Ear: Balsam

Seen in the Aug. 29, 1883 edition of The Daily Astorian: "Have Dr. Wistar's Balsam of Wild Cherry always at hand. It cures coughs, colds, bronchitis, whooping cough, croup, influenza, consumption (tuberculosis) and all throat and lung complaints. 50 cents and $1 ($25 now) a bottle."

This extremely popular bit of addictive feel-good quackery was made from "cherry bark, alcohol and opiates" (bit.ly/wistarcherry). Concocted around 1840 by Henry Wister (or Wistar) — who may or may not have been a doctor — this particular nostrum was on the market for over 100 years.

Elleda Wilson is an editorial assistant for The Astorian and author of the award-winning In One Ear community column. Contact her at 971-704-1718 or ewilson@dailyastorian.com.

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.