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'Transpulmin' ampoules made from quinine and camphor, England, 1930-1970

‘Transpulmin’ is a treatment made from quinine and camphor. Quinine is used as a pain and fever reliever and camphor is used to soothe irritation and itching on the skin and could also kill bacteria. Each of the ingredients is extracted from the bark of a particular tree. ‘Transpulmin’ was used to treat infections of the chest and lungs, especially bronchitis, and was also used to help asthma. It was given by injection into the buttocks. This box came with twelve ampoules of the drug, an instruction leaflet and a metal file to open the glass ampoules. Now advertised as a natural medicine, ‘Transpulmin’ is still available.

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    Glossary: ampoule

    A sealed glass or plastic capsule containing one dose of a drug in the form of a sterile solution for injection.

    Glossary: malaria

    Parasitic disease transmitted by certain kinds of mosquito. Malaria is characterized by fever and enlargement of the spleen. Each year, there are approximately 515 million cases of malaria, killing between one and three million people.

    Glossary: quinine

    A substance taken to fight malaria. Quinine is found naturally in the bark of the cinchona tree. It is also an ingredient in tonic water.

    Glossary: bronchitis

    Inflammation of one or more bronchi (one of the larger air passages in the lungs), usually a result of infection. It is characterized by intense coughing.

    Glossary: camphor

    An aromatic substance obtained from the wood of a southeast Asian tree (Cinnamomum camphora) or produced artificially. When applied to the skin it produces a cooling effect. Camphor can be used to relieve the pain of sprains, backache, rheumatism, and headaches.