As usual with this time of year there have been a few sniffs and snuffles, coughs and tickles, blocked noses and sore throats in our house. We stopped off at the chemist’s and I asked what was good for throats and she recommended Dequadin or Tyrozets. I chose Dequadin because it was what I’d had as a child – I’m sure that when I had them they were in a tube – either a plastic tube with a plastic lid at the end, or in a paper/cardboard wrapper; however, the lady said they had always been in a blister pack ‘and I’ve worked in a pharmacy for thirty-four years!’ I didn’t like to say that my memory goes back a little further – maybe she thinks thirty-four years ago I was a child! what a nice lady.
I had never come across Tyrozets until I was an adult, and I don’ think I’ve ever had one. Dequadin lozenges are round, pale orange, and do have an orangey flavour. I can’t get a clear history of them except in a book about the history of Glaxo; apparently a company called Allen and Hanbury’s was conducting medical and pharmaceutical research in the 1950’s and their scientists were looking for muscle relaxants. In 1956 they discovered an antibacterial and anti-fungal drug called Dequalinium Chloride which was what became Dequadin! Dequadin lozenges so useful for treating mouth and throat infections! So Dequadin are nearly sixty years old! Tyrozets, meanwhile seem to have been made from the 1940’s (correct me if I’m wrong!) originally by Sharpe and Dohme; they too are antibiotic and anaesthetic throat lozenges containing chemicals called Tyrothricin and Benzocaine.
So I now have a supply of throat lozenges, but as we were coming home we began to think about other medicines we had as children which are still about now…
- Strepsils – Strepsils also used to relieve mouth and throat infections. Apparently the product was originally a mouthwash first manufactured in 1950. I remember them individually wrapped in either waxed paper or a sort of foiled paper in an impossible to open tin. There was only the ‘red’ favour – now there are all sorts of different ones! As well as Dichlorobenzyl alcohol and Amylmetacresol, they also contain also menthol and vitamin C.
- Friar’s Balsam – this has quite a complicated history, which I may explore another time… there was also a famous racehorse called Friar’s Balsam born in 1885 and achieving great success from the age of two; he died at the age of fourteen… this has nothing to do with sore throats!
- Vick – this menthol vapour rub has a history dating back to the 1891 and the name comes from Dr. Joshua Vick of Greensboro, North Carolina. His brother-in-law had taken over his pharmacy business and in 1891 began to make a Croup and Pneumonia Salve. It became VapoRub in 1912, and when the dreadful flu epidemic struck after World War I its sales soared.
- Sloan’s Liniment – I had never heard of this until I met my husband… so it doesn’t really count as things I remember… However it was first made by Dr Andrew Sloan, but it was his sons Earl aged 23 and Foreman, who first began promoting what was then horse liniment in 1871. Like many other products (such as Dog Oil) it was soon discovered that the liniment worked just as well on humans… I can’t give any personal opinion as I have never used it!!
Here is something I wrote about Dog Oil – https://wp.me/p2hGAs-2yw
I must say, my throat is a little easier now… maybe I need a cup of tea to improve it further!