Advertisement for Powell's balsam of aniseed

Description

Powell’s ‘Balsam of Aniseed’ was one of many unregulated treatments for a dry cough in the Victorian era. Dry coughs were supposed by many to be a precursor to serious lung diseases such as pneumonia or tuberculosis, so it was considered wise to take something that would cause one to expectorate phlegm from the chest.

The 19th century was a golden age for quack cures and remedies. Most often described as ‘patent’ or ‘proprietary medicines’, they made large claims for their own efficacy and as further proof were often housed in extremely elaborate and ornate bottles or jars. The bottle for Powell’s Balsam is among the most famous of the era, being bright green and pyramidal in shape – very unusual for the time.

Full title:
Powell's balsam of aniseed … This grand old cough medicine should be in every household
Published:
1882, London
Format:
Advertisement / Ephemera / Illustration / Image
Language:
English
Usage terms
Public Domain
Held by
British Library
Shelfmark:
Evan. 7075

Related articles

Health and hygiene in the 19th century

Article by:
Liza Picard

In a time when diseases like smallpox, cholera and TB were insatiable and continued to relapse in epidemical waves, Liza Picard explores how medical pioneers and health innovations shaped the landscape of medicine in the 19th century.

Representations of drugs in 19th-century literature

Article by:
Sharon Ruston
Themes:
Romanticism, Fin de siècle, Technology and science

Opium was widely available in the 19th century, sold by barbers, tobacconists and stationers. Writers including Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Elizabeth Barrett Browning and Charles Dickens all used the drug, for pleasure or as medicine. Professor Sharon Ruston explores how drugs provided both inspiration and subject matter for the literature of the period.

Related collection items