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Bottle of 'Chologestin', United States, 1890-1930

This product was promoted as improving the “free-flow of non-irritating bile” and in doing so “relieve conditions that may result when the bile does not flow freely”. The brand name ‘Chologestin’ was based on its properties as a cholagogue – a bile removing agent. It was one of numerous ‘over the counter’ remedies that were available without prescription in pharmacies in the first half of the twentieth century. One tablespoonful of the brown liquid was diluted with water and taken three times a day after meals. Bile is stored in the liver and released after eating to break down fats in food and help digest them. A blockage in the bile ducts causes weight loss, fatigue and fever. The product was made by F H Strong and Co.

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Glossary: liver

Organ that plays a major role in metabolism, digestion, and elimintation of substances in the body.In the warm-blooded animals the liver is usually of a dark reddish-brown colour. In man it is situated below the diaphragm, and is divided by fissures into five lobes. A human can last only 24 hours without liver function.

Glossary: bottle

Vessels having a neck and mouth considerably narrower than the body, used for packaging and containing liquid and dry preparations

Glossary: bile

A yellow-greenish fluid produced by the liver and stored in the gall bladder. It plays an important role in the body’s absorption of fats.