Dr. R. Schiffmann's Asthmador

The indications or uses for this product as provided on its packaging: To relieve the distress of bronchial asthmatic paroxysms
Currently not on view
Object Name
otc preparation
Date made
ca 1940
R. Schiffman Company
Physical Description
stramonium (drug active ingredients)
belladonna (drug active ingredients)
overall: 8.8 cm x 5.6 cm x 3.2 cm; 3 7/16 in x 2 3/16 in x 1 1/4 in
overall: 3 1/2 in x 2 1/4 in x 1 3/8 in; 8.89 cm x 5.715 cm x 3.4925 cm
Place Made
United States: California, Los Angeles
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Respiratory & Asthma Drugs
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Medicine
Health & Medicine
Balm of America
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center


"My father who just died at age 97, wrote the following about Schiffmann's Asthmador:Something like the “Schifmann's Asthmador” my dad used to take because of his asthma attacks. My dad suffered from asthma which in all probability came from the use of burning wood in the locations he resided and even in our home where we used a wood stove for heating the kitchen and Mayme used it for cooking meals. He used Schiffman's Asthmador to help with his asthma problem. He used to inhale the smoke of the Asthmador which he placed on a metal coffee cover in 2 rows of the asthmador lighting one end of the asthmador until it was all burned. Then he lit the other row of the stuff. It wasn't until he died and I learned from reading info re Asthmador, that it contained a drug which was not marketed legally, but used by sniffers who wished to get a high. It was taken off the market some years after he died because it had a bit of an opium ingredient. We always had to be sure that he had a full can of the powder. The can was colored pale green. It contained about the same amount as a small can of tomato soup, however it was an oblong can with a tin cover. He would ignite the powder with a match on a metal round flat tray and inhale the smoke it gave off. He'd wheeze a lot, but it made him feel good. "
"As a youngster with asthma, the only natural product that relieved my symptoms was Asthmador. Mom would bring it in a pie tin, light it and when I inhaled same, it worked immediately. Years later, the "junk " that was prescribed (steroids/pills, etc.) resulted in the loss of almost five inches in my spine which, today, has brought their own problems. If this product were on the shelf today, it would be a blessing - for all except the major pharmaceutical companies."
"I used this stuff regularly as a child in Kansas City between the ages of 10 and 16, and it worked very well to open my bronchial passages during asthma attacks.I burned a small amount of the powder in an old cloissone dish.It didn't smell great, but I only used it in the bathroom, usually late at night.I would buy it again in an instant if it were for sale.Just seeing that tin brings back a strong sense of nostalgia for a medicine that worked. In my later teens, I also smoked an occasional Asthmador cigarette for the same reason."
I am 69 years old and had asthma as a very young child and can remember very distinctly inhaling the Asthmador vapor. I called it "my volcano".
"I remember my grandmother using this product in the late 1950's and early 1960's. She put about 1/2 a tablespoon of the gray powder in a small bowl. She lit it with a kitchen (large wood) match, it would burn in a sputtering, smoldering manner giving off a gray smoke, which she inhaled for the relief of Asthma. She used the match stick to move unburned powder to the fire. Her son, my uncle was a pharmacist, so I'm confident she was using it at his suggestion. It seemed to be effective for her."
I am 75 and have loving memories of Asthmador. It made life good after working in a grain bin. I got my first asthma attack while working as the blower operator on our threshing machine when I was 12 years,old. By the time I was 20 years old they had taken it off the market. That year I got a severe attack. The Doc used his "let's try this" method for 3 days before I got relief. It was so severe that in just trying to breath I lost 15 lbs in those three days. You can imagine how bad I wanted some Asthmador cause I knew it would work. Adrenaline in water, adrenaline in oil, amanophine straight lined 3 times, then little white pills.......just because some nonuser had Asthmador pulled off the market.
"My mother suffered with frequent asthma attacks, and there always was a can of this Asthmador in the medicine chest. I can recall that the powder substance would be placed in a bowl and lit. It sparked and smoked, as my mother would inhale the smoke. Often she would put a blanket or towel over her head to contain the smoke. She would get relief from this at the time of a severe attack. Only now have I found out that it had belladonna in it! It seemed to work to relax her bronchial tubes somehow to allow oxygenation. I will never forget her wheezing cough and sharp pain of asthma. This little green can of a greenish (same color as the can) was a life saver in an era before the inhalers used today."
Im 56 and have always had severe asthma. My grandpa used to sit me down with this powder. Amazing stuff. Wish I could get my hands on it. Todays inhalers are killing me in every way.
As a child growing up I remember every night my father inhaleing the smoke from Asthmador . We kids liked the smell and usually sat beside him as he "smoked " .Not sure who hated it more when they stopped selling it..Dad or us..
"I am a male 71 years of age. As a young boy in my teens and early 20's I used this powder to get relief from my asthma. I can tell you from personal experience that it worked wonders. My grandmother also had asthma really bad and used this powder formula for relief. Too bad it is no longer available today. We never got a "high " from using it but only received the benefits from the formula as we inhaled the smoke from the smoldering powder. I would be interested in one of these tins as it brings back memories from my youth and my grandmother.Thanks for reading, Rich from PA"

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