The Tears of a Clown

Now if there's a smile upon my face…

Canada ’08: Buckley’s Mixture!

It’s that time of year once more – practically everyone appears to have some kind of cough/cold/flu/man flu complaint. Every room you enter is accompanied by the orchestrated coughing and wheezing of young and old alike. Every year we are told that there is no cure for the common cold, albeit there may be substances to relieve the depressing and uncomfortable symptoms of this annual trial. I think I have just discovered one in all it’s awful glory during my recent trip to New Brunswick, Canada – Buckley’s Mixture!

Another satisfied customer

Let me tell you a little about this stuff. It’s singularly the most ‘bogging’ medicine I have ever taken – seriously awful. After my initial two teaspoons full I sat stunned and horrified for several minutes whilst the milky white solution reached parts of my throat I never knew I had. I have never experienced anything quite like it.

The evil potion was first concocted by pharmacist, one William Knapp Buckley after taking over a Toronto drug store way back in 1919, producing it for marketing the year after. Buckley was a shrewd entrepreneur and used the relatively new advertising mediums of print and radio to promote his product Canada-wide and eventually for export.

“It tastes awful. And it works”

So went the campaign slogan for Buckley’s Mixture. “I came by my bad taste honestly – I inherited it from my father” quipped Frank Buckley who took over the family business – “I wake up with nightmares that someone gives me a taste of my own medicine” became the quotes that a national advertising campaign was based upon. Buckley’s Mixture’s popularity went from strength to strength.

A quick glance at the illustrious company’s website offers the following ingredients contained in the magic mixture:

Camphor is a mild expectorant and respiratory stimulant. It also has mild anesthetic and antiseptic properties. Camphor helps to relieve chest congestion associated with colds and influenza (flu).

Menthol decreases nasal congestion through local anesthetic action and stimulation of cold receptors. When inhaled, Menthol can relieve coughs and the sense of oppression in the chest. This ingredient is used to relieve symptoms of bronchitis, sinusitis, and nasal congestion.

Canada Balsam
This is a liquid oleoresin from Abies Balsamea (Pinaceae). This plant is found in Canada and Northern U.S. from Virginia to Minnesota. Balsams have traditionally been used as an expectorant for coughs and sore throats.

Pine Needle Oil
Pine Needle Oil has historically been used as an expectorant for the treatment of coughs and chronic bronchitis.

Tincture of Capsicum
Capsicum has been traditionally used as a counter-irritant to soothe conditions of the throat.

All very impressive I’m sure. Nothing however prepares you for the taste of this stuff. Think of swallowing neat ammonia and you’re 50% of the way to it’s true awfulness. I really am not sure about William Knapp Buckley’s invention. I took it twice whilst on vacation in Canada and am still slightly traumatised! It DID appear to offer some relief as I began to come down with some nasty condition though. I’m now home and sans Buckley’s – and I feel awful. What does that say about Buckley’s Mixture?


January 8, 2009 Posted by | Ripping Yarns | , , , , | 8 Comments