Weird History The 13 Craziest Things Ever Used As Medicine (In America)  

Robert Wabash
2.7k votes 668 voters 241.7k views 13 items

List Rules Vote up the things you can't believe were once used as medicine in America.

A doctor is supposed to be filled with endless amounts of knowledge. We trust them with our health, even with our lives, to be on the cutting edge of the latest treatments and cures for us, but do they really know best? This list is compiled of things doctors used to prescribe to patients as "go-to cures." Things such as heroin, soda, and sex toys. Next time you go to the doctor, ask them if you can have a beer and line of cocaine for your migraine... it worked in the 1920s.

What the craziest things ever used as medication? These odd items will be sure to pique your interest and should be pretty surprising.
1 437 VOTES

Soothing Syrup

Soothing Syrup is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The 13 Craziest Things Ever Used As Medicine (In America)
Photo: Boston Public Library/flickr/CC-BY 2.0

This product is the single most amazing product that I found in my research. It was said to be an "indispensable aid to mothers and child-care workers." This little concoction was considered a medicinal product invented by Mrs. Charlotte N. Winslow and first marketed by her son-in-law, Jeremiah Curtis and Benjamin A. Perkins in Bangor, Maine, in 1849.

They marketed this product in recipe books, women's magazines, anywhere they could get mothers to see it. It claimed to cure everything. Toothache, stomach ache, colic, you name it, and this "soothing syrup" fixed it.

Want to know what was in this amazing syrup? Well, one grain (65 mg) of morphine per fluid ounce, cannabis, heroin, powdered opium, which are the active ingredients to put your little one to sleep. It also had sodium carbonate, spirits foeniculi, and aqua ammonia in it, because....why not?

The product was removed from the market in 1938, that's 89 years of service.

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2 313 VOTES


Trepanation is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The 13 Craziest Things Ever Used As Medicine (In America)
Photo: Luciana Christante/flickr/CC-BY-NC-ND 2.0

Much like a lobotomy, trepanation was a treatment for seizures and migraines. Doctors thought that if you had mental issues, physical or emotional, you probably needed a couple of holes in your head.

The doctor would lay you down and take a contraption with three drills, place it on your head (side, front, back, it didn't really matter) and drill. This practice went on for a very long time, even though people had no relief from their aliments.

That looks like it would take away anyone's headache, I can't imagine why this didn't work.

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3 316 VOTES


Vibrators is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The 13 Craziest Things Ever Used As Medicine (In America)
Photo: James Cridland/flickr/CC-BY 2.0

Girls have mood swings, it happens (at least once a month). This used to be called "female hysteria," and someone came up with the perfect cure...

It started as a "medical procedure" where women would go to the doctor complaining of mood swings, cramps, or emotions of any kind, and the doctor would digitally stimulate her to alleviate these symptoms. But apparently, this got to be a problem for the doctors – women would come in and complain of anything, headache, anxiety, etc. Basically, these women were PMSing everyday in order to receive this treatment. Doctors became so overrun with patients claiming to have "female hysteria" that the majority of their time was spent with their hands up ladies petticoats.

So, one bright chap got an idea... what if these women could stimulate themselves at home with a "medical tool," and thus, the invention of the vibrator.

This way you could treat yourself at home without endless visits to the doctor. You can cure all your ailments with this simple little tool. Now you can cut your horseback riding in half! Doctors used to tell women to go ride a horse, until they came up with the first sybian machine.

See, masturbation can be fun and medicinal!
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4 194 VOTES

Electric Shock

Electric Shock is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The 13 Craziest Things Ever Used As Medicine (In America)
Photo:  422737/Pixabay/CC0 1.0

Electric Shock Therapy was a very common treatment for mental disorders back before we knew anything about the human body. It used to be a horrible event in which several nurses held the patient down while a doctor administered the shocks. It was painful and often had horrible effects.

Now the process is used only in extreme cases and is much more humane, with the patient being sedated. However, that's not the electric shock we're talking about.

Long ago, doctors thought that impotence was your penis being lazy. Things were just "weak" and needed to be "woken up." This belt was fashioned so that you could wear it around your waist and then shock your junk back to life. Never have so many people been so grateful for advances in medicine, am I right?

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