A Remedy for Everything...  by Nadya Johnson

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More good “Old Stuff” from an antique shop I discovered in Wisconsin recently.

Gombault’s Caustic Balsam was a famous French Veterinary remedy that became quite popular in the United States through marketing by the Lawrence Williams Company of Ohio. According to its label, it was said to be a “a safe, speedy and reliable remedy for curb, splint, sweeney. poll-evil, grease heel, capped hock, strained tendons, founder, wind puffs, mange, skin diseases, old sores, dropsical affections, inflammations, throat difficulties, swellings or ulcerations, lameness from sprain, ring bone and other bony tumors, and also many other diseases or ailments of horses, cattle, sheep and dogs; it will quickly remove all bunches or blemishes, without leaving any scar or other injurious effects. It can also be reduced with sweet or raw linseed oil and used as a most valuable liniment for all kinds of simple lameness, strains, etc.”

I can’t quite figure out 1) whether people used it too or, 2) whether it’s in use today! There are a number of recipes on the internet said to replicate the stuff… to wit,

“Croton oil. . . . . . . . . . . .4 drams

Cotton seed oil. . . . . . . . 2 oz.

Oil of camphor. . . . . . . . .1 dram

Oil of turpentine. . . . . . . . 1/2 dram

Kerosene. . . . . . . . . . . . .4 dram

sulphuric acid. . . . . . . . . .20 minims

To the mixture of croton and cotton seed oils, add the sulphuric acid, stirring continually, then add the other constituents. After standing a few days, it resembles the original preparation fairly well.

There is a lot of evidence that colza oil was the original oil used in the French version of this formula. Colza oil is the same thing as Cannola oil. I would think Cannola oil could be used as well as the above listed cottonseed oil. Much easier to find!


Advertisement from 1911:

But it goes much further back than that. One recipe published in 1764 (and said to date to Ancient Times although no year is given) is as follows:

“Take of euphorbium two ounces, castoreum four ounces, adraces half a pound, bedellium three ounces, pepper one pound, fox-grease two ounces, oppoponax four ounces, lacerpitium three ounces, of ammoniacum half a pound, pigeon’s dung as much, galvanum two ounces, of nitrum five ounces, spuma nitri three ounces, labdanum one pound, of pyrethrum and bay-berries, of each three ounces, cardamums eight ounces, rueseed half a pound, agnus caslus four ounces, parsley seeds two ounces, dried roots of iris or flower-de-luce five ounces, hyssop and caripobalsamum, each one pound, oil of flower-de-luce and oil of bays, of each one pound and a half, oil of spikenard three pounds, oleum cyprinum, three pounds and a half, of the oldest olive oil you can possibly get six pounds, pitch not smelling of the smoke, one pound eight ounces, turpentine one pound. Melt all the liquid ingredients by themselves; beat the hard ingredients and mix them together over a gentle fire; and when they are dissolved and thoroughly incorporated, strain the whole composition and keep it for use.”

whew! Let’s see… pigeon dung, turpentine, “the oldest olive oil your can find,” pitch (not smelling of smoke) enough plants to start a nursery and what sound like noxious chemicals I have heard of! Oh. Can’t forget the fox grease!

No idea what Peruna was. Maybe just like Inner-Tone ~ a stimulant for the appetite. Here we are today, spending millions on appetite suppressants ~ they were buying appetite stimulants! Times do change!

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  • eoconnor
    eoconnorabout 3 years ago


  • Thank you Liz! This old stuff is fascinating. And he has tons more!! oh dear :)

    – Nadya Johnson

  • shadowlea
    shadowleaabout 3 years ago

    interesting capture

  • Thanks, Irene! It was pretty fascinating. Didn’t buy any, though! lol

    – Nadya Johnson

  • Ogre
    Ogreabout 3 years ago

    That’s it! I’m going into the pigeon dung business!!! :-o

  • Got the sweeney, do ya??? No, wait ~ maybe it’s the wind puffs!! * ! * ! * NO further comment there…

    This was a case of looking something up out of curiosity, then finding way too much! lol oh dear, and there is way more too. I will need to space it out!

    – Nadya Johnson

  • Monnie Ryan
    Monnie Ryanabout 3 years ago

    Always love to see the old stuff – recipes in particular are such a hoot! Terrific capture!

  • virginian
    virginianabout 3 years ago

    Great find and capture.

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