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Victorian Pharmacy: Rediscovering Home Remedies and Recipes

3.93  ·  Rating details ·  136 ratings  ·  19 reviews
Providing hints, tips, recipes, and historical background, this book explains how many traditional remedies are still in use and how to make them at home

Here is the story of consumer medicinehow drugstore healthcare emerged in just 50 years and how consumers still rely on hundreds of formulations and products that can trace their origins back to the 19th century. Sun
Hardcover, 224 pages
Published August 12th 2010 by Pavilion
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Average rating 3.93  · 
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 ·  136 ratings  ·  19 reviews

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Jul 05, 2011 rated it really liked it
Interesting and informative accompaniment to the television series of the same name, which I enjoyed enormously. If only I could get my hands on some controlled substances I could brew up some very useful concoctions! On the other hand, it's probably best I'm not allowed to play with arsenic, which was an ingredient in a surprising array of Victorian 'treatments'. There are, however, some safe alternative recipes you can try yourself at home.
As well as the medicines you would expect, the
Feb 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: victorian
I would love to read a lot more about this topic.
Jul 20, 2013 rated it liked it
Ok this is tricky one - the book states it is to accompany a BBC tv series which I followed and really enjoyed - you never really get to appreciate what they did what they had and what they achieved. BUT the book only really makes glancing references to the shows in the forms of images taken from the set. The book really is a basic history of Victorian pharmacies and they culture and social times that shaped both the shops and people around them - its more of a companion book of further reading ...more
Icy Sedgwick
Dec 21, 2014 rated it really liked it
Fascinating book that explores the role of the druggist in Victorian society. The book accompanies a BBC series but it's an easy and informative read even if you haven't seen it. Discussions around disease, public health, medical advances and poisons are interspersed with recipes and photos from the series. The toxic recipes are marked with a skull and crossbones, although the rarity or illegality of the ingredients would make them difficult to concoct, while some of the other remedies sound ...more
Sep 12, 2017 rated it liked it
A lot of interesting content, but lots of weird 2-page spreads of photographs of modern day people in victorian garb posing as if for a stock photo??? The design is generally nice, just, wh...y. Would also have liked some more info on the recipes which are given as useable (read: nonpoisonous) -- are they effective at all, if so why, etc. This is more of a historical book than a scientific one.
Anke Bialas
Jun 25, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: herb-library
Loved the series, now I love the book. The history behind treatments and changes of medical beliefs over time, allow for a fascinating insight into our medical past.
Jul 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
I have an interest in medical biology and the Victorian era, so this was a perfect combination for me. Fascinating the read about the history of medicine at this time and the social history surrounding it. Well explained, concise information
Jul 18, 2012 rated it really liked it
An interesting look at the history of Pharmacies and how they came into their own in the Victorian era. One of the major players is Boots and this books talks about the development of the chain from humble beginnings.

It's not a deep book and most of the recipes in it are clearly marked with a skull and crossbones, today they would be considered to be way too dangerous to even try. I must admit there were a few where I played a game of spot the dangerous chemical (who knew having a background in
Aug 31, 2015 rated it it was ok
Although this topic is fascinating, I think the book was confusingly organized (the story of the Boots department chain founder is interrupted with information and then the story of Boots starts back up) and frustratingly incomplete in parts.

For example, one illustration shows cupping as a treatment, but I didn't read anything about this treatment in the text. In another illustration, the gentleman in the photo is clearly wearing a wristwatch.

Often the recipes in the text and the sidebar didn't
Wayne Farmer
Aug 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Excellent book detailing the history of the Pharmacy. Being a genealogist its interesting to read about the weird and wonderful so-called cures that were sold and probably bought by my ancestors, a lot of which seem likely to have caused more harm than good - I'm surprised any one survived to bring me into the world. Also interesting to read about those cures that actually worked and how certain famous brands came into being. Well worth a read by any one with an interest in the Victorian way of ...more
P.D.R. Lindsay
Mar 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: research
For writers this is a wonderful reference book to give the correct details about what your Victorian characters would use.

For experimenters there are recipes to try - with care and due warnings!

For general readers there are a lot of interesting nuggets about people and their needs which might well raise a giggle or two as readers imagine their great great grandparents using some of these preparations.

The book is well written, nice and clear, an easy and pleasant read.
Laura Lam
Feb 27, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2011, nonfiction

The BBC has a series about Victorian Pharmacies, which I have not watched. Evidently they have one on farming as well. This book gives a general overview of pharmacies in the Victorian era, from drastically unregulated dispensing of drugs and poison, the rise of the pharmacy enterprises, like Boots, and how it transformed and became more regulated and based on science rather than folkloric nostrums.
John Frankham
Dec 15, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction
A pleasant enough book to go with a television series. But over-produced for the content - thick paper, lots of photographs from the series, but the information is 'popular' rather than thorough. So, 2*.
Lana Glover
Feb 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Such an interesting read. I loved reading about the medicine practices during this time. I also loved that the book contained recipes for remedies for everyday ailments.
Mar 29, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: victorian, social
An interesting look at Victorian medicine.
I wouldn't have wanted to be sick in those times...
Ellis Spicer
Aug 24, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Such an interesting read but not too heavy, loved it!
Dec 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This was suprisingly my favourite of the series. So many recipes and things to try out! I think I will try to make my own perfume first!
Snail in Danger (Sid) Nicolaides
Jun 27, 2011 marked it as decided-not-to-read
Shelves: history, medicine
I was hoping for something more informative and less coffee table book. (Didn't realize it was based on a BBC TV programme or something.)
May 18, 2011 rated it it was amazing
See my review on my book blog:
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