Ayer's Ague CureTitle
Ayer’s Ague Cure

Original Creator
J. C. Ayer Company (United States, Manufacturer)

Original Creation Date
19th century

The trade card shows a woman in a tropical forest giving medicine to an older man, both dressed in Spanish attire. The product was a vegetable tonic claimed to cure all malarial disorders as well as blood impurities and liver issues. While marketed to not contain quinine, a medication used to treat malaria, the product did in fact contain the medication. The product instead reinforced the outdated theory that malaria resulted from miasmatic poisons in the air, rather than parasitic causes that we understand today. Ayer started out as an apothecary apprentice, studying medicine and graduating with a medical degree, although he was more interested in selling medicine than practicing it. Ayer’s medical background was particularly rare among patent medicine creators. Ayer invested heavily in advertising, spending at least $140,000 each year.

Courtesy of the U.S. National Library of Medicine. This image is in the public domain.