A medicine chest for cholera, English, 1849-1900.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
This chest contains medicines for the treatment of cholera, an infectious gastrointestinal disease. It includes opium draughts to relieve pain and another draught containing catechu to shrink the swollen lining of the intestines. There are also instructions for mixing the draughts. Cholera epidemics swept acros Europe and America from the 1830s onwards. In Britain, Dr John Snow (1813-1858) famously traced the source of a cholera outbreak to a particular water pump, thus proving that it was a water-borne disease that could be prevented by improved sanitation. Made by Godfrey & Cooke.