and bronchial remedy that has been offered during her life. If you are restless and cannot sleep at night a dose of Dr. Bell's Pine – Tar – Honey will give you natural rest and refreshing sleep. It checks the cough at once and cures a cold in one night. It heals the throat, chest and lungs, cures la grippe (flu) permanently and does not stupefy.
(The current medical dictionary says it is still used in soaps and in the treatment of skin diseases. A couple of places on the Internet say it has been used as an expectorant but the FDA doesn’t seem to endorse it for that use. E. E. Sutherland of Paducah, Kentucky was “the originator and sole manufacturer of Dr. Bell’s Pine Tar Honey,” a patent medicine which contained not only pine tar but assorted alkaloids, ammonia, capsicum (the hot stuff in jalapenos), glycerin, sassafras, sugar, and miscellaneous chemical delights. However in 1900, it was ‘safe for children’:
Croup, the great enemy of childhood, succumbs at once to the soothing influence of Dr. Bell's Pine – Tar – Honey. Bronchial affections (I know the word is ‘infections’, but the paper spelled it ‘affections.’) lose their danger when this great remedy is at hand. No home should be without it.
And it could even ‘cure’ Tuberculosis …
Consumption is prevented by giving early attention to a cold, whether slight or severe. A cold quickly disappears when Dr. Bell's Pine – Tar – Honey is taken. This remedy makes weak lungs strong-- sold everywhere.
E.E. Sutherland also made another wonderful drug—and he was not shy about his advertising claims either… Laudanum (opium), cocaine, and alcohol were the usual ingredients in such a patent medicine…
The best rheumatism medicine for both muscular and inflammatory, both instantly relieved with Dr. Bell's Anti-– Pain, the world's greatest, best and most wonderful painkiller.
If you were a Lawrence County resident in 1900 and having trouble with your eyes you could try Sutherland’s Eagle Eye Salve.
Protracted headache often results from overworking or straining the eyes. Sutherland’s Eagle Eye Salve rests the eyes by taking out all the inflammation and then strengthens the sight and removes the headache by acting as a tonic to the optic nerves. If your eyes become tired, smart, burn or feel heavy, Sutherland Eagle Eyes will make them light and bright to give you a clear, keen sight. Thousands of people use it who have never had sore eyes – it is an eye tonic.
Or perhaps you suffered from a rundown state….
Walker's Tonic is the link that picks up the vital force of a man in his rundown state and binds him to health and strength by recuperating the brain, regulating the action of the heart, and nourishing the nervous system.
However by 1906 Sam Dreyfus of Kentucky and maker of this wonder drug was criminally charged for mis-branding a drug product and fined $25. Samples were analyzed and found to consist of 12% alcohol, 4% non-volatile material including capsicum, celery, an emodin-bearing drug and 1% ash, consisting of phosphates, carbonates, chlorides and sulphates of iron and potassium , the balance of the product being water.
But the best one of all perhaps was a cure for keeping old people young. It was sold at G. I. Nunns’ drugstore on the Square. According to a testimonial of J.C. Sherman, a veteran editor of the Vermontville, Michigan newspaper, Mr. Sherman had avoided nervousness, sleeplessness, indigestion, heat trouble, constipation and rheumatism by using Electric Bitters, and he wrote that the “cure couldn’t be praised too highly. It gently stimulated the kidneys, toned the stomach, aided digestion, and gave a splendid appetite. It worked wonders for his wife and him. It was a marvelous remedy for old people's complaints.” The cost for this miracle drug--- only $.50.