Listerine – How Your Ancestors Used It

This product we think of today for providing fresh breath, solve plaque and gingivitis really started out in 1879 to help medical surgeons to keep their hands free of bacteria. It was developed by Joseph Lawrence, a chemist in Missouri, who named the product after Joseph Lister, who pioneered antiseptic surgery.

The company then decided to try and brand it in different ways, such as a floor cleaner, a remedy for the common cold, and even as a cure for gonorrhea. During this time there were a lot of so-called “cures” to common illnesses.

The advertising for Listerine changed in the 1910s The advertisements stated people could have smelly breath and it was an illness called Chronic Halitosis. Using Listerine with its heavy use of alcohol could solve that problem of smelly breath. Added was that Listerine could prevent or cure colds and sore throats. Those later statements had to change by the 1970s when the Federal Trade Commission stated that statement was misleading.

The product still had a high amount of alcohol, nearly 22%. By 2009 an alcohol-free version named ‘Listerine Zero’ was introduced.

Your family may have used this product for decades.

Photo: Original Bottle of Listerine.

Related Blogs:

Ancestral Medicines and Home Remedies

Strange Cures

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