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Carton of 'Purgen-The New Aperient' tablets, London, England, 1901-1940

Aperient is another word for laxative. The packaging claims that this “New Aperient is a simple chemical and the mildest aperient known, not drastic or irritating, but certain in its action, it is not absorbed and therefore, even in large doses, is perfectly harmless.” Made by H and T Kirby and Co Ltd, manufacturing chemists, the trade name ‘Purgen’ is a play on the word purge, describing the drug’s action. This packet contains doses for children and was available over the counter at pharmacists.

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Glossary: carton

Cardboard or plastic boxes used typically for storage or shipping, especially those which are relatively small and that when filled with merchandise are enclosed in a larger or stronger container for transport.

Glossary: laxative

An agent that acts to encourage evacuation of the bowels