From a photograph by Solomon D. Butcher of four daughters of rancher Joseph M. Chrisman, at their sod house in Custer County, Nebraska. From left to right, Harriet, Elizabeth, Lucie, and Ruth. Photographed in 1886.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Parke-Davis Throat Lozenges Remembered

Tired of the tickle in my throat!

Today, I napped on the sofa for hours with Casper, my "therapeutic kitty". I've been battling a cold, so I needed the rest. I feel much better this evening, but I have a persistent tickle in my throat. If I could talk to my tickle, I'd emphatically say, "Leave now, and never come back!", as Smeagol said when he exorcised Gollum.

Fisherman's Friend helps my cough as much as anything I've found, and it doesn't interfere with my blood pressure medicine (an unsolicited endorsement). The flavor certainly lives up to the product's "Extra Strong" slogan. I would never mistake the F.F. lozenges for candy!

Fisherman's Friend reminds me a little of Parke-Davis Medicated Throat Discs, also marketed as Parke-Davis Throat Lozenges. Does anyone else remember them? They were quite effective for sore throats and coughs.

Parke-Davis Throat Discs came in a small, flat box that slid open. The dime-size lozenges were neatly arranged in stacks of three. There were 90 lozenges in a box, as I recall. A new box was wrapped in plastic, and inside, it had a little sheet of paper over the lozenges to keep them exactly in place. As soon as the first lozenge was removed, the remaining lozenges could slide around, and the perfect order inside the box was lost.

Like the Parke-Davis Throat Discs, Fisherman's Friend contains capsicum (pepper extract) and licorice. The flavor is somewhat similar, but Fisherman's Friend doesn't have the zing of chloroform that the P. D. throat discs had. Yes, chloroform! Because of the chloroform, the P.D. box carried a caution about the number of throat discs that could be consumed within a given period of time.

Chloroform in over-the-counter medicines was outlawed in the mid-1970s, and that was apparently the end of the Parke-Davis Throat Lozenges.  I haven't seen them in many years, and I didn't find very much information about them on the internet. Only older people would remember them now. I guess that classifies me!

Interesting related link: Weed, Booze, Cocaine and Other Old School "Medicine" Ads


Beth said...

I loved those Parke-Davis ones when I was a kid--but don't want to cop to being an "older people". I've missed them over the last 20+years and have looked for them--good to know Fisherman's Friend can fill the void. Hope you feel better!

Michael Leddy said...

I never knew that Fisherman's Friend has capsicum -- I thought it was menthol only. I'll have to try them again.

Genevieve said...

Beth, I'm feeling almost normal again. I just would like to get rid of the cough. Thanks for your good wishes.

Michael, menthol is the active ingredient, but the lozenges also contain "Capsicum, dextrin, eucalyptus oil, natural licorice, sugar, and tragacanth" (from the box).

Since I didn't know the purpose of all these ingredients, I looked them up. Dextrin and tragacanth are binders. Tragacanth is a gum derived from the sap of a certain family of thorny Mideastern shrubs that belong to the legume family. Tragacanth is used in paints and glues, as well as for pills and such. It also has a folk medicine history of use for coughs and sore throats. Licorice and eucalyptus oil are also traditional balms for sore throats.

The Epinions for Fisherman's Friend are interesting. The strong flavor is frequently mentioned.

Larry said...

My son and his family live in Paderborn, Germany. One Christmas they sent a grab-bag package of sweets and other small items uncommon in the US. A box of Fisherman's Friend lozenges, a product I'd never heard of, was included. They are strong! I didn't realize that capsicum was among the ingredients. Along with licorice and menthol? A potent combination indeed.

Anonymous said...

I took them as a young woman since my mother used them constantly. Strange, unique flavor, and helped immensely. I did not know they were no longer making them until I read this artice; I always look for them. Guess I can stop looking now, so thank you.

Anonymous said...

Hi, I use the Throat Discs that you talked about. I don't seem to notice that the formula has changed. They are not by Parke Davis anymore. I can get them locally, but they are much cheaper online. They are simply called Throat Discs Throat Lozenges. They have 70 in the box and it says original formula. They have capsicum and they taste the same.

Just thought I would let you know if you are still interested in them.

I love the Fisherman's Friend ones also, but they are very hard to find where I live. I have seen Fishermans brand, but not the licorice ones for a very long time.

Have a really nice week. Ann

Anonymous said...

I remember these lozenges and their distinctive taste. For some reason I was thinking about them a few weeks ago and struggled with remembering the type of box they came in. I was proud of myself when I finally did. Good to know I can still get them.

Anonymous said...

I went to my local Bi-Mart store
here in La Pine, Oregon looking for the Park Davis Medicated throat lozenges that I used to buy whenever I had a cold or sore throat. I couldn't find them in the cold medicine section so they sent a lady to help me. She had never heard of them and of course they were unavailable. But they did have Fisherman's Friend. I had used these in the past and knew that they closely resembled the small flat discs I was looking for. Yes, I guess age does come into play here. I am 78 years of age and the Park Davis Medicated throat lozengers go back a long way in time.
Big Jim

Radford said...

I don't know if you remember these, but back in the '50s there was a brand of cough lozenges named "Frog in Your Throat." These were pale green and tasted a little bit minty and a little bit licorice-y.
Used to live in Hoptown long ago and enjoy your blog very much.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for letting me know the contents of the Park Davis disc. I tried them once as a teen and my tongue got so large, that I thought I was going to die. I not sure which ingredient caused the allergic reaction.

Anonymous said...

Was online looking for the Park Davis discs I used long ago to relieve my frequent episodes with dry throat coughing. The problem went away for many years but has returned and I immediately thought of the wonderful discs that helped so much. I'm sooooooo sorry to her they are no longer available. Will check out the ones Ann recommended.

Genevieve Netz said...

I remember the Parke-Davis lozenges being about the thickness of a penny. The ones that Ann mentioned seem to be quite a bit thicker. So, I am not sure whether or not they are the same.

arsailman said...

Too bad the replacement throat lozenges available at Amazon cost so much. They look similar to the Parke Davis package, but for the prices, they can keep them. The Fisherman's Friend I found recently at Walgreens, a local/regional drug store. Almost as good, but not quite...

cyndi fleming said...

I remember throat discs containing belladonna, listed as an ingredient. Anyone else ?

Unknown said...

They've been gone for 40 years. I remember getting po'd when they went up to 35 cents.

MBOYD said...

They were discontinued because they contained chloroform. Seriously. Right on the back of the box. Boy did they work though!

Anonymous said...

I used Park-Davis throat disks too many years ago. I sang then. One ingredient then was belladonna. It too was removed from the formula.
Where I live Fisherman's Friend are available but I don't like them.

Anonymous said...

good info re Park Davis 'addictive' lozenges at
I LOVED Them. My Uncle, now 91, only let me have one at a time. I've investigated a cocaine link but there is none. Wish I could have 1 right now!

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