Prickly Ash Bitters Hat (Ca, 1890)

Originally touted as a means to “Purify the sewers of the body and stimulate the digestive organs”, Prickly Ash Bitters were marketed as cure-all tonics for the kidneys, liver, stomach and bowels. Despite these claims, in all likelihood Prickly Ash Bitters were more apt to be drunk for recreational purposes rather than medicinal; then again, that can probably be said of most of the Nineteenth Century proprietary medicines: most bitters products were simply an infusion of herbs in alcohol, which offered a legitimate option for boozing it up in times when drinking was socially unacceptable or illegal.


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