Ricochet News

Forget dagga, try these...

By Matthew Collins - Feb 10, 2015
Forget dagga, try these...

According to recently-reported demands on social media, it appears that many South Africans wish to see the legalisation of dagga become a reality, with countless individuals testifying to the almost magical properties of marijuana in treating various ailments.

However, as will be seen, history has revealed that many substances, which were once believed to be an asset to general medicine, have eventually been shunned in the wake of second-thoughts. Let’s briefly take a look...


Mercury was once believed to cure anything from skin conditions to typhoid fever to syphilis. In China, in 200 AD, liquid mercury was even believed to bring about vitality and longevity.

It has also been used in dentistry, a practice which endures in many dental-rooms to this day (much to the dismay of a large body of critics).

It was only fairly recently (1998) that the topical antiseptic “Mercurochrome”, commonly known as “Monkey Blood”, was banned in the United States because it contained mercury. Even in South Africa, it is often seen as a “no-no, yet many stores in the country continue to sell it.

Despite this, today mercury is generally believed to be extremely toxic to the body.

                          Caption: Mercurochrome. Image courtesy of: en.wikipedia.org                         


Mrs Winslow’s Soothing Syrup

In the mid-19th Century United States, Mrs Charlotte Winslow introduced her “Soothing Syrup” which was commonly used for the treatment of teething-children in alleviating their discomfort.

It can be argued to have really worked, but perhaps a bit too well, as it contained copious amounts of morphine, a natural derivative from the Opium-Poppy plant that was isolated, for the first time, at the beginning of the 19th century. Today, it ranks as one of the highest-schedule drugs in pharmaceuticals. It is highly addictive and potentially deadly.

Image courtesy of: www.opioids.com


A now-illicit cough medicine

At the end of the 19th century, the German chemical company, namely Bayer, released a concoction titled “Heroin”. It literally contained the drug that many today, even the experienced “junkie”, would stay clear off, with children often being at the receiving end of this opiate once used for the treatment of coughs.

According to an article on History Today, the medicine was initially reported to have had “no unpleasant reactions”. However, this would change over time as patients became increasingly dependent on it, suffering severe withdrawal symptoms.

Heroin, which was derived from morphine, was created with the hope of removing the strong addictove pull of morphine. However, and quite ironically, it would turn out to be just as, if not more, addictive than its parent drug.

Despite highly effective results, it was abandoned because of its negative effects.

 mage courtesy of: www.herbmuseum.ca


Main image courtesy of: kentuckymarijuanaparty.com