Cod Liver Oil

You might want to sit down for this… Cod Liver oil is a dietary supplement derived from the liver of cod fish. We use it at the compounding pharmacy for making medical suspensions for animals. This got me wondering about the history of this oil. It contains the omega-3 fatty acids, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) which play an important role in the human diet and in human physiology. Cod liver oil also has vitamins A and D and was historically given to children to prevent Rickets (weak or soft bones in children). A tablespoon contains 4,080 μg of retinol (vitamin A) and 34 μg (1360 IU) of vitamin D.

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We use medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) to make eye drops at our compounding pharmacy and I decided to do a little research. It seems that they can be derived by fractionation from Coconut Oil to be used for medical applications, special diets and cosmetics, sometimes also being used as a carrier oil for fragrances.

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A tranquilizer is a drug for treatment of anxiety, agitation, fear, tension and disturbances of the mind. The term was first used by F.F. Yonkman (1953) in his studies of the drug reserpine which when given to animals showed a calming effect. The term tranquilizer is used to reference antipsychotic or neuroleptic medications. It is also a synonym for sedative.

Coal Tar Creosote

Ever time we use the Coal Tar Topical solution at our compounding pharmacy it takes me back to when I was a kid. The smell is the same as telephone poles or walking alongside the railroad tracks. I thought I would do a little research on this product. This Coal Tar Solution is used to treat eczema, psoriasis, seborrheic dermatitis, and other skin disorders. What I was smelling at the railroad tracks was Coal Tar Creosote.

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Toilet Paper

Toilet Paper was recorded being used in China in the 6th century AD and mass production in the 14th century. I will be concerned here with the toilet paper, in rolls, that we are used to today. The first known patent was in 1883 for a roll dispenser with a cutting edge since the rolls were not perforated yet. In 1891, inventor of perforated rolls, Seth Wheeler obtained a patent. His drawings clear up the proper way to hang a roll of Toilet Paper.

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I remember how great Solarcaine was when I was young. It was the difference in being in serious sunburn pain or being able to sleep. Back then it contained Benzocaine which is good for pain and itching caused by sunburn, other minor burns, insect bites or stings, poison ivy, poison oak, poison sumac, minor cuts or scratches. It was available without a prescription and made by Plough Inc, founded in Memphis (1908), by Abe Plough.

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Mercurochrome and Merthiolate

When there was a scrape or cut in my childhood home, and there were many, out came the rubbing alcohol or hydrogen peroxide or Mercurochrome or the Merthiolate! Merbromin was a chemical compound that contained carbon, hydrogen, bromine, mercury, sodium, and oxygen atoms.


It was marketed as Mercurochrome, the over the counter version of diluted Merbromin with water and tincture alcohol. It was the post war antiseptic of choice that would leave a nice red stain on the skin. In 1998 the FDA classified Merbromin as “not generally recognized as safe” due to the lack of studies and updated information on its mercury content.

Thiomersal is a derivative compound developed by Eli Lily and Company. This compound contained carbon, hydrogen, mercury, sodium, sulfur, and oxygen atoms. In 1929, they trademarked it as Merthiolate as an antibacterial treatment and a vaccine preservative.

It gained popularity after World War II also, was mercury based, left the same red stain, but stung like fire! Mother always told me that the burning meant it was working. I would try to hide some of my injuries to not get them treated! In the 1970’s mercury poisoning came into the light and the FDA began to study Merthiolate in 1978. Over the next decade Eli Lilly would stop producing it as an antiseptic. Later versions of both Mercurochrome and Merthiolate would have Benzalkonium chloride, an ammonium compound, as their active ingredient.


I’ll never forget that the antiseptic for my wound hurt more that the injury itself!