Artefact of the week series: "Élixir du Guillet" Cures Every Diseases
Updated: Jul 15, 2022
The Anse à Bertrand site contains lots of interesting artifacts, one such artifact is this seal from an old French medicine bottle. The seal contains an uppercase G and around it in small writing the glass reads elixir du and then three letters Gui, through some research we found that the bottle was elixir du Guillet (also spelled Guillié) a catch all remedy, that started being manufactured in 1812, the elixir was marketed as cure for everything, including stomach problems, congestion of the liver, intestinal worms, flu, skin problems and even asthma. Elixirs and “cures” such as these were popular well into the 20th century and have taken on a new form in homeopathic medicine. Recipes often included various fish oils, and drugs like heroin and cocaine. This changed as time went on, but such elixirs didn’t really work as a cure for any of the conditions they listed. The Elixir du Guillet is still available online, though we imagine some changes have been made to the recipe!
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Victoria Ryan Whiffen