Mrs. Winslow's Soothing Syrup

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Moulded on this 5-inch tall glass bottle are the inscriptions MRS. WINSLOWS / SOOTHING SYRUP / CURTIS & PERKINS / PROPRIETORS

Mrs. Winslow's Soothing Syrup was a medicinal product formula compounded by Mrs. Charlotte N. Winslow and first marketed by her son-in-law Jeremiah Curtis and Benjamin A. Perkins in Bangor, Maine, USA in 1849. The formula consisted of morphine sulphate (65 mg per fluid ounce), sodium carbonate, spirits foeniculi, and aqua ammonia. It was claimed that it was "likely to sooth any human or animal", and it effectively quieted restless infants and small children especially for "teething".[1] It was widely marketed in the UK and the USA - as well as newspapers, the company used various media to promote their product, including recipe books, calendars, and trade cards.[2]

In 1911, the American Medical Association put out a publication called "Nostrums And Quackery" where, in a section called “Baby Killers”, it incriminated Mrs. Winslow’s Soothing Syrup. It was not withdrawn from sale in the UK until 1930.

In 1879 the English composer Edward Elgar wrote an early musical work, part of his Harmony Music for a wind quintet, which he titled Mrs. Winslow's soothing syrup.

In Woody Guthrie's 1940 Dustbowl Ballad, "Tom Joad", Grandpa Joad is given "soothing syrup" before he dies. [1]


  1. ^ "Mrs. Winslows Soothing Syrup". Lowcountry Digital Library. Retrieved 1 September 2014. 
  2. ^ J Hist Dent. 2000 Nov;48(3):99-105

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