A long-time TDE reader sends along this great anecdote about fin de siècle medicine. “Peptonized Port was helpful for ‘people who are nervous, cannot stand noise, start at the least unusual sound” and “get that fly-to-pieces feeling often.’ The ad below informed consumers that the remedy was a combination of port wine and pepsin, with no added drugs or chemicals.”
Wine and pepsin. Yikes. I don’t know if it worked, but I’m sure it at least tasted like medicine.
It reminds me of one of my favorite GKC passages. From Heretics, “Omar and the Sacred Vine”:
Drink because you are happy, but never because you are miserable. Never drink when you are wretched without it, or you will be like the grey-faced gin-drinker in the slum; but drink when you would be happy without it, and you will be like the laughing peasant of Italy. Never drink because you need it, for this is rational drinking, and the way to death and hell. But drink because you do not need it, for this is irrational drinking, and the ancient health of the world.
The Peptonized Port ad appeared in 1903. Heretics was published in 1905.Bookmark it: del.icio.us | Reddit | Slashdot | Digg | Facebook | Technorati | Google | StumbleUpon | Window Live | Tailrank | Furl | Netscape | Yahoo | BlinkList