Our grandparents were force-fed laxatives to cure a cold

By Steve Cichon

Whenever you start to feel like it might have been better to live in a different era, realize that your parents and grandparents got a laxative when they got a cough.

Check out this 1923 ad.

1932 ad, Buffalo Courier-Express

Move little bowels with this harmless laxative.

Whatever else you give your child to relieve a bad cold, sore throat or congestion, be sure to first open the little one’s bowels with “California Fig Syrup” to get rid of the poisons and waste which are causing the cold and congestion. In a few hours, you can see for yourself how thoroughly it works the constipation poison, sour bile and waste right out.


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Steve Cichon

Steve Cichon is a proud Buffalonian helping the world experience the city he loves. writing about the people, places, and ideas that make Buffalo unique and special. The storyteller and historian has written six books, worn bow ties since the 80s, and is the News Director at WECK Radio. A 25 year Buffalo media veteran, Steve's contributed more than 1400 Buffalo History stories to The Buffalo News, worked at WIVB-TV, Empire Sports Network, and spent ten years as a newsman and News Director at WBEN Radio. He's also put his communication skills to work as an adjunct professor, a producer of PBS documentaries, and even run for Erie County Clerk. Steve's Buffalo roots run deep: all eight of his great-grandparents called Buffalo home, with his first ancestors arriving here in 1827.