Saturday, December 3, 2011

Celery and Celerina

1889 Celerina advertisement
People have been taking medicines for anxiety for a long time; back in the Victorian era, people called it nerves and took nerve tonics to calm themselves. One of the many remedies available back then was Celerina, which (it won't surprise you) was primarily made from celery. Celery was a popular nerve-calmer and tonic ingredient back then; the most famous of these is probably Dr. Brown's Cel-Ray Soda, first made in the 1860s in Brooklyn, New York.

Celerina had other things besides celery in it, though. It also contained coca (yes, as in cocaine), kola (the caffeine-rich nut of the kola tree, still an ingredient in classic Coca Cola), and herbs, specifically viburnum and some unnamed "aromatics."

According to one medical writer*, Celerina contained celery extract, coca, kola extract, alcohol, sugar and "spirit orange," which was a dye also used to color fabrics and wood. Celery was a folk remedy for pain and has sometimes been considered to be an aphrodisiac. It also contains tons of calcium and fiber and is a favorite snack for dieters and the health-conscious in general.

Celerina was made in the late 19th century by the Rio Chemical Company in New York City. Though many tonics were geared towards delicate women, Celerina was made to appeal to stressed-out professional men such as "Lawyers, Preachers, Writers and Business Men." 

Today antidepressants such as Paxil serve a similar purpose although if you have experienced side effects you can engage in a paxil lawsuit with the aid of a paxil lawyer. Ideally your lawyer will be full of bracing energy and health, just as if he had had a draught of Celerina - or just eaten some celery, which - because it is full of fiber and nutrients - is even better.

*Charles Wilmot Oleson in Secret Nostrums and Systems of Medicine (1890), p. 38.


Marcheline said...

It's advertised as an "antispasmodic"... which means if a lawyer drinks it, he disappears, right? HA!

Kath Lockett said...

Being such a monotonous vegetable, maybe it was a 'tonic' because it just concentrated that quality and made the consumer sluggish through utter boredom after eating?