Listerine was once marketed as a cure for gonorrhea. Is anyone today using it as a cure for gonorrhea? With maybe one or two bizarre exceptions, the answer is probably no. But in the 19th century, the odds would have been much higher.
When it was originally marketed over 100 years ago, Listerine was sold as a treatment for gonorrhea, as a floor cleaner and as a powerful antiseptic, according to the best-selling book “Freakonomics“. Those uses may be a bit surprising, considering the product is today used for dental hygiene.
Listerine is not alone. Other products were once used for purposes other than those we use them for today.
Coca-Cola was originally said to provide a cure for morphine addiction, impotence and headaches.
LSD was sold as a tool for psychoanalysis and personal growth.
The list of products that were originally marketed for something other than what they became ‘famous’ for in quite extensive. Today, it occasionally happens with new pharmaceuticals.
Viagra [Sildenafil] was originally a treatment for hypertension, angina, and other heart disease symptoms. Clinical trials revealed that it wasn’t very good at what it was suppose to be doing, but a side effect was that subjects got erections. In 1998, Viagra took the market by storm and now rakes in about $1.9 billion per year treating erectile dysfunction.