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Antebellum medicinal prescriptions relied heavily on the use of whiskey and herbs. Some treatments such as bleeding with leeches and gashing and cupping seemed less desirable than the malady. Miracle Cures and elixirs and odd practices used by the clergy seem ludicrous and far-fetched by today's standards.
On June 30, 1906, a federal law, the Food and Drug Act of 1906 or the Wiley Act, was enacted for preventing the misbranding of food, drugs, medicines, and liquors. Booker and Booker discuss the heyday of patent medicines before the advent of the Wiley Act, including their uses, ingredients, and advertising.