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Strong & Soothing Ginger Tonic

Strong & Soothing Ginger Tonic to help alleviate a cold, flu, or stomachache (by SeasonWithSpice.com)

If you are a mechanic or farmer, worn out with overwork, or a mother run down by family or household duties try PARKER'S GINGER TONIC.

If you are a lawyer, minister or business man exhausted by mental strain or anxious cares, do not take intoxicating stimulants, but use Parker's Ginger Tonic.

If you have Consumption, Dyspepsia, Rheumatism, Kidney or Urinary Complaints, or if you are troubled with any disorder of the lungs, stomach, bowels, blood or nerves, you can be cured by PARKER'S GINGER TONIC. It is the Greatest Blood Purifier and the

BEST AND SUREST COUGH CURE EVER USED.

If you are wasting away from age, dissipation or any disease or weakness and require a stimulant take GINGER TONIC at once; it will invigorate and build you up from the first dose but will never intoxicate. It has saved hundreds of lives; it may save yours

(Advertisement from January 18, 1882, in the Medical section of The Reading Daily Eagle newspaper in Reading, Pennsylvania)

parker's ginger tonic advertisement for the great health and strength restorer

rescued from a bed of suffering advertisement for parker's ginger tonic
Advertisement images courtesy of Corbis, PrissyCollectibles, StockBridgeStuff, NYPostcards 

Long gone are the days when any dark liquid in a glass bottle was a cure-all; when cowboys played doctors and onlookers played shills.  The 1906 Food and Drugs Act put an end to all that fun.  But even when exaggerations were exaggerated, there was always a spit of truth in every bottle of snake oil.

Reading the bold, miraculous claims in an advertisement for Parker’s Ginger Tonic – a popular cure-all in the late 1800s from Hiscox & Co of New York – would turn anyone into a skeptic.  The magical ingredients were never listed on the bottle, probably known only to the chemist, David Hiscox, who invented the tonic in 1876.  But the one known active ingredient may have been all that mattered – Ginger.

As the ad states, Parker’s Ginger Tonic can cure a cough, reduce anxiety, alleviate rheumatism, treat a stomachache, and invigorate the mind and body.  All health benefits from consuming the magical spice of ginger.

Strong & Soothing Ginger Tonic to help alleviate a cold, flu, stomachache, or to reduce stress (by SeasonWithSpice.com)

Parker’s Ginger Tonic didn’t last long into the 20th century, vanishing with many of the traditional medicines that relied heavily on the therapeutic properties of spices and herbs.  An unfortunate shift since it also led to the overall decline in our use of spices and herbs in our daily lives.  The natural medicines that not only treated a variety of symptoms, but were also good for our overall health.

After a hundred year absence of Parker’s Ginger Tonic, it’s time to bring it back. Not in its secretive form, but in it simplest.  Ginger tonic works because of gingerol - the active and medicinal compound in the spice.  So whether you are drinking a homemade ginger tea or a homemade ginger ale, you are drinking a ginger tonic.

Homemade spicy ginger ale recipe for an upset stomach (by SeasonWithSpice.com)

For a more potent ginger tonic, make the ginger syrup base for ginger ale.  Use a higher proportion of palm sugar to raw or white sugar.  Add lime juice in.  And for an extra strength version, add in some rum.

If you feel the initial symptoms of a cold or flu during these last months of winter – or if you are a mechanic or farmer, worn out with overwork, or a mother run down by family or household duties - just take a shot of this very sweet & spicy, strong & soothing tonic to stay healthy and happy.

Ginger Tonic - a traditional, natural remedy for a cold or a stomachache (by SeasonWithSpice.com)

Strong & Soothing Ginger Tonic recipe by Season with Spice
Makes 10 shots

Ingredients:
1 cup of fresh ginger – peeled and chopped finely
1.5 cups of water
2 tbsp of raw or white sugar
3 tbsp of dark brown palm sugar (for a richer color and flavor)
1 tbsp of freshly squeezed lime juice
Rum (optional)

Process:
1. Add water and chopped ginger into a small pot, and cover. Bring to a boil, then turn fire off, and let steep for 30 minutes.
2. Stir in sugar, bring mixture to a boil, then turn fire off.  Pour in rum, if adding.
3. Allow ginger tonic to cool.  Drink a shot straight for best results. Transfer remaining tonic to an airtight jar and refrigerate.

Notes:
- If the ginger tonic is too strong for you, first strain out the chopped ginger. Then go ahead and mix with hot water for a tea, or soda water and ice to make a ginger ale (or spicy cocktail if you already added rum). Whatever the form, you are still enjoying the health benefits of a ginger tonic.
- This ginger tonic can keep in the refrigerator for at least a few weeks.

old advertisement in 1800s for parker's ginger tonic