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NoahBriggs
10-30-2007, 09:00 AM
Presumably discussing the medicinal qualities of various now-controlled
substances (as defined by the Controlled Substances Act). Articles like this only make our job of providing documented accuracy all the more difficult.

Bear in mind the article addresses the post-war patent medcine era, which it does not clarify.

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Today's Illicit Drugs Were Yesterday's Tonics (LAT)

Derivatives of coca and opium were seen as miracle cures in the
1800s, and could be found in any drugstore.

Elena Conis Esoterica Medica
The Los Angeles Times, October 29, 2007

THESE days, cocaine, heroin and other illicit drugs are better known for the problems they cause than the ones they solve. Over a century ago, though, the stimulant effects of cocaine and the painkilling qualities of heroin and other opium-derived drugs made these common ingredients in over-the-counter medicines.

That trend created at least one urban legend that happens to be true: Coca-Cola, originally concocted in the 1880s as a cure-all medicinal tonic, really did once contain cocaine.

The leaves of the coca plant, from which cocaine is derived, have long been chewed by natives of the South American Andes to relieve altitude sickness, exhaustion and pain. In the mid-19th century, visitors from North America and Europe took note. They began making their own coca-leaf extracts, containing varying amounts of cocaine.

Soon, cocaine-based remedies were being sold in drugstores, groceries and soda shops, marketed to mothers of newborns, businessmen, public speakers, singers, actors, priests and baseball players.

Doctors lauded the stimulant for dulling pain, strengthening the pulse, calming nervousness and helping the body heal. Not only did it do all that, wrote a New England doc in the 1870s, "it invariably contributes to the mental cheerfulness."

The drug wasn't snorted or (necessarily) chewed. It was applied to the gums in the form of toothache powders, placed on the tongue via dysentery drops, slowly consumed through throat lozenges -- and copiously gulped in medicinal wines.

Beginning in the 1860s, coca wines were a widely popular cure for seasickness, headache, hay fever and anemia, plus "neuralgia, sleeplessness, [and] despondency," in the words of coca wine maker Theodore Metcalf & Co.
Metcalf's wine wasn't the top seller of the day: Italian druggist Vin Mariani's was. A 19th century ad for Vin Mariani's coca wine claimed it was endorsed by more than 7,000 prominent physicians in Europe and America. Other ads boasted endorsements by Jules Verne and the pope.

Hoping to surpass the success of coca-wine makers, Atlanta druggist John Pemberton took the product a step further. He combined coca extract with an extract of cola, a caffeine-rich African drug, and mixed the two with alcohol. He later took out the alcohol, and the tonic became known as Coca-Cola.

[I'd like to verify all of the material written in the article, but this one in particular. I was under the impression that "cola" was a derivative of the Latin "colateur", to mix, to stir, let it be mixed. "Cola" was used as the shorthand on prescriptions. Hence the tonic itself was coca mixed with other ingredients. Source: Beasley's 2900 Prescriptions.]

Not long after cocaine appeared on drugstore shelves, it was joined by heroin. German drug maker Bayer put the drug in cough suppressants; others put it in remedies for asthma and pneumonia, often mixing it with sugar and spices to mask its bitter taste.

But opium was a more popular remedy than either cocaine or heroine [sic]. Mrs. Winslow's soothing syrup, which contained the opium extract morphine, was advertised as perfect for quieting teething kids -- which it undoubtedly did very well.

Paregoric, a mixture of opium and alcohol, was a common cure for diarrhea. Boston's Stickney and Poor Spice Co. recommended a daily teaspoon of the drug for an adult -- and five drops for a 5-day-old baby.

Opium was also injected (a remedy Florence Nightingale turned to for her severe back pain) and, of course, smoked -- and not only in times of sickness and pain.

[Opium injections would be difficult in the mid - to - late nineteenth century. According to an article which analyzed the myth of the drug addicted veteran, "morphine kits" which included a syringe were not common. Drug addicts had other ways of getting an opium fix without having to use a needle to shoot up. Source: Mythical Roots of U.S. Drug Policy. ( http://www.druglibrary.org/schaffer/History/soldis.htm ). Yes, the source is biased, but he is kind enough to cite sources of his own. Smoking and chewing seemed to be the preferred methods; you don't have to hunt down a specific form of opium and convert it to morphine.]

By the time physicians and psychiatrists began to suspect that users could get hooked on cocaine, it was clear that opium, too, was powerfully addictive. In fact, many of the early addicts to both drugs were those who prescribed and sold them -- that is, the doctors and druggists themselves.

Ultimately, the U.S. government stepped in to address the growing problem of addiction. The 1906 Pure Food and Drug Act and the 1914 Harrison Act took cocaine, opium and other narcotics off drugstore shelves and required that doctors be licensed to prescribe the drugs. By then, many drug manufacturers had quietly taken the vilified
ingredients out of their popular products. Sometime around the turn of the century, cocaine, for one, was taken out of Coca-Cola. It hasn't been in the drink for at least a hundred years.
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I'd be curious to read others' comments on the topic.

hanktrent
10-30-2007, 09:51 AM
Hoping to surpass the success of coca-wine makers, Atlanta druggist John Pemberton took the product a step further. He combined coca extract with an extract of cola, a caffeine-rich African drug, and mixed the two with alcohol. He later took out the alcohol, and the tonic became known as Coca-Cola.

[I'd like to verify all of the material written in the article, but this one in particular. I was under the impression that "cola" was a derivative of the Latin "colateur", to mix, to stir, let it be mixed. "Cola" was used as the shorthand on prescriptions. Hence the tonic itself was coca mixed with other ingredients. Source: Beasley's 2900 Prescriptions.]

For the 1888 event, coincidentally, I did some research on this. Don't think you were there Sunday morning when I was telling Mr. Tompkins about the value of coca wine. I didn't find, though, that the average person in America would have heard much about cocaine or coca wine till well after the 1860s, though it was theoretically available then. It was really hitting its peak in the late 1880s.

The article has the standard story, that the "cola" came from the cola/kola nut. Coca-cola was a temperance version of the wildly popular coca wine. Here's a decent overview of the invention: http://www.cocaine.org/coca-cola/index.html The kola nut seems to be mentioned by travelers as being important in Africa in the mid 19th century and was analyzed to contain caffeine or theine, but didn't really make it here as a substitute for what was preferred to be taken in coffee or tea. Good article here from 1874, especially the long footnote about Dr. Daniell: http://books.google.com/books?id=kmQMAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA323 , and more than you'd ever want to know about the Kola nut from 1896 here: http://books.google.com/books?id=YNwBAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA63


Not long after cocaine appeared on drugstore shelves, it was joined by heroin.

That fits a little better with the widespread use of cocaine in the later 19th century, not the 1860s, and the introduction of heroin at the turn of the 20th century.


But opium was a more popular remedy than either cocaine or heroine [sic]. Mrs. Winslow's soothing syrup, which contained the opium extract morphine, was advertised as perfect for quieting teething kids -- which it undoubtedly did very well.

Paregoric, a mixture of opium and alcohol, was a common cure for diarrhea.

Now we're starting to sound like the 1860s!


Opium was also injected (a remedy Florence Nightingale turned to for her severe back pain)

'Bout all I can offer on that is the standard quote, for example here: http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/articlerender.fcgi?artid=1312298

“Nothing did me any good,” Florence Nightingale noted during one of her illnesses, “but a curious little new fangled operation of putting opium under the skin, which relieved one for 24 hours”

That article has it footnoted to Porter, but In the Arms of Morpheus by Hodgson states it's in a letter from Nightingale to Harriet Martineau in 1866 and says it's quoted in Cook, Sir Edward. The Life of Florence Ngihtingale, first published 1913.

Hank Trent
hanktrent@voyager.net