Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Patent medicine

In this post we'll be looking at an oldie, but a goodie.....Hadaccol.

According to my old landlord, it was the medicine that the ladies took who didn't drink the demon alcohol. He had plenty of stories about his auntie who always had a bottle to tipple on in her apron pocket.

Here's how Quackwatch describes it:

LeBlanc, during the heyday of his fame, was fond of telling inquiring reporters how it had all begun. In 1943, he said, he got a bad pain in his right big toe. The pain spread to his knees, his arms, his neck. Three different doctors gave him three different diagnoses—gout, arthritis, beriberi. Each treated him without success. While in a New Orleans hospital, he overheard his wife say: "He really is sick. I never saw Dudley so bad. I just don't know if I'll ever see him alive again." [3]

LeBlanc sought to escape from the hospital. As he hobbled out he met an old friend, another doctor, who told him he looked like "walking death." Hearing LeBlanc's symptoms, the doctor offered to cure them. So LeBlanc went with him to his office for an injection. Like magic the medication began to cure his condition. Each shot brought further improvement. LeBlanc was naturally curious. So he asked: "Doc, whazzat stuff you got in dat l'il ole bottle?"

"Dude, you crazy?" the doctor answered. "You think I give away my secrets to a man in the patent medicine business?"

Several days later the doctor was busy and told his nurse to give LeBlanc his shot.

"She wasn't so smart as him," LeBlanc later reminisced. "Nor so careful either. She left the bottle on the table. When she finished I gave her that old Southern Chivalry, you know, ,after you, Gertrude.' As soon as she turned her back I shoved the bottle in my pocket."

Taking the bottle to his hotel, LeBlanc read the label, then got some books to find out what the label meant. His injections, be found, were mostly B vitamins. "Then I figured to myself," LeBlanc said, "this is it."

It—as he shortly worked things out—proved to be an elixir of 12 per cent alcohol, plus some of the B complex vitamins, iron, calcium, and phosphorus, dilute hydrochloric acid, and honey. LeBlanc mixed the first batches in big barrels behind his Abbeville, Louisiana, barn, nearby farmers' daughters stirring it with boat oars. Everybody sampled it, and the ailing felt improved. LeBlanc put his product on the market. It took hold fast [4].

"They came in to buy Hadacol," recalled a Lafayette pharmacist, "when they didn't have money to buy food. They had holes in their shoes and they paid $3.50 for a bottle of Hadacol."

It was so popular that songs were sung about it:

And on that note, I'll be dosing this flue with a good long shot of Nyquill

1 comment:

  1. Great Post. I hadn't thought of Hadacol in years. It was well rec'd in the "dry" South!