Speer’s Sambuci Wine


What is this miraculous "sambuci wine?" I'm glad you asked.

Preparation.—Take of elder bark, parsley root, each, in coarse powder, 1 ounce; sherry wine, 1 pint, or a sufficient quantity. Form into a medicated wine by maceration or percolation, as explained under Vina Medicata, and make one pint of the preparation.

Action, Medical Uses, and Dosage.—Wine of elder is useful in dropsical diseases, especially ascites, and dropsy supervening upon scarlatina or other exanthematous diseases. Dose, 2 fluid ounces, 3 or 4 times a day.

Original ad here.
     Posted By: Paul - Thu Jul 10, 2014
     Category: Advertising | Natural Wonders | Nineteenth Century | Alcohol

Snake squeezins.
Posted by Expat47 in Athens, Greece on 07/10/14 at 09:52 AM
Laudanum was legal without a prescripion back then, and could cure more.
Posted by BMN on 07/10/14 at 10:29 AM
Not cure so much as mask pain. 'Snake squeezins' :lol:
Posted by Patty in Ohio, USA on 07/10/14 at 10:50 AM
I have a recipe from an elderly neighbor for homemade opium cough syrup --- just like grandma used to make!
Posted by ScoutC on 07/10/14 at 11:27 AM
This is the philosophy that has given us those fine wines that go by the names of "Boones' Farm", "Carlo Rossi", "Gallo", etc.
Posted by KDP on 07/10/14 at 03:58 PM
Haha, for females, weakly persons and invalids. Ouch.
Posted by Sebastian on 07/11/14 at 12:14 AM
I have a copy of "The National Formulary, Ninth Edition" (1950). It's the standard reference for pharmacists on how to mix, prepare, and dispense drugs. Trust me when I say that 'real' medicine wasn't much better.

Normal Human Serum - Serum Humanum Normale
"Normal human serum is the sterile serum obtained by pooling approximately equal amounts of the liquid portion of coagulated whole blood from eight or more humans (homo sapians) who have been certified by a qualified doctor of medicine as free from any disease which is transmissible by transfusion at the time of drawing the blood."
"Usual Dose -- Intravenous, 500 cc."
Posted by Phideaux on 07/11/14 at 02:38 AM
From the Wiki entry on "Sambucus" (the elder shrub that produces elderberries): The leaves, twigs, branches, seeds and roots of Sambucus plants can contain a cyanide-inducing glycoside (a glycoside which gives rise to cyanide as the metabolism processes it). Ingesting a sufficient quantity of cyanide-inducing glycosides can cause a toxic buildup of cyanide in the body.

Posted by tadchem on 07/11/14 at 06:28 PM
Phideaux, regarding blood transfusions little much has changed. The basic process for plasma (liquid, non-red cell portion of blood) was developed during WWll and except for advances in testing and irradiation is still the same as then.

Red blood cell transfusions are limited by the life of the cells and the inability of freezing (the cells will burst) and irradiating (the protein will denature.)

Pooling blood sources is common practice today as an effort to dilute any harmful substances or contagion from a single donor.

A plasma volume expander in hospitals today is comprised of several hundreds of donations. Red blood transfusions are comprised from as many donations as possible.
Posted by Flamingo1 on 07/11/14 at 07:56 PM
But they keep the races separate, right. No mingling of that sort.
Posted by Expat47 in Athens, Greece on 07/12/14 at 12:28 AM
@Flamingo1 -- the Formulary doesn't say what the drugs are for, and I didn't think about transfusions. There are several paragraphs about purification of it.

In the spirit of Sambuci wine, the Formulary does list:

Larkspur Tincture (100 gm. powdered larkspur, enough alcohol to make 1000cc)

Lavender Spirit (50cc lavender oil, 1000cc alcohol)

Lobella Tincture (100gm. powdered lobella, 5cc acetic acid, enough alcohol to make 1000cc)

Rhubarb Tincture (200gm powdered rhubarb, 30gm powdered cardamon seed, 100cc glycerin, enough alcohol to make 1000cc)

The properly stocked pharmacist also apparently stocked tree bark (Elm, Buckthorn, High-bush cranberry, and others), lard, brandy, iron filings, oils (Orange, Cedar, Coconut, Pine, and others), and a lot of other things that don't seem like medicine these days.
Posted by Phideaux on 07/12/14 at 01:20 AM
If you think tree bark doesn't sound like medicine, better throw out those aspirins.

Elderberry "wine", by the way, is still made all over Europe. It's not exactly common, but it's nothing abnormal. It can be made with elderberry bark, and (more common and better) from the elderberries themselves. And then there's the Italian liqueur called Sambucca, which is flavoured with the flowers.
Posted by Richard Bos on 07/12/14 at 05:52 AM
Medicine originated with plants, trees and flowers that were found to have a healing effect. Just as many that helped probably poisoned as well which was certainly a rough way to learn back then. Chemically made medicines are far newer and less explored. There was a lot of snake oil back in the day, but I am willing to bet some of it worked as well. I wonder if today's medicine has a better or worse hit and miss percentage.
Posted by Patty in Ohio, USA on 07/12/14 at 03:24 PM
A Short History of Medicine

I have a headache:
1000 B.C. -- Eat this root.
A.D. 1000 -- That root is heathen. Here, say this prayer.
A.D. 1600 -- That prayer is superstition. Here, drink this potion.
A.D. 1940 -- That potion is snake oil. Here, swallow this pill.
A.D. 1980 -- That pill is ineffective. Here, take this antibiotic.
A.D. 2010 -- That antibiotic is artificial. Here, eat this root.

In the last few years, aspirin has seemed to move from a medicine to a diet supplement -- doctors no longer prescribe it except as long-term therapy. Some hospitals don't even have it in the drug carts on the floor, which makes it hell for me because there's no other NSAID I can take, so it's a long wait every time they have to call to have some sent up.
Posted by Phideaux on 07/12/14 at 09:17 PM
So take some acetaminophen, just not too much, they always have that and if you are lucky they might give you the one with the hydrocodone (or oxycodone)in it.
Posted by Patty in Ohio, USA on 07/13/14 at 12:37 AM
The least little bit of acetaminophen makes my throat and tongue swell up. I have bad side effects from every OTC NSAID except aspirin.
Posted by Phideaux on 07/13/14 at 02:32 AM
Sorry honey, that sucks.
Posted by Patty in Ohio, USA on 07/13/14 at 02:47 AM
Once upon a time, there was a chemical company that had the opportunity to develop two drugs, each with great pain killing potential. However, they had the resources to develop only one, so they made their choice. It was found to be almost as strong in its analgesic effect as morphine, and wasn't anticipated to be addictive. Its users described the feeling as "heroisch" or "heroic", thence the name "heroin". That didn't turn out so well. So, they put their resources behind the other drug and developed that. Ultimately, the Bayer company released Aspirin, which turned out a lot better for all involved.
Posted by Mr Evilwrench on 07/13/14 at 09:12 AM
@patty -- it's inconvenient because they seem to put acetaminophen in just about everything, but it paid off nicely when I had my gall bladder removed. I've always had the habit of asking what pills I'm being given, so when a nurse handed me two of the 'T' word, I refused to take them. By chance, my lawyer (a friend) called soon after to see how I was. I told him about the incident. He called hosp. admin.. A check was waiting for me the day I was discharged.
Posted by Phideaux on 07/13/14 at 01:35 PM
I once broke out in a rash from codeine and since my mom was very allergic to it I don't chance using it. Years ago I had an outpatient procedure which involved being put under. While I was just waking up and still groggy the nurse gave me medicine and I took it automatically. Then I thought to ask what it was, you guessed it, Tylenol with codeine. They had to keep me a couple more hours for observation due to that. No reaction, but I am still cautious with codeine.
Posted by Patty in Ohio, USA on 07/13/14 at 06:31 PM
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