antiquebottles THEMEDICINE CHEST --- BY DR. RICHARD CANNON old bottles


Early in the 19th century there were those whoclaimed to have an intimate knowledge of Indian remedies andcalled themselves Indian physicians. Their concoctions becamepopular, and by the middle of the century hundreds of companieswere putting out "Indian" medicines for the public topurchase. I want to present products from three of thesecompanies.

Dr. Larookah's // Indian / Vegetable //Pulmonic Syrup, aqua, rectangular, 8 5/8 inches tall, and crudebut with a smooth base. This medicine was first manufactured in1855, by Severy and Howe of Melrose, Mass., but I'm not aware ofany pontiled examples. By 1856, Severy and Ingalls of Melrosewere putting it out. Both Severy and Ingalls (John C.) werelisted as patent medicine dealers through 1870. In 1869, Severyand Co. was located at Foster and Main, and advertised Vaughn'sHorse Liniment as well. In 1870, the company was not listed inthe business directory, but Ingalls was given as Rev. Ingalls. Anad gives this information: "Dr. Larookah, a celebratedIndian, has discovered in the combination of four kinds of commonRoots and Herbs, a remedy that is warranted to cure Consumptionin all cases where the lungs are not mostly consumed, andsufficient left to sustain life; and every disease, of whatevername, having its seat on the lungs or in the bronchialtubes." I've not been able to find out which Indian tribeDr. Larookah came from.

Dr. Larookah's Indian

Vegetable Pulmonic Syrup.

Pawnee Indian Too-Re and Pawnee Indian Balm. Taylors Cherokee Remedy

of Sweet Gum & Mullein.

Pawnee Indian / Too-Re, aqua, rectangular, 75/8 inches tall and Pawnee / Indian Balm, clear, rectangular, 45/8 inches tall. Charles A. Burgess bought the business of GiesueRottanzi, San Francisco, Cal., about 1890. Rottanzi's mainproduct had been his Pawnee Long Life Bitters which came in anamber rectangular bottle, 8 inches tall, and with Pawnee LongLife / Bitters / Net Contents 1 Pint 3 Oz. embossed. The SanFrancisco Directory for 1891, listed the Pawnee Indian MedicineCo. at 2476 Howard, with Charles A. and Wm. Burgess asproprietors. They added Pawnee Indian Too-Re and advertised itheavily: "Assists Nature in the Cure of Blood, Stomach,Liver and Kidney Diseases, Alcohol 20 Per Cent." The bitterswas also continued in an amber rectangular bottle 8 5/8 inchestall, embossed Pawnee Bitters / Pawnee / Indian Medicine Co. /S.F. Aqua Pawnee Bitters also exist; all are quite rare. At leasttwo other products were produced, the Pawnee Indian Balm, PainBalm on the label, and Pawnee Indian Relief, each in aquaembossed bottles according to John Odell. He doesn't list myclear variant. In 1903, one of Charles Burgess' sons, Frank P.,took over. When Frank died in 1923, his widow managed thebusiness out of her home at 423 Capp. Mrs. Ida Clark was listedas the principal of the company put out Pawnee Cough Balsam from3542 Mission St., and in 1935, from 244 Taylor St. The PawneeIndians were located in Nebraska, and later in northern Oklahoma.

Pawnee Bitters and Pawnee Long

Life Bitters from Ring, C.:

For Bitters Only.

Taylor's Cherokee Remedy Trade Card

from Bingham, A.W., The Snake-Oil Syndrome.

Taylors Cherokee Remedy / Of / Sweet Gum &Mullein, aqua, rectangular, 4 7/8 inches tall. Dr. James A.Taylor and his father, Walter A. Taylor were in business fromaround 1869 to 1884, in Atlanta, Ga., and at times in partnershipwith John S. Pemberton, 1831-1888, who put out Permberton'sIndian Queen Magic Hair Dye. However, Pemberton is most famousfor the invention of the formula for Coca-Cola. Pemberton wasengaged in at least twelve different businesses in Atlanta from1869 until his death. During the 1870s, the medicine company waslisted as Pemberton, P. Wilson, Taylor and Co. at 17 N. Pryor.Dr. Joseph Jacobs purchased the business in 1884, and it was athis drug store that Coca-Cola in the glass was first sold fromthe fountain. Taylor products are listed in drug catalogs throughthe 1890's and include Mandrake Pills, Liver and StomachCorrector, and Spanish Catarrh Cure. The Cherokee Remedy was fromchildren's coughs, croup, asthma, and whooping cough as well asconsumption, etc. Cherokee were a major North American tribewhose first known center was in the southern Alleghenies.

The May 29, 1909, edition of the Journal of theAmerican Medical Association reported that Dr. Lyman F. Kebler,chief, division of drugs of the U.S. Department of Agriculturesays: "There are on the market many medicinal preparationswhich contain as ingredients habit forming drugs." Taylor'sCherokee Remedy of Sweet Gum and Mullein was on of those whichcontained morphine. I have known parents who would have beenwilling to try morphine for their "little nightcougher".


  1. American Medical Association: Nostrums And Quackery, First Edition.
  2. Bingham, A.W.: The Snake-Oil Syndrome, 1994.
  3. Fike, R.: The Bottle Book, 1987
  4. Odell, J.: Indian Bottles And Brands, 1977.
  5. Ring, C.: For Bitters Only, 1980.
  6. Wilson, B. and B.: 19th Century Medicine In Glass, 1971.

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