Herbal tonic: Fountain of Health

ACCESSION NUMBER: 996001286 a-b
Object Name: Great Herbal Tonic Fountain of Health bottle and box
Manufacturer: Wm Churchill & Co.
Date Made: 1880
MeSH Code: Medical Subject Headings Drugs, Non-Prescription; Drugs — patent, proprietary, over-the-counter — vitamins, health restorers, protectors; Drug Packaging


How did Canadians care for their health in the later years of the 19th century? In those days, medical science had greatly improved diagnostic techniques and disease classification, but there were still few cures available. Quacks and opportunistic entrepreneurs took advantage of people’s desire for relief from pain and illness and flooded the market with a host of low-cost “miracle” cures and patent medicines

This Fountain of Health herbal tonic was a typical patent medicine: it promised to purify the blood, regulate the bowels, renovate secretions, act upon the kidneys, and invigorate the entire system.  Great emphasis was placed on its natural origins: “A purely vegetable compound of roots, leaves, bark & flowers, gathered from woods and fields.”  In this age of ‘green’ products, herbal tonics remain popular today.

Related: The Habit

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