Herrick's Almanac
of 1889

This is an almanac that was distributed by Dr. Herrick’s Family Medicines. On the one hand it is a typical almanac, with daily sunrise and sunset times, weather forecasts, and astronomical calculations. On the other hand, it is a packed with advertising for the various medicines that the company sold. The advertising is in the form of short articles, poems, and anecdotes, all of which are entertaining and even informative. The almanac also has some food recipes and other bits of useful or entertaining non-advertising information. 

Dr. Herrick’s line of “reliable remedies” included...

Herrick’s perforated Plasters for Rheumatism
Herrick’s Red Pepper Plasters for Stiff Neck, Croup, Diptheria
Herrick’s Belladonna Plasters for Sudden & Acute Pains
Herrick’s Kid Plasters for Weak Backs
Herrick’s German Liniment for Man and Beast
Herrick’s Vegetable Liver Pills to Regulate the Liver and Stomach
Renne’s Pain Killing Magic Oil for All Inward and Outward Ailments
Perrins Fumigator Cigarettes, The Perfect Cure for Catarrh
Harvell’s Horse Powders for Horses, Cattle and Poultry

My understanding is that the Dr. Herrick’s company published their almanac for many years. This would seem to indicate that their products worked. While many patent medicines sold in this country before the modern era of FDA regulation contained dangerous or addictive substances (e.g., cocaine or turpentine), some of the medicines were herbal preparations that legitimately helped people feel better.

One of the products touted in the almanac is Renne's Magic Oil. This was a popular cureall of the day. I tried to find out the ingredients but the closest I came was: "a certain combination of oils with the juices of garden plants." I am thinking the oils may have been essential oils, which can be powerful curatives, and many people use essential oils too maintain health in this day and age.

In reading this little almanac I was most intrigued by “Herrick’s perforated capsicum, or red pepper plasters,”  a product that is touted as a gentle, efficient “counter-irritant.”  There are times in my life when a perforated capsicum plaster might have been just the thing for me. I want to try one!

This almanac will appeal to your historical curiosity. And anyone who has an interest in the traditional healing arts should find it fascinating. 

Pages: 50
Illustrations: Numerous

Price: $1.99

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