Skip Navigation Links
FacebookFlickrTwitterYou Tube
Saul Krasner Memorial Science Lecture Series
Dr. Ned Heindel, Lehigh University

"Tonics, Tintures, and Patent Medicines Before the Food and Drug Act" 

Abstract: Folk medicines and botanical preparations have proven a fruitful source of modern, medically accepted therapeutics, but they have also proven to be an abundant source for quackery. From Dr. Bateman's Pectoral Drops, recommended for "rheumatism, afflictions of the stone, gravel agues, the hysterics", to Munyon's Miracle Kidney Cure, which was claimed to "cure Bright's disease, all urinary problems, and pain in the back and groins from kidney diseases", the 19th century witnessed nearly unbelievable excesses in pharmaceutical advertising. The chemical compositions were similarly excessive – arsenic, lead, antimony, copper, heroin, chloroform, azo-compounds, strychnine, “knock-out” drops, and similar substances were routinely part of cures for kids and for adults. Beginning in colonial America and extending to the passage of the Pure Food and Drug Act, a plethora of quack pharmaceutical manufacturers produced and aggressively marketed home remedies of dubious origin and questionable chemical purity. Whether the ingredients were highly toxic chemicals or harmless ones (simple milk sugar), no regulations governed their manufacture or sale. Dr. Heindel will trace the birth of America's patent medicine industry in the late 18th century, its heyday of unregulated commercial success in the 19th century, and the passage of the Pure Food and Drugs Act of the 20th century.  

Biography: Ned D. Heindel is the H. S. Bunn Chair Professor of Chemistry at Lehigh University and a consultant on drug development for Azevan Pharmaceuticals. Ned has graduated 40 doctoral students most of whom have entered academia or the health care industry. He has engaged in contract R&D for Astra-Zeneca, Air Products, BMS, Merck, J&J, and Dupont as well as for eight venture capital start-up firms. He served on the boards of the American Chemical Society (ACS), the Council for Chemical Research, the Chemical Heritage Foundation, and Centcom Corporation. He is a past president of the ACS. At Lehigh, Ned teaches general chem, organic, med chem, and organic mechanisms along with three web-mounted graduate courses in a Distance Education program. Ned is a graduate of Lebanon Valley College (B.S.-1959), the University of Delaware (Ph.D.-1963), and Princeton University (postdoc-1964). He taught at the University of Delaware, Marshall University, and Ohio University before joining the faculty of Lehigh University.