Ear: Bosanko

From the same edition of The Daily Morning Astorian: 

"Everybody knows the virtues of Wild Cherry and Tar as a relief and cure for any affections of the throat and lungs … Dr. Bosanko's Cough and Lung Syrup (is) just the article you should have in the house for coughs, colds, croup and bronchitis. Price 50 cents ($13.24 now) and $1. Samples free. Sold by J.W. Conn."

This sounded like a pretty heinous combination, so a little research was in order. A 1910 agricultural bulletin provided some answers (bit.ly/Bozanko).

A 5.6 fluid ounce bottle of the concoction, manufactured by Dr. Bosanko's Medicine Co. of Piqua, Ohio, was analyzed for content.

The appearance was that of a "turbid, brown syrup, with odor of tar and chloroform." Not a good start. Other ingredients included ash, alcohol, morphine and a trace of ammonia.

They were not able to determine the amount of morphine, but did note the presence of a dead fly in the bottle. Its contribution to the mix was not noted. Prof. Putt's conclusion is as follows: 

"Thin preparation appears to be made from an inferior grade of honey. … It is interesting to note that practically all of the alkaloid was found not in the solution but in the sediment which had deposited upon the sides and in the bottom of the bottle.

"No physician or pharmacist would dispense each a product without a "Shake" label. This product, however, bears no such warning. The dead fly found in the preparation would hardly warrant the approval of physicians and pharmacists, which is claimed in the circular accompanying this remedy."

Folks would have been wise to steer clear of Dr. Bosanko's pile cure, as well.

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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