Vintage Beauty Products From the Smithsonian Museum
“Like many so-called ‘patent medicines’ from the 19th and early 20th century, Dr. Thomas’s Eclectic oil claimed to treat a whole host of problems,” says Anderson, including sore muscles, chapped hands, corns, bunions, insect bites, earaches, and persistent coughs. Sounds a little too good to be true, but “we still tend to hold out hope–against our better reason–for cure-alls,” she says. If you’re skeptical, we have two words for you: Coconut oil.
ICYDK: “Before 1906, marketers were free to make any claims they wished for their medicinal products, but that changed over time,” she says. “In 1938, Congress passed the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic (FDC) Act and the government started officially checking up on false claims.”