Contributed by Maine Historical Society
This recipe for a pain relieving concoction was prescribed to a woman with phthisis pulmonalis, a form of tuberculosis. The prescription was written by Dr. Benjamin Vaughn of Hallowell for Elizabeth Atkins of Mount Vernon on 19 October 1802. The prescription included both opium pills and laudanum, which is a tincture - or alcoholic extract - of opium. Highly addictive, laudanum was popularly prescribed in the 19th century as a narcotic painkiller and sedative.
Other ingredients include purpurea digitalis, also known as foxglove flower; vitriol which is a sulphuric acid; and antimonial wine, an acidic wine with high metal content. The cream of tartar & flowers of sulfur were used to combat constipation, or costiveness, a side effect of opioids.
About This Item
- Title: Medicinal recipe for Phthisis Pulmonalis, Hallowell, 1802
- Creation Date: 1802-10-19
- Subject Date: 1802-10-19
- Town: Hallowell, Mt. Vernon
- County: Kennebec
- State: ME
- Media: Ink on paper
- Dimensions: 13 cm x 19 cm
- Local Code: Coll. S-189
- Collection: Medical remedies
- Object Type: Text
For more information about this item, contact:Maine Historical Society
485 Congress Street, Portland, ME 04101
(207) 774-1822 x230
Please post your comment below to share with others. If you'd like to privately share a comment or correction with MMN staff, please use this form.