Beecham’s Pills were a laxative first marketed about 1842 in Wigan, Lancashire. They were invented by Thomas Beecham, grandfather of the conductor Sir Thomas Beecham.

A long, long time ago when I was a lad growing up in a County Durham mining village, I was conscious of the fact that my parents – and it seemed everybody else’s mam and dad – were very concerned about something called ‘inner cleanliness’.

As well as taking their Carter’s Little Liver Pills and Andrew’s Liver Salts, they were also ardent supporters of Mr Beecham’s renowned pills. We weren’t as reverent and used to sing the parody shown below-based on the Christmas Carol, ‘Hark the Herald Angel’s Sing’.

Hark! The jelly babies sing 
Beecham’s pills are just the thing, 
They are gentle, meek and mild, 
Two for a man and one for a child. 
If you want to go to heaven
You must take a dose of seven;
If you want to go to hell,
Take the blinking box as well.

Can you remember them in the cute round box? Perhaps not. It declared that the pills cured constipation, headaches, dizziness or swimming in the head, wind, pain, spasms in the stomach, pains in the back, restlessness, insomnia, indigestion, want of appetite, maladies of indiscretion, urinary disorders, menstrual derangements etcetera. And I haven’t included everything! 

The advertising slogan, ‘Worth a Guinea a Box,’ was taken from an unsolicited testimonial and in 1912 they were sold for just over a shilling per box. The success of the product was greatly assisted by the sheer magnitude of the marketing and the fact that advertising at the time was uncontrolled.

Advertisement from 1950

The British Medical Association analysed the pills and found them to consist of aloes, ginger and soap; the ingredients cost rather less than an old penny. After over 150 years, production finally stopped in 1998. Many other proprietary medicines went the same way.

Snake Oil

The term ‘Snake Oil’ refers to worthless medicine substances and should
be familiar to you if, like me, you watched so many Gene Autry, Lone Ranger and Hopalong Cassidy films at the Saturday matinee. There always seemed to be a travelling medicine man rolling into town and putting on a show. But it couldn’t happen today, could it? Yes. Only in a different format.

Tesco is encouraging its customers to buy snake oil. Well no, not exactly – just ‘snake liquid’. I was looking at the ‘Healthy Living’ section on their website and was directed to a US company called ‘Wild Earth Animal Essences’. And guess what? They are selling not only snake liquid, but also bear, beaver, bison, butterfly and every other animal ‘liquid’.

What are these ‘Animal Essences’. Taken from the website – “The vibrational essences are natural, energetic remedies that are made during a ceremonial process in the Blue Ridge Mountains of the USA. This ceremonial process includes attuning with and invoking the spirit of the animal involved. The resulting liquid contains the vibrational imprint and energy of the animal but does not contain any animal parts.” What a loada bollox!
** No animals are captured or harmed in the development of these remedies.
They contain no animal parts. **

I was so worried about the wanton slaughter of so many animals, but was reassured to read that no animal parts were used, not even the reproductive ones that Chinese men seem to prefer. And what do the liquids do? Err … they ‘help people around the world deepen their connection with themselves’. Yup,that’s what I thought too!


The Lore and Language of Schoolchildren. Iona and Peter Opie, Oxford 1959 – The ldler Magazine, 1759 – Wild Earth Animal Essences – eBay – Etsy – A Date With History Blog – British Library Wikipedia –

6 thoughts on “INNER CLEANLINES

  1. A nice dose of humour.. always welcomed my friend…I too get a kick out of those ‘herbal essences’.. Not made from ground up animal parts.. LOL

    Thank you for the evening chuckle..


    Liked by 1 person

  2. Well, it’s a relief that these wonderful essences don’t contain animal parts, but can I assume that the liquid involved – the “vibrational imprint and energy of the animal” is obtained by ‘vibrating’ (i.e. shaking the bejeezers out of) the animal and capturing the elixir released from the animal’s inner storage areas ? Or am I just taking the piss out of the whole matter ?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I am unable to reply at the end of your comment. Normal service will be resumed . . . sometime!

    ALLYSON – Hello again. I reckon you are right. They even sell essence of bulls – thankfully that of S*** is not available.

    TINOPENER – GARY. I love the PUN.

    MICHEAL RAWLINS – Hey, Michael – this is serious. What essences do you use.

    MICHAEL RICE – Welcome. YOUR guess is as good as mine. Good question though.

    MAGICMAN – pleased you liked the parody – just one of the rhymes I’ve remembered.

    Liked by 1 person

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