Medical Remedies


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Melissa E. Kalson

Guest
I was wondering for some time now.. what did people do on board if they had any slight medical problems such as headaches, colds or such? Were there such things as aspirin for headaches and what rememdies were there for both the common cold and seasickness? I'm just curious as to how these minor ailments were treated on board.

Sincerely,

Melissa K.
 

Dave Gittins

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Apr 11, 2001
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I can't seem to find the ad I've got for a tonic that was supposed to prevent seasickness. I'll bet it didn't work. I'm sure to find it when researching something else.

However, I can offer some choice 1912 remedies for other ailments, especially for constipation, which seems to have been something of an obsession.

For the children, you need Castoria, a castor oil substitute. Guaranteed free from opium and only 2% alcohol.

"The army of constipation is growing smaller every day". Carter's Little Liver Pills are saving the day.

Beecham's pills fix just about everything in the way of aches and pains, especially those peculiar to the fairer sex.

Pyramid Pile Remedy fixes piles in the privacy of your home.

You wouldn't be in such a mess if you had taken Scott's Emulsion "the World's Standard Body-Builder and Nerve-Food-Tonic". I have a vague memory of taking this stuff, probably on the theory that things that don't kill you make you stronger. I certainly haven't got piles, constipation or problems peculiar to women, so it did some good!.

I found all these things in a few minutes in US papers from 1912.

I'll bet the British can add more.

I'm not sure that aspirin was around in tablet form at the time. The internet will tell us.
 
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Melissa E. Kalson

Guest
Thanks Michael & Dave.. That was an interesting read on aspirin. And the constipation
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Dave Gittins

Member
Apr 11, 2001
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Melissa, I've found a cure for your cold. A bit late, but it might help. You need Hale's Honey, a compound of horehound and tar. "It soothes and heals" and it's opium free.

The mention of opium is because during the 19th century opium was used in many medicines, especially in the form of laudanam, a tincture of opium. The results were sometimes drastic.

I regret to say that I still can't find the seasickness cure. You could try one recommended by Sir James Bisset, 2nd officer of Carpathia and later Cunard Commodore. This consists of a pannikin of seawater, administered by a brawny first mate. Bisset was never game to suggest it to his passengers.
 

Jeremy Lee

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Jun 12, 2003
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Even today, China is still producing lots of medicines with high levels of mercury (I am not too sure about arsenic) that cannot be exported because most country bans them. Still, they are popular enough in China for them to go on producing.

Emperor Qin Shihuang (First Emperor of China) was killed by medicines supposed to make him an immortal. He died of a mercury overdose.
 
Jan 21, 2003
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In "Ghosts of the Abyss" book on page 117 it shows a medicine bottle with contents still inside in the Crew Surgery just forward of the well deck. If I had a scanner I would scan it and upload it on here but sadly i dont.
 
Dec 2, 2000
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Easley South Carolina
Just as well that you don't Chris, since the images are protected by copyright. Just a friendly reminder to all to please be mindful of copyright issues since compliance with same is taken very seriously here. Thank you all for your co-operation in this.
 

Jeremy Lee

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Jun 12, 2003
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Was the medicine bottle you mentioned above a green one Chris? I remember reading it but since I don't have the book, I can't be sure.
 
May 8, 2001
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re: Head ache.
If you ask most any bottle collector what is his most found bottle when digging, he will probably groan and complain, that it is a small cobalt blue bottle called "Bromo-Seltzer."
The story behind it, is an interesting one to learn about. The inventor of this medicine was a certain Captain Isaac Emerson, who made it for his headache riddled wife.
They had a daughter, known as Margaret. She lived until January 1960, and married 4 times in all. She was later known as Margaret Emerson McKim Vanderbilt Baker Amory Emerson..... That is correct, at one time, married to the very same Arthur Vanderbilt that died on the Lusitania.
This web site talks more about Margaret. Note the references to the affluent names somehow connected to the Titanic. The Vanderbilts are http://www.sagamore.org/vanderbilt.htm
 
May 8, 2001
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Re: Medicines of the 1860s to 1920s.
Many medicines of this era ended up what are now known as "Baby Killers," as they did not know that certain substances, or certain combinations were toxic to children. Mercury, a substance used to extract gold ore, killed blinded, or drove many insane in my state.
Opium's, cocaines, etc., were sold under such names as Coca-Cola. Speaking of constipation, we have the one and only Dr Pepper, (older than Coca-cola.)
back as far as the Civil War, when drinking liquor was a real no-no, it was bottled and sold as Bitters. Unsuspecting, but caring wives would send these to their men in the field to help thwart off, or cure everything from stomach, liver, and kidney ailments, to mange, jaundice, disease, and if all else failed, to promote general healthfulness aka blood purifier. I am told that the alcoholic content was that of whiskey.
Women could be lead to believe that certain bitters could cure their problems, from hair growth and weight problems, to babies.
I have a few reproduction advertisement signs from the 1900's with quotes such as "pure and wholesome," "health preserving" and "a medical breakthrough." Since I am quickly learning that the Victorian/Edwardian era was all about cleanliness and health, these peddlers, and magazine advertisers could easily make a good living from marketing items that appeal to the masses.... much like today!
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May 8, 2001
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Re: Green Titanic Bottle. This is the end all cure all of medicines. You take this, and you will not have to worry about anything ever again...

OK. Unasked, I will explain. What was found on the Titanic was a full, Emerald green, British Poison bottle with an matching, intact ground glass stopper. What the contents are, is still being debated, as the label is frustratingly covered by what is left of the shelf, but 3 people have thought it to be some sort of rat poison. All have agreed that the one on Titanic could more than likely be a L.U.G. type (label under glass) and could reveal the contents today, by the label alone. Definitely a high quality glass bottle. As beautiful as ever, after all these years in the deep.
The color is one clue to the contents being non-edible, but the major clue is the long ribs running down the bottle. If a doctor was called to a patient, or problem in the middle of the night, and the lighting was not too good, he could tell the contents by feel alone, to be certain he got the right one.
Since copyright laws are so strict, I will show you a similar one, This one is about 12" tall, but has an American label, otherwise, it is a close duplicate of the one on Titanic today.

83878.jpg

Permission granted by the owner to be used on the Encyclopedia Titanica web site as seen fit. (CKC)
 

Jeremy Lee

Member
Jun 12, 2003
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>>What the contents are, is still being debated, as the label is frustratingly covered by what is left of the shelf, but 3 people have thought it to be some sort of rat poison<<

Why would rat poison be kept in the Crew Surgery?
 
Jan 28, 2003
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From the UK, Collis Brown's Chlorodyne (constipation ....again), Doan's Backache Tablets. When I was a child, my father still had all these things in his pharmacy in the 1960s, as well as Scott's Emulsion and Carter's Little Liver Pills. I've got a good advert for Scott's from about 1890, with a distraught mother standing at the bedside of her angelic child, saying "Is there any hope, Doctor?" and the reply from the grave medic? "Very little, but try Scott's Emulsion." And some interesting stuff for coughs called Gees Linctus, which contained morphia. We had an old lady who swigged the stuff, she was a two bottles a day girl. Eventually my father realised what she was up to, and banned her from buying any more. She was most upset, poor old thing. Liquid rat poison in a bottle? Doesn't sound very likely, it used to come in tins and was a granular stuff.
 

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