Medical Solutions and Advice
Nineteenth century medical solutions for dyspepsia, sick headache, and nervousness ranged from electricity to complete bed rest, advising only the intake of milk, or reducing the amount of “brain work” a person engaged in. The cures were as diverse as the definitions of these illnesses, but many doctors agreed on one thing: patent medicines were not the answer. One doctor wrote in 1877 that medicines advertised to cure dyspepsia were “misleading” and that they were “worse than useless; for it not only is a waste of valuable time and a wicked waste of money, but their [patent medicines] employment gives an opportunity to the disease to fix itself more deeply in the system…” (Hall, 1877). Another wrote that “vegetable bitters…appear to have little or no influence in augmenting the digestive powers [to cure dyspepsia]…have frequently a considerable tendency to cause irritation of the stomach” (Fox, 1875).