M999.70.21.1-2 | Brazill's V O Brandy, F.P.Brazill & Co

Brazill's V O Brandy, F.P.Brazill & Co
1900-1925, 19th century
10 x 7.5 cm
Gift of BCE Inc
© McCord Museum
Keywords:  Bottle (16)
Select Image (Your image selection is empty)

Visitors' comments

Add a comment

Keys to History

Great quantities of cognac and brandy were consumed in 19th-century hospitals. Their tonic properties were well known to quicken the pulse and prevent cardiac arrest during surgery. For several days after the operation, patients were given brandy dosed with opium or morphine, depending on the type of procedure.

In domestic use, cognac was very popular as a stimulant and fortifier. Some advocates claimed that a daily shot of cognac prevented disease. For vomiting, steaming hot brandy compresses were applied to the stomach and back. Brandy was also said to be effective in treating depression and ulcers.

For people with cholera, some doctors prescribed a teaspoon of brandy every hour. For tuberculosis, then widespread in urban areas, the same dose was recommended before each meal. To restore the strength of convalescents, the prescription was one to two spoonfuls of brandy in a large glass of cold sugar water.

Traité élémentaire de matière médicale et guide pratique des soeurs de charité de l'Asile de la Providence (Montreal: Imprimerie de la Providence, 1890), pp. 211-212.

Source : Cures and Quackery: The Rise of Patent Medicines [Web tour], by Denis Goulet, Université de Sherbrooke (see Links)

  • What

    Brandy bottle. Brandy was enjoyed as a digestive stimulant, but it was also used for medicinal purposes.

  • Where

    A popular drink in homes, restaurants and bars, brandy was widely used in Canadian hospitals.

  • When

    Until the early 20th century, brandy was frequently prescribed by doctors and surgeons and commonly dispensed in Canadian hospitals.

  • Who

    Brandy was highly valued for reviving post-operative patients and reinvigorating convalescents. It was also recommended as a stomach stimulant for people with typhoid fever, diarrhea or cholera.