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Early Alternative Medicine: Topics in Chronicling America

During the late 19th and early 20th century, alternative medicines made their way to public awareness. This guide provides access to material related to "Early Alternative Medicine" in the Chronicling America digital collection of historic newspapers.


Advertisement for Carter's Spanish Mixture, an alternative medicine and purifier of blood. January 3, 1856. Eaton Democrat (Eaton, OH), Image 4. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers.

Alternative medicine, also known as “complementary medicine,” “homeopathic medicine,” and “osteopathic medicine” refers to medical practices not administered in conventional healing systems of the west. Alternative medicine includes practices such as homeopathy, osteopathy, herbal medicine, traditional medicine, naturopathy, chiropractic, Ayurvedic medicine, Chinese medicine and mineral based medicines. Read more about it!

The information in this guide focuses on primary source materials found in the digitized historic newspapers from the digital collection Chronicling America.

The timeline below highlights important dates related to this topic and a section of this guide provides some suggested search strategies for further research in the collection.


May 5, 1887 President of Texas’ Homeopathic Medical Association announces Homeopathy a “New Era medicine.”
October 6, 1895 Missouri Valley Association addresses importance of Homeopathic School of Medicine at Annual Medical Convention.
June 2, 1902 Story reports on 1825 founding of Reformed American Medicine movement led by Dr. Wooster Beach.
May 13, 1906 First listing of active ingredients on Alternative medicine bottles bolsters medical industry’s credibility.
March 3, 1913 Olive Tablets offer safe alternative to Calomel for easing bowel movements with minimal liver damage.
October 10, 1916 7.5 million bottles of Tanlac sold as Americans accept alternative methods for easing indigestion, rheumatism kidney, and liver pains.
October 4, 1918 Studies conclude that chiropractic therapy treats up to 95% of common illnesses.