In the earliest years of the company,
which started in 1886, the level of real
pharmaceutical knowledge was appallingly low. There were horrible side
effects to many medications but people were so desparate for relief
- any relief.
With the benefit of 120 years of hindsight and several generations of medical
research, we now know these were among the worst products ever sold by
Blue Mass is 33% mercury. It was
used to treat syphillis, tuberculosis, constipation,
tootache, parasitic infestations and the "pains of childbirth".
3 grains of Blue Mass per pill in this 1890's bottle amounts to 65mg of
mercury. The World Health Organization currently recommends that
mercury exposure in food be no more than 2 micrograms per kg of
body weight per week. So people who took one pill per day of
this Upjohn Blue Mass would have a mercury level 2000 times higher than today's safe limit!
first active ingredient below, Calomel, is an old name for
mercury chloride. So even infants were being dosed with mercury. This
bottle dates from around 1930.
tonic is supposed to perk you up - make you feel good. However, this
tonic from the 1920s contains strychnine, arsenic and mercury. The recommended
dose is 1 to 2 pills after each meal. It's sort of a deadly
When you have eczema, your skin hurts
and you want something soothing to rub on it. No luck here, This
lotion contains hydrocyanic acid (the liquid form of hydrogen cyanide gas), nitric acid and mercuric chloride.
That's chemical warfare on your tender skin! This bottle was
filled on January 3, 1925.
the world in 1925 really need a product combining two deadly poisons,
strychnine and belladonna.....
was a widely used product in the 19th and early 20th centuries for cholera,
diarrhea, insomnia, neuralgia, migraines and other conditions.
It contains morphine and
cannabis (marijuana). How could that combo not make anyone
feel good? Of course, it was highly addictive and death from
overdoses were frequent occurrences. Coroners reports often
stated that the deceased was surrounded by many empty Chlorodyne
may have used creasote as an outdoor preservative for wood. It
smells terrible and is not something you want to get on your
skin. But here we have creasote pills from the 1890s. These were
used to aid with stomach problems. It would be hard to choke
down these gut bombs so later versions of them were chocolate coated.
Cannabis (marijuana) in a sedative?
Wow, you might sleep but have the craziest dreams and of course,
addiction would be a big problem. Be very thankful for Unisom!
Here's one more tonic. This one claims
to be restorative but contains arsenic, mercury and quinine.
Quinine was historically used for treating malaria and has some
nasty side effects, which is why it is no longer the first or
second choices for malaria treatment.