Navigation Links
First tests of old patent medicine remedies from a museum collection
Date:4/7/2013

NEW ORLEANS, April 7, 2013 What was in Dr. F. G. Johnson's French Female Pills and other scientifically untested elixirs, nostrums and other quack cures that were the only medicines available to sick people during the 18th, 19th and early 20th centuries?

Scientists provided a glimpse today based on an analysis of a museum collection of patent medicines used in turn-of-the-century America. It was part of the 245th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society, the world's largest scientific society, which is being held here this week.

Mark Benvenuto, Ph.D, who headed the study, explained that hundreds of untested products were sold in stores, by mail order or in traveling medicine shows during the patent medicine era. The products were called "patent medicines" not because they had been granted a government patent, but from an unrelated term that originated in 17th century England.

"This was an era long before the controlled clinical trials and federal regulations that ensure the safety and effectiveness of the medicines we take today," Benvenuto explained. "Many patent medicines had dangerous ingredients, not just potentially toxic substances like arsenic, mercury and lead, but cocaine, heroin and high concentrations of alcohol."

The samples came from the collection of the Henry Ford Museum, in Dearborn, Mich. The museum houses artifacts celebrating American inventors of various items, including planes, cars, trains, machines, furniture and more. The 50 patent medicines in the analysis were among hundreds in the museum's Health Aids collection. The results of Benvenuto's study are on display at the museum.

Undergraduate students working under Benvenuto's supervision performed the bulk of the research. Andrew Diefenbach, a senior and mechanical engineering major at the university, presented the group's research in a talk here today. He got involved in the project as a freshman in Benvenuto's general chemistry course. "I'm interested to see what other comments people have, and what kind of things they may have thought of that we haven't thought of so far that we can use to further the research," Diefenbach said.

Some of the ingredients in the samples of old patent medicines, including calcium and zinc, actually could have been healthy and are mainstays in modern dietary supplements, said Benvenuto. He is with the University of Detroit Mercy. But others were clearly dangerous. Analysis of Dr. F. G. Johnson's French Female Pills, for instance, revealed iron, calcium and zinc. But the nostrum also contained lead, which is potentially toxic. Others contained mercury, another potentially toxic heavy metal, and arsenic.

Benvenuto explained that the presence of heavy metals may have been due to contamination. On the other hand, there actually was a rationale for including some of them. Arsenic and mercury were mainstays for treatment of syphilis, for instance.


'/>"/>

Contact: Michael Bernstein
m_bernstein@acs.org
504-670-4707 (New Orleans Press Center, April 5-10)
202-872-6042

Michael Woods
m_woods@acs.org
504-670-4707 (New Orleans Press Center, April 5-10)
202-872-6293

American Chemical Society


Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Kessler Foundation implements Ekso Bionics first commercial robotic exoskeleton
2. Research reveals first evidence of hunting by prehistoric Ohioans
3. First model of how buds grow into leaves
4. American College of Rheumatology releases first classification criteria for polymyalagia rheumatica
5. Ottawa researchers to lead world-first clinical trial of stem cell therapy for septic shock
6. First complete full genetic map of promising energy crop
7. FirstMark Announces New Hire Jay Houtman as Southeast Regional Sales Manager
8. FirstMark Exhibiting at the Inaugural Atlanta Clinical Cardiology Update
9. New technology tracks sparrow migration for first time from California to Alaska
10. First mass extinction linked to marine anoxia
11. Scientists complete first-ever emperor penguin count from space
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:2/3/2016)... --> --> Fourth quarter 2015:   ... with fourth quarter of 2014. Gross margin was 46% (32). ... Earnings per share increased to SEK 6.39 (loss: 0.49). ... --> --> January to ... up 1,142% compared with 2014. Gross margin was 43% (31). ...
(Date:2/2/2016)... YORK , Feb. 2, 2016 ... of the bioinformatic market by reviewing the recent ... enabled tools that drive the field forward. Includes ... to: Identify the challenges and opportunities that ... providers and software solution developers, as well as ...
(Date:2/1/2016)... -- Rising sales of consumer electronics coupled ... gesture control market size through ... electronics coupled with new technological advancements to drive global ... through 2020   --> Rising ... to drive global touchfree intuitive gesture control market ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:2/11/2016)... Feb. 11, 2016  Vermillion, Inc. (NASDAQ: VRML ... today announced the formation of the Steering Committee for ... --> Pelvic masses can present physicians ... management. Once pregnancy is ruled out, pelvic masses may ... advanced endometriosis, benign ovarian tumors and gastrointestinal and urinary ...
(Date:2/11/2016)... ATLANTA , Feb. 11, 2016  Wellcentive ... a Portland, Oregon -based community ... to provide population health analytics, quality reporting and ... help FamilyCare strengthen its team of quality managers, ... reporting to the provider groups serving FamilyCare members. ...
(Date:2/11/2016)... --  BioInformant announces the February 2016 release of ... Tools, and Technologies – Market Size, Segments, Trends, and ... The first and only market research ... has more than a decade of historical information on ... cell type. This powerful 175 page global strategic report ...
(Date:2/10/2016)... - BioAmber Inc. (NYSE: BIOA ), a leader ... & Co. Ltd., its partner in the ... an additional CDN$25 million in the joint venture for ... to 40%.  Mitsui will also play a stronger role ... Sarnia , providing dedicated resources alongside BioAmber,s ...
Breaking Biology Technology: