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Advertisement for 'Clarke's Blood Mixture', published England, 1925-1926

‘Clarke’s Blood Mixture’ was advertised as a treatment for a number of skin and blood diseases, including gout, rheumatism, scrofula, eczema and scurvy. In 1909, the British Medical Association estimated the cost of its ingredients was the equivalent of half a penny (at today’s prices) compared to the sales cost, which was 14 pence in modern terms. The maker, Lincoln Midland Counties Drug Co, claimed all skin and blood diseases “can only be cured by purifying the blood”. The advert shows a picture of the packaging so customers knew which preparation was the genuine article. The advert claimed that the preparation had stood the test of time for fifty years – the treatment was available in the United Kingdom until 1968, although the original recipe had been altered.

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Glossary: advertisement

A public notice or announcement especially one advertising goods or services in newspapers, on posters, or in broadcasts

Glossary: rheumatism

A disorder where aches and pains affect the muscles and joints.

Glossary: scrofula

A disease that leads to a swelling of the neck, and inflammations of the skin, bones and joints. It was once believed that the touch of a king could cure the disease, hence its alternative name: ‘King's Evil’.

Glossary: scurvy

Disease caused by a lack of vitamin C (ascorbic acid), which is contained in fresh fruit and vegetables. Symptoms include weakness, painful joints, and bleeding gums.

Glossary: eczema

A common skin disease where the skin becomes inflamed, it is characterized by itching and bleeding.

Glossary: gout

A disease with painful inflammation of the joints caused by deposits of uric acid salts. It results in acute arthritis and chronic destruction of the joints.