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Medicine chest containing cholera treatments, England, 1849-1915

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Cholera affects the small intestine and causes watery diarrhoea, vomiting and muscle cramps. This chest contains aromatic confection powder and chalk mixture powder to be taken together or with cinnamon water. Catechu, a vegetable extract, was recommended as a treatment for the worst attacks of cholera as it shrinks swellings, especially in the small intestine. The brown alcoholic mixture is taken with chalk mixture. The chest was sold by chemists Godfrey & Cooke, based in London.

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Glossary: medicine chest

Small chests fitted for bottles and intended to hold medical supplies; of a type made in the 18th and early 19th centuries.

Glossary: cholera

A severe infection of the small intestine commonly contracted through eating or drinking contaminated food or water. Causes severe vomiting and diarrhoea, leading to dehydration, which can be fatal.