Monday, August 14, 2006

History: Peruna

A little history for you today.

The name of SMU's mascot is Peruna, which a funny name to be sure. According to SMU history, "SMU’s official mascot was named after an early 20th-century patent medicine, Peruna Tonic, which was popular for its “kick.”"

But if you ever wanted to know what Peruna really was, ...



A distinguished public health official and medical writer once made this jocular suggestion to me:

"Let us buy in large quantities the cheapest Italian vermouth, poor gin and bitters. We will mix them in the proportion of three of vermouth to two of gin, with a dash of bitters, dilute and bottle them by the short quart, label them Smith's Reviver and Blood Purifier; dose, one wineglassful before each meal advertise them to cure erysipelas, bunions, dyspepsia, beat rash, fever and ague, and consumption; and to prevent loss of hair, smallpox, old age, sunstroke and near-sightedness, and make our everlasting fortunes selling them to the temperance trade."

“That at sounds to me very much like a cocktail," said I.

"So it is," he replied. "But it's just as much a medicine as Peruna, and not as bad a drink."

Peruna, or, as its owner, Dr. S. B. Hartman, of Columbus, Ohio (once a physician in good standing), prefers to write it, Pe-ru-na, is at present the most prominent proprietary nostrum in the country. It has taken the place once held by Greene's Nervura and by Paine's Celery Compound, and. for the same reason which made them popular. The name of that reason is alcohol.* Peruna, is a stimulant pure and simple, and it is the more dangerous in that it sails under the false colors of a benign purpose.

According to an authoritative statement given out in private circulation a few years ago by its proprietors, Peruna is a compound of seven drugs with cologne spirits. The formula, they assure me, has not been materially changed. None of the seven drugs is of any great potency. Their total is less than one-half of 1 per cent. of the product. Medicinally they are too inconsiderable, in this proportion, to produce any effect. There remains to Peruna only water and cologne spirits, roughly in the proportion of three to one. Cologne spirits is the commercial term of alcohol.

What Peruna Is Made Of.

Any one wishing to make Peruna for home consumption may do so by mixing half a pint of cologne spirits, 190 proof, with a pint and a half of ,water, adding thereto a little cubebs for flavor and a little burned sugar for color. Manufactured in bulk, so a former Peruna agent estimates, its-cost, including bottle and wrapper, is between fifteen and eighteen cents a bottle. Its price is $1.00. Because of this handsome margin of profit, and by way of making hay in the stolen sunshine of Peruna advertising, many imitations have sprung up to harass the proprietors of the alcohol-and-water product.”

The article goes on and on, but basically, Peruna will get you sloshed at a very reasonable price.

1 comment:

smu96 said...

I think I'll stick with beer as my Blvd. beverage.