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Mrs Ellen Hale’s celebrated Heal-all ointment was marketed as a ‘cure-all’ treatment. Although it claimed to be particularly effective for rheumatism and bronchitis. It was bought in a small ceramic pot with the advertising on the lid. Such pots that bore the name of the manufacturer or supplier first appeared in numbers during the early 1800s, becoming especially common from the 1840s. Before this, cosmetics such as ointments, toothpaste and toothpowder were usually sold in stoneware pots covered with paper secured by string. The Heal-all ointment was one of many ‘over the counter’ remedies available without prescription in pharmacies. This was the case until well into the 20th century.

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Related Themes and Topics



Glossary: pharmacy

The preparation and medicinal dispensing of drugs.

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: rheumatism

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

Glossary: pot lid

Cover which is usually hinged or otherwise attached to a container.