'Branalcane' tonic, London, England, 1895-1930
The lurid magenta coloured liquid looks as though it would do more harm than good. It is actually an antiseptic tonic used for infections of the skin and mucous membrane. These could range from a sore throat or thrush to potentially fatal diseases such as diphtheria, for which treatment was limited until the mass immunisation programmes of the 1940s. After the results of tests were published in the medical press in 1897 the treatment was considered a useful household addition against mild ailments, especially as it was also non-irritating to the body. ‘Branalcane’ was the trade name created by its makers, the same company which today manufactures the disinfectant known as Jeyes’ fluid.
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