Patent medicines promised cures for whatever ailed you. From deafness to cancer, 19th-century pills, lotions and syrups were offered up to a gullible public as bottled miracles.

Containing high levels of alcohol, morphine, laudanum and other potentially lethal ingredients, they contributed to the deaths of many an unsuspecting patient until the Canadian Proprietary or Patent Medicine Act of 1919 made it illegal to make false statements about a medicinal product or to manufacture or distribute any product containing cocaine, opium or alcohol.

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