Health Services: Self-Treatment

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Willimantic Chronicle newspaper advertisement for remedy

As today, many people sought their own, or non-professional, advice when taken ill. The modern term "homeopathic" was used in advertisements for cure-alls and is often contrasted with professional medical advice. Yet the phrase was also frequently used by the American medical profession as well. The American Institute of Homeopathy represented physicians throughout the U.S. since the mid-19th century, while Connecticut had its own Connecticut Homeopathic Medical Society, of which several Willimantic physicians were members.

Pharmacies and Druggists

As the map of Willimantic's health services suggests, the city had six drug stores located all along Main Street.


For less-serious bouts of illness, reaching for a bottle of the latest medical potion must have been quite common, if the frequency of advertising for the products was any indication. The Willimantic Chronicle was full of advertisements for such magical cures, as the illustrations here indicate. Advertisements were visually catching, but they were also sprinkled in as text among the other news stories, making it impossible for the newspaper reader to avoid being exposed to dozens of ads in a single issue of the newspaper.

Homeopathic advertisements in the Willimantic Chronicle boasted of their "effectiveness" or "cures" to several ailments or issues. Some illnesses that are claimed to be cured by several medicinal treatments are deafness, headaches, backaches, pneumonia, cough, grip, malaria, digestive issues, tuberculosis, among many others. The effectiveness of some remedies and tonics was even said to revitalize organ function. Cures and remedies for illnesses were not the only thing druggists were offering in the newspapers, they were also promoting remedies for other things such as better hair, more strength, whiter skin, and no freckles!

To persuade readers to buy their products, homeopathic marketers resorted to the use of spamming, exaggeration, and lies in their advertising. A common practice was to claim a product was effective at curing an illness guaranteed or money would be given to the customer in compensation. For instance, an ad about deafness in the Willimantic Chronicle in 1910 claims deafness cannot be cured, yet goes on to claim it (if caused by catarrh, a mucus accumulation in the airways and sinuses) can only be cured by a constitutional remedy that the druggist himself sells. At the end of the ad, the druggist offers $100 ($3,177.22 in 2023) to anyone who's deafness caused by catarrh their remedy does not cure. Other common ways to advertise a homeopathic product then were to claim a remedy to be effective for many ailments at once, and use the "horror" and "success" stories of clients who used said product to attract new customers. A more humurous approach is taken in an advertisement of the Leonard Prescription Pharmacy in the local newspaper as they state they could be making as much money from their perfect corn remedy as to be able to maintain an automobile and a yacht, but instead they lead a simple life and are contented with only charging the customer only 20 cents for it.

Below are some examples of homeopathic remedies for several ailments in the Willimantic Chronicle newspaper during 1910 (January and September):

Health Services