In a recent issue2 we commented on the report of the Royal Commission on Nostrums for the Australian Commonwealth. The Lancet,3 in commenting on the same report, takes occasion to point out the existence of a tradition of quack medicines comparable to the tradition that runs through the history of orthodox medicine. For instance, the great majority of cancer pastes contain phosphorus, zinc chlorid and arsenic for "killing the cancer and drawing it out by its roots," and the Lancet introduces several quotations from two letters by a correspondent signing himself "M. R. C. S." that appeared some eighty years ago in a satirical paper of the time, the Town, on "Cancer-curing Humbugs," in which the various cancer cures are shown up and their contents given. Among those thus exposed are Justamond's ointment, the celebrated French nostrum, the Pâte Arsénicale, Wright's Pearl Ointment, Davidson's ointment and Plunkett's ointment.
SCIENCE, QUACKERY AND FOLKLORE.. JAMA. 1907;XLIX(25):2090. doi:10.1001/jama.1907.02530250042008