Cocaine and Opium Medications from the Past
Coca wine was an alcoholic beverage that combined wine and cocaine. According to the Sears, Roebuck and Co. Consumers’ Guide (1900), their extraordinary Peruvian Wine of Coca, “…sustains and refreshes both the body and brain….It may be taken at any time with perfect safety…it has been effectually proven that in the same space of time more than double the amount of work could be undergone when Peruvian Wine of Coca was used, and positively no fatigue experienced…..”
Some 99% of contemporary Western users mix cocaine and ethyl alcohol. Cocaine and alcohol combine to form another hugely reinforcing compound, cocaethlyene. Coca-use only really took off in the West when it was blended with an alcoholic beverage.
Brands of Coca Wine:
Mariani Coca wine
The real soaraway success in Europe was Vin Mariani. Launched in 1863, it was an extremely palatable coca wine developed by the Corsican entrepreneur, Angelo Mariani (1838-1914). Mariani first tried his new tonic on a depressed actress. The results were spectacular. She soon told all her friends. Mariani himself wrote a book eulogising coca; and he gathered artefacts of, and material on, the coca-loving Incas. At home, he collected coke-taking paraphernalia. He also took up amateur horticulture and cultivated the coca plant in his garden.
An endorsement from Harper’s Magazine on the advertisement: “Your marvelous Tonic needs certainly no further recommendation as everyone is familiar with it, and no one would be without it. I claim ‘VIN MARIANI’ can have no equal; it will live forever.”
Pope Leo XIII used to carry one bottle with him all the time. He awarded Angelo Mariani (the producer) with a Vatican gold medal.
Metcalf Coca Wine
Metcalf Coca Wine was one of a huge variety of wines with cocaine on the market. Everybody used to say that it would make you happy and it would also work as a medicinal treatment.
Maltine Coca Wine
Produced by Maltine Manufacturing Company of New York. It was suggested that you should take a full glass with or after every meal. Children should take half a glass.
Other Cocaine Medications:
Dragees Antiseptiques Au Menthol
Cocaine throat lozenges, “indispensable for singers, teachers, and orators.” This box of lozenges is from a Belgium pharmacy (circa 1900).
Cocaine Toothache Drops
Very popular for children in 1885. “Instantaneous Cure!” Not only they relieved the pain, they made the children happy!
Stickney and Poor’s Pure Paregoric
For a five day old baby?! This sure would make them sleep well (not only the Opium, but 46% alcohol!). Stickney and Poor’s also distributed spices, for which the company is better known (McCormick).
A bottle of Bayer’s heroin. Between 1890 and 1910 heroin was sold as a non-addictive substitute for morphine. It was also used to treat children with strong cough.
Vapor-Ol Treatment No. 6
This National Vaporizer Vapor-OL (opium) Treatment no. 6 for asthma may have provided a unique method of essentially “smoking” opium. The volatile liquid was placed in a pan that was heated by a small kerosene lamp.
Other substances were also used in these early (c. 1890) vaporizers, but this mixture probably ensured plenty of visitors for the spasmodically affected.