January 11, 2015

Antique Cough Syrups (Cannabis, Heroin, Chloroform, etc)

Image from Antique Cannabis Handbook
A blog reader pointed me to this interesting website that contains pictures of antique cough syrup preparations. The interesting historical information is that pretty much all cough syrups in the 19th and early 20th century contained some combination of alcohol, cannabis (marijuana), chloroform, heroin, and/or morphine.

I suppose alcohol as a cough suppressant ingredient is not too surprising since it is still used even today. See chart below.

Heroin and morphine are both narcotics. Though both are not used in strong prescription strength cough suppressants today, a different narcotic hydrocodone still is (tussionex). Hydrocodone is the narcotic found in vicodin narcotic pain killers.

Chloroform was used in some parts of the world to suppress cough until the late 1990s, its disuse due to evidence of carcinogenesis.

compiled by Dr. Hanson

Fauquier blog
Fauquier ENT

Dr. Christopher Chang is a private practice otolaryngology, head & neck surgeon specializing in the treatment of problems related to the ear, nose, and throat. Located in Warrenton, VA about 45 minutes west of Washington DC, he also provides inhalant allergy testing/treatment, hearing tests, and dispenses hearing aids.

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