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Oldie Life: What was Chlorodyne?

Features |

Many readers will remember the ubiquitous advertisements for Dr J. Collis Browne's Chlorodyne. They appeared in magazines, newspapers, guide and travel books, theatre programmes, on hoardings, railway stations and Tube trains. Who was Dr J. Collis Browne, and what was Chlorodyne? John Collis Browne, born in 1819, began his career as a doctor in London hospitals, and qualified as a member of the Royal College of Surgeons in 1842. Three years later, he became an extralicentiate of the Royal college of Physicians, and then joined the Army Medical Service as an assistant surgeon. In 1848, while serving with the Indian Army, Collis Browne formulated a compound, the principal ingredients being chloroform, morphine, cannabis and laudanum. He called it Chlorodyne. The formulation of the compound coincided with a desperate outbreak of cholera in the region, and Collis Browne's Chlorodyne achieved remarkable success in the treatment of the disease. Leaving the army...

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