Vin Mariani


The indications or uses for this product as provided by the manufacturer are: Angelo Francois Mariani introduced Vin Mariani (Mariani Wine) in 1871. He formulated the tonic while employed at a Paris drugstore, assisted by one of his clients, Dr. Charles Fauvel, pioneer in the anesthetic application of cocaine.

Vin Mariani, a potent concoction of Coca leaves and red wine was promoted as beneficial for a plethora of ailments including malaria, fever, chills, nervous disability, mental and physical depression, and consumption. As cocaine was not regulated within the United States, Vin Mariani's intoxicating ingredients made it as successful domestically as it was internationally. The wine was especially popular when served as a cocktail mixed with vermouth, bitters and a twist of lemon. Newspaper advertisements from the end of the 19th century hint at the wine's strong narcotic effects, highlighting the tonic's ability to "brace body and brain" and "make the weak strong."

In a time of unprecedented drug promotion, Vin Mariani was among the most heavily publicized proprietary medications. Prior to public recognition of cocaine's dangerous and addictive properties, Mariani procured endorsements from such celebrities as Thomas Edison, Sandra Bernhardt, Robert Louis Stephenson, Pope Leo XII, President William McKinley and Queen Victoria! Mariani also commissioned fashionable posters from famed Belle Epoque designer Jules Cheret, prints of which are still popular today.

While not the first cocaine tonic, Vin Mariani was the most successful, leading the way for similar preparations, notably Coca-Cola, formulated by Atlanta druggist John Pemberton in 1886. This example of Vin Mariani was produced in 1914. It was analyzed in 1987 by scientists from Yale University and found to contain cocaine. Later, like Coca-Cola, the cocaine element was dropped, and the tonic continued to be sold into the 1960s.

Date Made: ca 1914

Maker: Mariani and Company

Location: Currently not on view

Place Made: France: Île-de-France, ParisUnited States: New York, New York CityAssociated Place: United States: Missouri, Saint Louis

Subject: Tonics, Minerals & VitaminsNerve & Brain Drugs


See more items in: Medicine and Science: Medicine, Health & Medicine, Balm of America


Exhibition Location:

Data Source: National Museum of American History

Id Number: 1993.0472.038Catalog Number: 1993.0472.038Accession Number: 1993.0472

Object Name: otc preparation

Measurements: overall: 24 cm x 8.8 cm; 9 7/16 in x 3 7/16 inoverall: 9 1/4 in x 3 1/2 in; 23.495 cm x 8.89 cm


Record Id: nmah_1287058

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