Saturday, January 20, 2007

Hadacol and Musterole Memories

When I was growing up there were painted ads for Hadacol all over the place. You'd see them painted on the sides of buildings, on retaining walls, just about any odd blank space that someone was willing to let them paint. I remember their signs as being just about as easy to spot as the "See Rock City" ones. It was constantly being advertised on the radio, too.

Hadacol was a highly touted medicine that was good for just about anything that ailed you. I don't have any idea how much the dose of this yucky tasting brown liquid was supposed to be, as I never took any, as far as I know.

What I do know is that it was pulled off the market when I was about 8 years old. The government made them stop selling it, because of deceptive advertising, and because it was something like 50 proof ALCOHOL!! I guess you would be feeling no pain after taking that!!

What got me to thinking about Hadacol, as an extinct "medicine", was something my 101 year old Daddy said to the Hospice nurse the other day. She was talking to him about what she thought the Orthopedist might do to stop his arm from hurting. And he asked her if he should be using Musterole on it. She had no idea what he was talking about, but I did. I remember the pungent odor of the Musterole ointment. It came in a jar, and many was the time that Mama would slather it all over my chest to try to break the congestion of a bad cold, or worse. I'm not sure if I remember correctly that the skin got hot with it or not, but I think it did. It was greasy and smelly, but it did help relieve aches and pains, and it did break up congestion.

I have no idea why Musterole stopped being sold ... maybe it still is?? I guess people just didn't like the idea of stinking, eh??

Speaking of stinking ... how about the old Assafedity Bag?? I know I'm not spelling it right, and unless you're from the rural South, I doubt you've ever heard of this home remedy. I haven't a clue what went into this little cloth bag, but I can tell you from personal experience that it stunk to high heaven. When I first started teaching elementary school in the little rural town we live in, there were still children coming to school with an Assafedity Bag tied around their necks, so they wouldn't get sick!! Phew .. and I had to lean over their desks to help them with their work. You just don't forget an odor like that.

Hadacol, Musterole, and Assafedity Bags have all gone away, replaced by high powered prescriptions and over the counter medicines promoted with more and more annoying TV ads. Maybe we're not so far removed from the old time Snake Oil Salesman as we think we are??


Marion said...

I think what may have been in those bags was the Asafoetida plant. I think that's the way you spell it, but will have to check.

It's now used in gardens, but the smell is quite horrific! And I can't remember what it is that it targets, but I know it is used in healing.

We used mustard plaster, too, and many herbal teas that have now come back into use, when I was young!

Dirty Butter said...

I hope you can find what the Asafidity bag was for, exactly. I thought I had moved back into the Dark Ages when I first started teaching there!!

I drink herbal teas now, myself, like Chamomile to help me relax and Ginger to soothe my stomach.

Dirty Butter said...

It was pronounced like Assafidity around here, by the way.

jan said...

They hadda call it something so they called it Hadicol, we thought was so funny. And Geritol. Is that still around?

I just heard on the radio that the bad cholesterol that they keep trying to sell us medicine to reduce may keep us from getting Alzheimers. Ironic?

Dirty Butter said...

Yep, hada call it something!! I Googled Geritol, and it's still available, Jan.

Cecile said...

I just posted about the old disease names on my blog

Funny how things change over time and go in and out of style!

Dirty Butter said...

I recognize some of the names of diseases on your post, not from books, but from people actually calling them that! Guess I'm showing my age, eh?

Thanks for stopping by, Cecile. I have you in my link list now, so I'll be looking to see what else you're going write to tug my memories with on your Whatever Happened To? blog.

Anonymous said...

I grew up in Barbados, West Indies. There we used Musterole for many ailments. I stumbled on your website today (1/29/09) because I was trying to find where I can buy this precious ointment.

Dirty Butter said...

If you find a place that still sells Musterole how about stopping back by with the link. I'd be curious to see what they say it is for.