#TBT: Unreal Medical Quackery—Chlorine for Colds! Strychnine for Alcoholism!—from San Francisco's Past


Looking back at history brings with it a sense of fascination, and often the nostalgia of wanting to live in another time. But few things will make you appreciate the modern age more than seeing some of the zany, and in some cases downright dangerous, medical practices of the past.

Some of these tonics come from lack of knowledge, others were just a gimmick to make a quick buck (come to think of it, that still exists). Be prepared to scratch your head, have your stomach turn, and mouth fall agape at some of the quacky medical ads we found in the archives of San Francisco publishers from the 1855 to the 1920s.

1855: Sands' Sarsaparilla

This ad, for Sand's Sarsparilla, was found in the September 7, 1855 edition of California Farmer and Journal of Useful Sciences. The concoction, availabe for sale at 146 Washington Street in San Francisco, promised to cure such things as ulcers, "female complaints," liver complaints, pimples, and a condition known as scrofula.

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