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Mosby’s Tonic—Medicine for Internal Use

Wow, This one is really interesting!  Right on the box it says “Each maximum dose contains .0008 grs. Strychnine”.  One the other side it says “Medicinal extracts from Natures’ roots, herbs, leaves and barks are blended with other efficacious ingredients in compounding Mosby’s Tonic to make up a valuable stomachic, carminative, laxative-tonic, mild diuretic and cholagogue.  A medicine for the entire family”  I learned some new words with this one.
From Wikipedia, the following definitions:

A stomachic medicine is one that serves to tone the stomach, improving its function and increasing appetite. While many herbal remedies claim stomachic effects, modern pharmacology does not have an equivalent term for this type of action.A carminative, also known as carminativum (plural carminativa), is an herb or preparation that either prevents formation of gas in the gastrointestinal tract, or facilitates the expulsion of said gas, thereby combating flatulence.
And from
cholagogue /chol·a·gogue/ (ko´lah-gog) an agent that stimulates gallbladder contraction to promote bile flow. cholagog´ic.
I also looked up Strychnine to check for lethal quantities and found this, also on Wikipedia.
Although it is best known as a poison, small doses of strychnine were once used in medications as a stimulant, as a laxative, and as a treatment for other stomach ailments. A 1934 drug guide for nurses described it as “among the most valuable and widely prescribed drugs”.[2] Strychnine’s stimulant effects also led to its use historically for enhancing performance in sports.[3] Because of its high toxicity and tendency to cause convulsions, the use of strychnine in medicine was eventually abandoned once safer alternatives became available.
A lethal dose was cited as 1/2 a grain (32 mg), but people have been known to die from as little as 5 mg of strychnine.”
The “Important Directions” included within the box say that adults should take one tablespoonful three times a day, a short time after each meal…also after the first 8 or 10 days, some people reduce the daily amount to two doses per day, one taken in the morning after breakfast and the other at night before retiring….If after 8 or 10 days, you reduce the daily amount to two doses per day and begin to feel that you are not deriving the same benefit as before, THEN RETURN AT ONCE TO THREE DOSES PER DAY.”  It is recommended that children age 8 to 10 years of age, one teaspoon,  three times a day is recommended.  Every dose should be followed with about two-thirds of a glass of pure, cold water.
I guess!  According to the literature it is the bitterest substance known.
Don’t fret that you can no longer buy this product.  The insert goes on to spell out a few simple health rules
“Eat simple, nourishing food. Drink plenty of good, pure water, six to eight glasses a day.  Sleep eight or nine hours a night in a well-ventilated room.  Keep bowels open, the feet dry and warm and the head cool.  If you are past 60, try to walk a mile a day in the open air; or, if you are in the early fifties or the forties or younger, walk three or four miles a day if you can.  Just follow the simple rules of health and perhaps you will not need Mosby’s tonic again, but of course, if your precautions fail, as they sometimes may, and you feel that you are getting in need of the medicine again, then start taking it in time and you may only to to take it a short period.”
I wanted to know if Mosby Medicine Company of Windsor Canada was still in business and I didn’t find any record of that.  On a genealogical site I found the following note:

The bottles of medicine both have purchased are not related to C. V. Mosby of MO. The Mosby Medicine Company was founded by my great uncle, Gilbert Haun Mosby. Gilbert Haun got very rich off his questionable elixers, and was later gunned down on the steps of the Cincinnatti Police Station in what my father believes was mob related. 

If you are interested you can see the Patent Medicine exhibit on our web site.
Navigate to the Virtual Tour and click on #4.  That will give you the best view.  Mosby’s Tonic is near the top of the exhibit.  It is in a locked case, by the way.


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