Punch,  44 (1863), 52.

The Panacea Proclaimed!



News-Commentary, Drollery


Quackery, Medical Treatment, Crime, Controversy, Analytical Chemistry

    Announces the 'momentous' news of the 'statement of the composition of Holloway's Ointment', a revelation made by Olof L Sillén, a Swedish physician who demanded £500 from Thomas Holloway for securing a French patent for his ointment. In taking legal action against Holloway for breaking his agreement, Sillén revealed that Holloway considered his pills to be a 'great purifier of the blood' and that on analysing Holloway's ointment, 'authorised French chemists' established that it contained 'Butter, Lard, Bordeaux, Turpentine, White Wax, Yellow Wax, and nothing else'. Noting Holloway's denial of this claim, Punch agrees with him but insists that the French chemists were right to suggest that there was nothing more 'material' in the ointment than the substances discovered. Reports that owing to its bland composition, the ointment did not provoke French fears of 'secret remedies' and was given a patent. Turning to Holloway's 'Pills', Punch adopts the suggestion published in The Family Doctor (probably Anon 1858-59) that they contain 'vegetable matter like scammony, or jalap, or soap', and thus both pills and ointment that can be made by anyone. Concludes by noting that the French chemists agreed to license Holloway's treatment as a 'Pommade' and thus a likely basis for hair treatment.

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