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Ambition Pills for Weak and Nervous Men


Ads for these pills ran in many papers in the late 19th century. What was it in the pills that provided the ambition? If these pills were the same as 'Wendell's Ambition Pills,' which came on the market slightly later, then it was strychnine:

"Louisiana chemists reported that each pill was found to contain a little over one-thirtieth of a grain of strychnin and about one-fifth of a grain of iron in the form of the sesquioxid (ferric oxid). Pepper, cinnamon and ginger were also found and what was probably aloes in very small amounts. These pills are sold at 50 cents a box, each box containing forty-two pills. Under our present lax methods of permitting almost any dangerous drug to be sold indiscriminately, provided it is in the form of a 'patent medicine,' it seems, from the Louisiana findings, that it is possible for any one to purchase enough strychnin in a single box of Wendell's Ambition Pills to kill an adult."
The Journal A.M.A., Apr 6, 1918.
Posted By: Alex | Date: Sun Dec 15, 2013 | Number of Comments: 3
Category: Health, Medicine, Nineteenth Century
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Comments
Listed in chronological order. Newest comments at the end.
I had read somewhere that very small amounts of arsenic could have a seemingly positive effect on a person but over time, of course, it kills. This use of strychnine surprises me though because I thought it was much more virulent a poison.
Posted by patty in Ohio, USA on 12/15/13 at 04:35 PM
Sounds like a version of, "Get up off you ass and get busy or I'll see you in your grave!
Posted by Expat47 in Athens, Greece on 12/16/13 at 01:37 AM
TV presenters and pop stars use cocaine these days to help get over their nerves. That or good old booze.
Posted by dumbledoor in Hell on 12/16/13 at 04:06 AM
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