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A look back at senior health and fitness

In addition to being Cellophane Tape Day, National Grape Popsicle Day, Old-Time Player Piano Day, and, more seriously, Sunscreen Protection Day and World MS Day, today is also National Senior Health and Fitness Day.  Many years ago our ancestors of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, made little connection between health and fitness.  Farm people, which constituted most of the population, did keep reasonably fit through hard manual labor, but they made little connection between their state of health and the kinds and amounts of food they ate on a regular basis.  The types of information we have today about the foods we eat was not available to our forebears of a century ago.  The types of food they ate regularly and the amounts they consumed of these foods would scandalize modern nutritionist.  As we have previously noted in these columns when health problems arose, as they inevitably did,  sufferers from these problems would be more like to turn to a bottle or box of patent medicine rather than to different types of exercise and changes in their diets.

Those among the elderly who might have turned to alcohol as a means of escape from problems of loneliness and the loss of ability to engage in activities which formerly brought to life were encouraged to try one or more of the following “remedies”:

Benner’s Whiskey Cure

Dr. Purdy’s cure for liquor habits

Hahnemann’s Whiskey Habit Cure

Howe’s Cure for the Liquor Habit


Matthew’s Temperance Remedy

Orrine Cure of Alcoholic Habits

Pfiel’s Intemperance Antidote

Richard’s Teetotal Tonic

Russian Liquor Cure


Tri-Elixiria Home Remedy for Drunkenness

Whitney’s Dry-Up

Those among the elderly who might be teetotalers but who still might have lost their zest for living might be encouraged by their families and friends to try one of the following products as a way to capture some of their former youthful enthusiasm:

3-D Youthful Vigor Pills

Dr. Kilmer’s Swamp Root (lack of energy)

Dr. Pierce’s Favorite Prescription (invigorating tonic)

Dr. Williams’ Pink Pills (“for pale people”)

Winchester’s Hypophosphites (tiredness)

Armour Beef Tea (gives vitality and renewed energy to the enfeebled)

Bunker Hill Suspensory (Ohio Truss Co.) (a way to avoid “that tired feeling”)

Best’s Lost Vitaity Cure

Harris’ New Blood Tonic

Iron-Up Tablets (tiredness)

Pepitron Pills  (“ironize the blood”)

Schaap’s Iron Wine

Smith’s Blood Purifier (tiredness)

Sweet Iron Wine (tiredness)

For those who have become only “skin and bones” as they have aged, this product was recommended:

Blanchard’s Fat-Forming Food

Horlick’s Food Co.

Hensel Nerve and Tissue Food

McArthur’s Syrup (tissue builder and reconstructive)

Wyeth’s Beef, Wine and Iron

Wheeler’s Tissue Phosphate (“the ideal tonic for fastidious convalescents”)

Carnogen (ox blood) (chiefly used in pernicious anemia)

Catalysis Tablets (pork, calf, poultry pepsins)

Cocanized Beef, Wine and Iron

Colden’s Liquid Beef Tonic (also brandy) (beef extract)

Fairchild’s Compound Ox-Gall Tablets

Corpula (concentrated foods)

Allaire’s Elixir Nutrana (coca, extract of beef)

Sohn’s Elixir Vigorana (coca wine, nux vomica)

Glycerin Extract of Red Bone Marrow (calves’ ribs)

Hemogallol (debilitated individuals)

Lactopeptine with Beef and Iron (wool fat)

Lecithin (improves the blood) (alcohol, ether, chloroform)

Liquor Pancreaticus (alcohol; pancreas, fresh, of calf or pig)

Marrol (ox marrow, malt extract, hop extract)

Nuclein (protein extracted from the spleen and other organs) (alcohol)

Nutritive  Hypophosphites (strychnine)

Merrell’s Nutromulsion (eggs, brandy, and phosphates)

Orexin (appetizer)

Peptenzyme (extracts of spleens, livers) (alcohol)

Reed & Carnick’s Protonuclein (glands and pituitary bodies, especially from oxen and pigs)

Liquid Rennet [mucous membrane of the fresh stomach of a suckling calf) (Sherry wine)

Somatose (nutritive portions of flesh converted)