Museum – Dr. Bowker’s Giant Tonic

Dr. Bowker's Giant Tonic, advertisement, antique patent medicine

Well, what do you think they put into this concoction? I imagine that when carbonated water was invented, it was touted as a remedy for a number of things in a similar fashion. In this case, the claims of strength and vigor are interesting, but I especially like the line “ONCE TRIED, you can not afford to be without it”. I’m really not sure what they’re going for. Perhaps it’s a cheap lure for the cocaine addicts? The real takeaway seems to be that before medicine was regulated by the FDA, people were more comfortable with the idea of substance dependency. It’s about time we see those words written on bottles of Xanax and Vicodin, don’t you think?

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