Many soft drinks were created to be medicinal.
From the tingling bubbles to the mysterious herbs used to flavor them, it was believed they held some healing and soothing powers.
Dyspepsia, or indigestion, is one of the ailments that many soft drinks claimed to cure.
Until recently, soda fountains could be found in almost any drugstore or pharmacy in North America.
And before those pesky truth-in-advertising laws, the drinks’ ad campaigns touted healing properties above and beyond what the companies thought they really could do.
For instance, here’s an early Hires Root Beer ad: “Soothing to the nerves, vitalizing to the blood, refreshing to the brain, beneficial in every way.”
That was mild in comparison to others.
How about this 7-Up blurb: “For Home & Hospital Use.”
Or an early Moxie ad, which claimed to cure “nervousness, exhaustion, loss of manhood, imbecility, helplessness, paralysis, softening of the brain, locomotor ataxia, insanity, when caused by nervous exhaustion.
It gives a durable solid strength, makes you eat voraciously, removes fatigue from physical and mental overwork, will not interfere with the action of vegetable medicines.”