Woodward’s Gripe Water

Gripe water is what people used to give to kids to calm them down if they had colic, teething pains, etc. But what exactly was in the stuff? According to wikipedia, the main ingredients were alcohol, dill oil, sodium bicarbonate, sugar, and water. But this ad makes me think there must have been a little something extra in the Indian formulation of the stuff.

via reddit
     Posted By: Alex - Fri Mar 06, 2015
     Category: Medicine | 1930s

A little hooch (rum worked well) in the bottle worked without all the Eastern hokum (Oh, God, I'm starting to sound like Sheldon).
Posted by Expat47 in Athens, Greece on 03/06/15 at 09:47 AM
Yeah but you are still cuter sweetie! 😉

They used to give phenobarbital drops for colic and it was damn effective too.
Posted by Patty in Ohio, USA on 03/06/15 at 11:00 AM
Judging from the picture, the little extra was some snake oil.

There was quite a hue and cry in the UK in the 70s, when it was discovered how much alcohol was in gripe water!
Posted by TheCannyScot in Atlanta, GA on 03/06/15 at 11:31 AM
Could you be more specific, Scotty, were they complaining about there being too much or not enough or was it a regional thing? Like, maybe the Irish were on the side of not enough and the Brits were flaking out over there being too much?

Just askin'.
Posted by Expat47 in Athens, Greece on 03/06/15 at 11:37 AM
A bit of opium added in the mix used to work wonders.
Posted by BMN on 03/06/15 at 02:19 PM
My mother used to share her martinis with me. That only worked unti I discovered the healthful attributes of the 'water of life' (Celtic 'uisce', pronounced "Wiz-gee").
Posted by tadchem on 03/06/15 at 03:11 PM
When I was a baby/toddler I got coffee to wake up and whiskey in my bottle to go to sleep.
Posted by BrokeDad in Midwest US on 03/06/15 at 07:41 PM
An old calendar from Woodwards gripe water. The language in red letters is Tamil. It is an art of baby God Krishna dancing on the five headed snake demon. Nothing snake oil about it.

Here is the FAQ about contents of the gripe water from Woodwards Indian site.
Posted by G on 03/07/15 at 06:23 PM
Posted by G on 03/07/15 at 06:24 PM
Available on Amazon, made in India. According to Wikipedia, the FDA banned it as an unapproved drug, so it's now sold as a dietary supplement. An old trademark shows baby Hercules strangling two snakes, so the snake motif dates way back.
Posted by ges on 03/07/15 at 10:03 PM
Just read an article in a medical journal (linked from Wikipedia) that claims that the true active ingredient is sugar (or other sweetener). It's been shown that sweet tasting liquids ease colic.
Posted by ges on 03/07/15 at 10:12 PM
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