Wake up and smell the coffee


Starting in the 1890s advertisements appeared in WA newspapers extolling the benefits of a wonder drug called Eucrasy.

Unlike most medicines, though, the main benefit was not for the person who was taking it. Mainly because they didn’t know they were taking it.

It is, of course, very unfortunate if your husband is an alcoholic. Living with a drunkard is not anyone’s idea of fun.

One solution is to send hubbie off to an institute where they will inject him with bichloride of gold four times a day. This is the expensive option, and not within reach for most.

So we enter the crazy world of Eucrasy. A world where women were expected to administer drugs to their partner without his knowledge or consent.

By mail order, a month’s supply of the medication would arrive at your doorstep and it would then be secretly added to the drunkard’s tea, coffee, or slipped into his soup.

Colourless and tasteless, it had no side effects other than curing the man of his drinking problem.

The ingredients in Eucrasy were a secret, but it appears to have been some kind of vegetable extract and contained no minerals, and certainly none of the fashionable morphine, opium, or cocaine.

Instantly, the wife would have noticed her husband’s appetite return, and a loss of desire for alcohol in a mere one to two days

Complete cures could be effected in a week or two.

And we can’t just chalk this one up to Victorian-era weirdness. The medicine was still being marketed in the mid-1950s as something you should secretly slip into hubbie’s coffee.

So men, when you next see your partner slipping drugs into your morning cuppa, don’t assume she’s doing anything bad. It’s just an attempt to keep you away from the pub this evening.


    1. It wouldn’t surprise me to find a local museum with some. It’s amazing what collections of unopened medicines such places have.


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