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Did you know that several snacks we enjoy today were initially created as medicinal remedies? That’s right, many of the treats we savor purely for their taste were once believed to have healing properties. From fizzy drinks to confections, they were considered solutions to a variety of health concerns. Here’s an intriguing compilation of snacks that were once regarded as beneficial for our well-being.
Mustard plasters were a traditional medical treatment used to treat a variety of ailments. Made from mustard seed powder mixed with flour and water, these plasters were applied to the chest or back to stimulate blood flow and relieve congestion, muscle aches, and cold symptoms. They were believed to draw out toxins and were a common home remedy for respiratory illnesses.
Sarsaparilla, a soft drink originally made from the sarsaparilla plant, was once prescribed as a medicinal tonic. It was believed to have detoxifying properties and was used to treat skin diseases, rheumatism, and even syphilis. The drink was popular in the United States in the 19th century and was often marketed as a health beverage with healing powers.
Pepsi was originally called “Brad’s Drink” and was created by pharmacist Caleb Bradham in the late 19th century. He marketed it as a drink that could aid digestion and boost energy, thanks to its main ingredient at the time: pepsin, an enzyme that helps break down food in the stomach.
Vinegar, especially apple cider vinegar, has been touted for its supposed health benefits for centuries. Historically, it was used to treat everything from stomachaches to sore throats. Even today, many people believe in its health benefits, though scientific evidence is mixed.
In the past, during the medieval and early modern times in the Aztec Empire, chocolate was used for medical purposes. The Aztecs used chocolate to help with stomach problems and indigestion. They combined it with tree bark to treat infections and mixed it with maize to alleviate fever.
Coca-Cola is one of the most famous examples of a food product that was originally marketed as a medicine. Invented in the late 19th century by John Stith Pemberton, Coca-Cola was initially sold as a cure for a variety of ailments, including morphine addiction, indigestion, nerve disorders, headaches, and impotence. Pemberton, a pharmacist, claimed that his formula had medicinal properties and could offer these health benefits to consumers.
Graham Crackers were invented by Sylvester Graham in the early 19th century. They were originally marketed as a health food as part of the Graham Diet, a regimen designed to suppress what Graham considered unhealthy “carnal urges”. The crackers were made from graham flour, a type of whole wheat flour, and were believed to be a healthy and nutritious food that could also aid digestion and improve physical health.
Corn Flakes were invented by John Harvey Kellogg as part of his health regimen to prevent what he believed were harmful sexual desires. Kellogg, a physician and health activist, believed that bland foods like Corn Flakes would decrease or prevent sexual desire. He marketed Corn Flakes as a healthy food that could help consumers maintain their physical and moral health.
Fig Newtons, a type of cookie filled with fig paste, were marketed as a health food when they were first introduced. The figs in Fig Newtons were believed to have health benefits, including aiding digestion. The cookies were marketed as a tasty and healthy snack that could contribute to overall health and well-being.
Moxie, a type of carbonated beverage, was originally marketed as a patent medicine called “Moxie Nerve Food”. The manufacturers claimed that it could cure ailments ranging from paralysis to softening of the brain. Moxie was one of many “nerve tonics” sold in the late 19th and early 20th centuries that claimed to improve health and vitality.
The Heath Bar, a candy bar made of toffee covered in chocolate, was promoted by its creators as a confection with “beneficial” ingredients. It was marketed with the slogan “Heath for better health!” and delivered on Heath Dairy trucks along with milk and cottage cheese.
7-Up, a popular lemon-lime flavored soft drink, originally contained lithium citrate, a mood-stabilizing drug. Until 1950, it was marketed as a cure for hangovers and a way to lift the mood. It even used to be called 7 Up Lithiated Lemon Soda.
In the 1830s, ketchup was sold as a cure for indigestion by an Ohio physician named John Cook. It was also claimed to cure ailments like diarrhea, indigestion, and jaundice. Before the tomato version became popular, ketchup was made from mushrooms and was marketed as a medicine.
Honey has been used as a medicinal product for centuries. It was used in hundreds of remedies in ancient times, and it’s still recognized today for its antimicrobial properties and is used in some wound care practices. Honey was, and still is, considered a natural remedy for a variety of ailments.
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Michelle Harler is the founder of Guide2Free, a website dedicated to finding and sharing freebies, product testing opportunities, and other ways to save money. With over a decade of experience in the industry, her expertise in finding quality offers makes Guide2Free an invaluable resource for anyone looking to try new products and save money.