Dr. Chase’s Nerve Food

Alvin Chase was a successful 19th-century peddler of dubious medical remedies, but his name kept being used to sell medicine throughout the 20th century. His "nerve food" contained arsenic and strychnine (and other good stuff). The Lake Country Museum has a short bio of him:

Born in New York State in 1817, Alvin Chase came to Ann Arbor in 1856 to pursue a medical degree after a career as a traveling peddler of groceries and household drugs. While taking classes at the University of Michigan, he supported his family by selling home medical remedies and household recipes that he had picked up in his travels, starting with a single page of hints and cures.
Chase only audited classes at the U-M, since Latin was required to complete the program and had not been taught at the "log school" he'd attended in New York. He earned the title "doctor" in 1857 after spending sixteen weeks in Cincinnati at the Eclectic Medical Institute.
After returning to Ann Arbor, Chase practiced medicine and continued to expand his book of recipes. To the modern reader, many of his remedies seem very quaint. Besides cures for five kinds of "apparent death," they included tinctures, teas, and ointments made from plants, tree bark, and–in one case–cooked toads. But at a time when doctors were still bleeding patients or poisoning them with mercury, his cures may have been as much help as anything the local doctor prescribed.
     Posted By: Alex - Wed Feb 06, 2013
     Category: Medicine

Arsenic and strychnine! Yeah, you'll sleep...permanently. Rarely do I say this about a government agency but, thank goodness for the FDA!
Posted by Patty in Ohio, USA on 02/06/13 at 08:26 AM
I'd bet tort law and consumer protections weenies do more good in that area than the FDA does but, yea, things were running a bit wild.

I remember when Carter's Little Liver Pills got the ax because they didn't contain any liver and didn't do anything for you liver.
Posted by Expat47 in Athens, Greece on 02/06/13 at 10:22 AM
Is "nerve food" anything like "cheese food"? Something fed to little cheeses to make them grow big and strong?
Posted by KDP on 02/06/13 at 11:20 AM
I don't know, K, (May I call you "K", KDP?) but your latest offering was pretty cheesy all on it's own.
Posted by Expat47 in Athens, Greece on 02/06/13 at 11:32 AM
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