: views from the Hill

Saturday, August 19, 2006

[URL] Fenner's Complete Formulary

Back in my younger day, Ballard's Golden Oil was the cure-all for chest congestion, coughing, &c. Used externally for chest congestion or stuffy noses, it worked like Vick's Vapo-Rub, warm, soothing, smelly. It busted loose the crud. Used internally for coughs, it cured what ailed you. Every time.

Unfortunately, my grandmother only had a few bottles left by the time I showed on the scene and no one made the elixir anymore. She gave me a bottle from her stash decades ago. That bottle's empty. The rest of her bottles are gone as well.

Every once in a while I search the 'net to see if someone's picked it up and resumed manufacturing, someone like Jeffrey Himmel, who's made a fortune resurrecting brands like Ovaltine and Gold Bond medicated powder.

Today's search brought up a reference in the LOC in Robert Grady's Life of Henry Mitchell, Indian Canoe Maker, quoting Henry Mitchell, reminiscing:

Right where the bank is now there used to be a drug store run by a fellow named Folsom, and across the street, where the First National store is now, next to Parlin's, there used to be a drug store run by a fellow named Marsh. Old Sockalexis left the recipe for a cold remedy at Marsh's, where his boy worked, so when he gave any one a prescription for it, they could got it filled there. When Marsh died the stock was sold and old Ballard up here got a hold of all the books and papers. That Ballard's Golden Oil that he puts out now is really the old Sockalexis Indian Cold Remedy."

That sounded encouraging but I could find nada mas.

The old, torn, stained label on the small bottle I'd had had been pretty nigh unreadable, but I had been able to suss out that one of the ingredients was camphor. Maybe I could find the golden oil recipe by searching Google for /"golden oil" cold remedy camphor/.

... amongst the other hits was this keeper:


FENNER'S
COMPLETE FORMULARY

BEING THE
Sixth Edition of Fenner's Forumulary, greatly enlarged,
revised and entirely re-written.
CONTAINING
WORKING FORUMULAS
FOR ALL
OFFICIAL AND UNOFFICIAL PREPARATIONS GENERALLY USED OR
REQUIRED IN THE PRACTICE OF PHARMACY AND THE BUSI-
NESS OF THE CHEMIST, MANUFACTURING PHARMA-
CIST, MANUFACTURER OF PROPRIETARY MED-
ICINE, PHYSICIAN, PERFUMER, ETC.

________

A COMPLETE FORMULARY AND HAND-BOOK
Of Valuable Information for Pharmacists, Manufacturers of
Chemical and Pharmaceutical Preparations, Physicians,
and Students of Pharmacy and Medicine.

________

Compiled and written by
B. FENNER,
AUTHOR OF FENNER'S FORMULARY, FENNER'S WORKING FORMULAE
AND EDITOR OF THE FORMULARY.


SIXTH EDITION.

WESTFIELD, N.Y.
B. FENNER, PUBLISHER AND PROPRIETOR.
1888


The Web's a wonder!

Some of the recipes look like they might be close to Old Sockalexis' remedy. Maybe I'll try cooking something up one of these days. Other recipes, I'd have a hard time formulating.

e.g. Cough Mixture (formula #4009)

Syrup of Squill, 1 ounce.
Syrup of Tolu, 1 ounce.
Wine of Ipecac, 1 ounce.
Tincture of Opium, Camphorated, 1 ounce.

To this is frequently added:

Tincture of Bloodroot, 1/4 ounce.
Syrup of Wild Cherry, 1 ounce.
Hydrocyanic Acid, diluted, 1/8 ounce.


Oh, for the good ol' days ...

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