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.

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