But her carbuncles…

A very old ad for Dr. D. Jayne’s Alterative found in a hardcover copy of Charles Addams’ Dear Dead Days collection.
A very old ad for Dr. D. Jayne’s Alterative found in a hardcover copy of Charles Addams’ Dear Dead Days collection.

Bone shards:

Some very interesting words are used to sell this amazing product. My apologies in advance if you are a Victorian hypochondriac. 

Alterative — a drug used empirically to alter favorably the course of an ailment

Deobstruent — having the power to clear or open the natural ducts of the fluids and secretions of the body

Scrofula — a condition in which the bacteria that causes tuberculosis causes symptoms outside the lungs

King’s Evil — (AKA scrofula) a tuberculous swelling of the lymph glands, once popularly supposed to be curable by the touch of royalty

White Swellings – a swelling seen in tuberculous arthritis, esp. of the knee

Scrofulous — refers to scrofula, or figuratively, morally contaminated and corrupt

Indolent — lazy or slothlike, or a problem that causes no pain, or is slow-growing and not immediately problematic

Mercurial — characterized by rapid and unpredictable changeableness of mood

Neuralgia — a stabbing, burning, and often severe pain due to an irritated or damaged nerve.

Tic-Douloureux — a severe, stabbing pain to one side of the face

Goitre — (you might know this as “goiter”) a swelling of the thyroid gland that causes a lump in the front of the neck

Bronchocele (swelled neck) — impacted mucoid secretions within the bronchial tree

Tetter – any of various skin diseases, such as eczema, psoriasis, or herpes, characterized by eruptions and itching, or possibly ringworm for old-timers

Biles — either something having to do with your bile/liver/gall bladder, or going back even further, either of two bodily humours, one of which (black bile) was thought to cause melancholy and the other (yellow bile) anger  

Carbuncles — a skin infection that often involves a group of hair follicles. The infected material forms a lump, which occurs deep in the skin and often contains pus.

Dyspepsia — indigestion

Dropsical Swellings — (AKA edema or dropsy) swelling caused by fluid retention

Don’t you feel smarter (and a little bit sicker) now?

The ad copy:

Dr. D. Jayne’s Alterative

This valuable preparation combines all the medicinal virtues of those articles, which long experience has proved to possess the most safe and efficient alterative and Deobstruent properties, for the cure of SCROFULA, KING’S EVIL, White Swellings, Ulcers, Scrofulous, Cancerous and Indolent TUMOURS, Mercurial and Syphilitic Affections, Rheumatism, Gout, Scurvy, Neuralgia or Tic-Douloureux, CANCER, GOITRE or Bronchocele, (Swelled Neck,) ENLARGEMENTS of the Bones, Joints, Glands or Ligaments or of the Ovaries, Liver, Spleen, Kidneys, etc. All the various Diseases of the SKIN, such as Tetter, Ringworm, Biles, Pimples, Carbuncles, etc., DYSPEPSIA and LIVER COMPLAINT, JAUNDICE and Nervous Diseases, Dropsical Swellings, Constitutional Disorders, and diseases originating from a depraved or IMPURE state of the BLOOD or other fluids of the body.

Prepared only by Dr D. Jayne, wholesale Druggist & Chemist, No 8 South Third Street, Philadelphia

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