I was recently blessed by the arrival of a bottle that once held Piso’s Cure, and found it had an interesting history. Its creator, Ezra T. Hazeltine, arrived in the Pennsylvania town of Warren, on the Allegheny River, in 1860. He began selling homemade medications and in 1864, with the help of a local doctor, created “Piso’s Cure for Consumption” (tuberculosis). In 1869, Hazeltine founded the Piso Company to market his mixture nationally.
Piso’s Cure contained, at various times, opium, morphine, hashish, marijuana, chloroform and alcohol, and became one of America’s best-selling patent medicines. Over time, however, the Piso Company voluntarily removed some of the ingredients that fueled the remedy’s initial popularity, and when the Pure Food and Drug Act became law in 1906, the company softened its claim to “A Medicine for Coughs and Colds.”
The Piso’s Cure bottle itself can be found in many shades of green, as well as yellow/gold, brown and aqua, and there are also some fun advertising materials out there, including an ad by Norman Rockwell.