Bile Beans

For seventeen or so years of my life, I lived in York, in England, and one of the local landmarks was the Bile Beans sign on the side of a building in Lord mayor’s walk, just outside of the city walls.

Bile beans were a laxative cure first marketed in the 1890s, and allegedly based on exotic herbs known only to Aboriginal Australians.

Complete rubbish. Analyses have suggested that they were based on nothing more than rhubarb, cascara, licorice and menthol, products used in most 19th century over the counter laxatives.

However, imagine my delight, when doing some documentation down at Dow’s pharmacy in Chiltern, I came across an original pack of Bile Beans

complete with the contents still in the bottle

About dgm

Former IT professional, previously a digital archiving and repository person, ex research psychologist, blogger, twitterer, and amateur classical medieval and nineteenth century historian ...
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