Quack remedies of yore - Corrects Perverted Secretions

Vintage Ads


  1. Better than Gold for functional impotence? Huh… and here I’ve been eating Silver all this time…

  2. I like how it is better than gold for functional impotence AND “corrects” perverted secretions. Sounds like a recipe for blue balls.

  3. “Catarrh Of The Bile Ducts” would be a great album name from a band called Melachol.

    Track titles:

    A Cure For Headaches
    Better Than Gold
    Uterine Congestion
    A Thorough Trial
    85 Grains
    Formation of Gallstones
    Perverted Secretions
    You Cannot Afford (To Be Without It)
    Superior Nerve Tonic
    Every Fluid Drachm

    1. What kind of hellish* variant on black metal are we talking about here?

      *That would be “hellish” in the non-Satanic meaning of the word, of course.

  4. Actually, 100 years ago doctors did use sodium phosphate/citrate as a laxative. This one would live up to at least one of its claims. Of course back then people were using laxatives for just about everything…

  5. Many of these quack medicines had one or more of the following cocaine, opium, or alcohol. Nothing like getting high to take your mind off of your illness.

  6. The great thing is they are still around in the form of Acai berry ads, “one little secret discovered by a mom in <insert your town here>” and teeth whitening ads on the internet.

    I do miss the dancing silhouette people, especially Washington and Lincoln.

  7. OMG! I so hope you can still get this! I’ve been looking for a cure for my perverted secretions for years!

  8. I suspect “perverted secretions” means more along the lines of unusual discharge or puss, rather than anything pertaining to sexual perversion.

  9. thank you , Hentosz , so very much for the link to the
    cheezeburegerz , er fontz , now , my perverted secretions can
    look soooo much better !!!

  10. The things which stand out the most to me are the claims that it “Corrects irregularities of menstruation”, and “Relieves uterine congestion”. This ad does not document medical quackery. Instead it documents lack of women’s rights, and the damaging effect of allowing religious leaders to have control over both the legislative process and the practice of medicine.

    At the time this ad was produced, abortion was illegal in most states, and the federal government banned the sale or distribution of materials which could be used for contraception.

    Shortly after the 1875 Comstock laws went into effect, the indications that I mentioned became euphemisms for drugs which caused miscarriage, What is the most common cause for irregularity (i.e lapse) of menstruation in an otherwise healthy woman? Pregnancy. What is that pesky congestion in the uterus? A fetus.

    In that light, I do not consider this to be a good example of Quackery in medicine. If quackery is evident it is more appropriate to single out the quackery in legislation and social mores. I would be willing to bet that this mixture was capable of eventually causing a pregnant woman to miscarry. Products like that had to have a list of legal uses beyond that of abortion in order to get by the Comstock laws, Seriously, mannitol (used as baby laxative) and other cheaper, safer, and more comfortable chemicals would be used to treat constipation. The doctors, the patient, and the drug company knew this.

    This ad was not an attempt to dupe the customer. It was not a quack remedy sold as a cure-all. It was an attempt to list a sufficient number of legal uses (no matter how specious) to ensure that the federal government would not shut them down for being what it really was, a crude form of chemicalyl induced abortion.

    1. @Anon – “I would be willing to bet that this mixture was capable of eventually causing a pregnant woman to miscarry.”

      Interesting… if you’re right, then possibly “Corrects Perverted Secretions” also has a relevant meaning, ie correcting the embryo result of a seminal secretion in a conjoined human biology environment.

    2. Are sodium phosphate, citric acid or sodium nitrate abortifacients? I see no evidence for this.

      It could always be both: a hoax making hay by hinting that it can be used to dodge the law. In fact this makes for the best hoax, by deterring damage claims. Kind of like those license plate films that “block cameras”.

  11. How could anyone fall for this kind quackery? It really makes you wonder about how ignorant people were back then. Now if you’ll excuse me I need to take some echinacea for the sniffles.

  12. Sheesh, I read that (twice) as; “Perverted Secretaries” Now why do we need to correct them, I ask myself?

  13. Psht, say what you will, but I just drank a bottle of it. Now I’m hard as a rock, dry as a cigarette and my bowels are as vacant as a streetwalker’s eyes. Thanks, Melachol!

  14. I can’t read “perverted secretions” without hearing Peter Lorre’s voice.* “Watch out for the… hehh hehh… perverted secretions. Hehhh.”

    *Or perhaps it’s Mel Blanc doing Peter Lorre.

  15. I assumed “perverted secretions” were the same as “nocturnal emissions”, i.e. wet dreams.

  16. Based on my extensive research (i.e. five minutes with the Google) I’m pretty sure that “perverted secretions” refers to abnormal glandular secretions caused by inflammation or disease. I came across references to “perverted secretions” from the tonsils, from the eye, from the gallbladder, from cancerous tumors, from a horse’s infected hoof, and even “perverted secretions” of digestive juices (i.e. too much stomach acid) in ulcer patients. At least one reference noted that perverted secretions will sometimes have a different color from regular glandular secretions. Though this was less clear from my research, it appears that “perverted secretions” may also refer to cases where a gland secretes excessive amounts of fluid due to inflammation. So, apparently, at least in this case, “perverted” simply means abnormal or diseased.

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