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Bottle of compound cerebral sedative, London, England,1891-1970

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A ‘cerebral sedative’ medication is contained in this glass bottle. It was manufactured by American firm Parke, Davis and Company in London. Adults were instructed to take ‘half to one fluid drachms’ diluted in water. This is equivalent to about a teaspoonful. The cerebral sedative was meant to calm the mind and relieve stress and anxiety. It acted upon the cerebellum. This part of the brain is responsible for motor skills and, to some extent, emotions. The sedative was typical of stress-relieving remedies sold ‘over the counter’ in chemists across the country during the 20th century.

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Glossary: bottle

Vessels having a neck and mouth considerably narrower than the body, used for packaging and containing liquid and dry preparations

Glossary: sedative

Drugs used for their calming effect, to reduce anxiety and tension. At high doses they cause sleep.

Glossary: psychotropic drug

A term used to describe drugs that affect mood and the mind.

Glossary: drug

Any animal, vegetable, or mineral substance used in the composition of medicines. They affect the structure or function of a living organism.