Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Effervescent Brain Salt: Brain Troubles, Headaches, Sea Sickness

Effervescent Brain Salt was a product marketed by F. Newberry & Sons in 1888. 

They claimed that the product was good for all sorts of troubles related to the brain. The bottles declared its effectiveness for the vague complaint of brain troubles, as well as headaches and sea sickness. The company also claimed it was good for nervous debility, sleeplessness, mania, indigestion, and many other problems.

Effervescent Brain Salt was nothing more than plain old sodium chloride or table salt. Oddly enough, those who were not getting enough sodium in their diet, which in those days was more likely than today, could indeed have suffered some of these maladies.  This was only one of many 'effervescent salts' marketed during the time, and while not all of them used sodium chloride, they all claimed to cure similar maladies.

These sorts of remedies were the forerunners of the now familiar antacids such as the old Bromo Seltzer and the still-popular Alka Seltzer. Before they were popular for the home medicine cabinet, they were served up at the soda fountain, which was typically located at the drug store.