Digger Odell Publications 2005

In addition to opium derivatives many medicines contained cocaine or coca leaves as a primary ingredient. Shown below is a label from Coca Mariani a potent concoction of wine and cocaine.

Angleo Mariani was a unknown chemist from Corsica who began making a wine highly laced with the little known juice of the coca plant in 1889. Not surprisingly it became a smashing (excuse the pun) success all over Europe and was found at many a party in some of the highest circles. Mr. Mariani became quite wealthy and attained great fame as its discoverer. In 1891 he began distributing it in the United States where it became immensely popular within a short period. It was said that many persons, including children became addicted to it, often with serious consequences. It drew the attention of the authorities after the passage of the 1906 Food and Drug Act. The American Medical Association examined both the substance and the literature distributed by the manufacturers. In response to criticism about the product containing cocaine they began to deceive the public about the true contents claiming Vin Mariani was not a cocaine preparation. After the passage of the Food and Drug Act made it a crime to lie about the contents the label indicated that each ounce represents on tenth of one grain of cocaine. The examination by the AMA indicated that the product was a combination of red wine, presumable imported from Bordeaux and fortified in this country by an alcoholic preparation of coca leaves or others parts of the coca plant. The AMA investigation showed how the company changed no only their label, but the contents of the mixture itself. A sample purchased prior to 1905 showed about 8 % of the cocaine extract and 10% alcohol whereas a sample purchased at a later date had only a 2.2 % of the extract and a 16% alcohol content.

Coca Mariani was not the only product to mix wine with cocaine. Lambert's Wine of Coca with Peptonate Iron and Extract of Cod-Liver Oil was another similar product. The Connecticut State Legislature made it illegal to sell any such product without a doctor's prescription.


Coca Bola was targeted by the American Medical Association as a dangerous product.



Have hay fever? Catarrh? More than a few nasal products contained cocaine. The Anglo-American Medicine Co. put up a product found to contain .88 percent cocaine. Dr. Birney's Catarrh Pulver had 1.1 percent while Dr. Cole's Catarrh Cure had around 3.2 percent cocaine. Not to be outdone, E. H. Ryno of Wayland, Michigan, put up a preparation for Hay Fever and Catarrh containing 99.95% cocaine hydrochlorid. He was later fined $100.00 for misbranding his product by not disclosing the true amount of the drug.

Fredrick Stearns & Co. of Detroit sold a product useful as an aphrodisiac called Nyal Compound Extract of Damiana. In addition to being 50% alcohol (as if that wasn't enough) it contained 15 grains of cocaine. A fine was imposed for mislabeling. Likewise, the R. W. Davis Drug Company, of Chicago was cited for interstate shipping of a drug product called Cocainized Pepsin Cinchona Bitters. The product was supposed to purify the blood and remedy affections of the urinary organs. They pleaded guilty and were fined.

Syrups for soft drinks such as Koca Nola, a flavoring for soda water, was advertised as "Delicious Dopeless Koca Nola". It was found to contain cocaine in amounts deleterious to the health and was at one point seized by the government and the company fined $25 for several counts. Others like Kos-Kola, Kola-Ade, Coke Extract, Celery Cola, Rococola, Wiseola, and Dr. Don's Kola all were found to be flavoring soft-drinks with cocaine. No wonder my mom told me soft drinks weren't good for me.

Poisons and Drugstore Bottles Volume 10 Don't Miss Digger's Poison Bottle Price Guide.