In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, dozens of sales agents of the G. F. Harvey Company criss-crossed America peddling the company’s plethora of pills, tinctures, tablets and elixirs – a number of which contained cannabis. The company’s preparations gained a wide reputation (even attracting a poisoner to their headquarters, whose correspondence with the company would later spell his downfall) and the company grew to over 100 employees by 1907.
Warmland recently acquired the G. F. Harvey “Croup No. 4” bottle pictured below, which was used as a treatment for a horrifying childhood ailment known as “spasmodic croup”:
For parents, this is a far more frightening form of the disease. These children usually awaken suddenly in the middle of the night with significant stridor and respiratory distress. There is almost never any fever, runny nose or other evidence of cold-like symptoms. And the next day children appear otherwise healthy. The cause for this form is unclear, although it is likely to be allergic in nature. [Source]
Although modern medicine is still uncertain as to spasmodic croup’s causes, a 1915 “practical health hint” noted that “a child sleeping in a cold, well-ventilated room or on a porch never suffers with croup” and suggested that chronic cases are proof “the parents don’t give the child enough outdoor air.”
Croup No. 4
While cannabis was the main ingredient in the company’s Croup No. 4, the formula also contained paregoric (an opium concoction), ipecac syrup, licorice extract and henbane extract. Parents were instructed to “add 12 tablets to half a glass of hot water, stir and give a teaspoonful every fifteen minutes to a child six months old, until relief is afforded.”