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

eneral 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.


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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

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