Grove's Tasteless Chill Tonic

Grove's Tasteless Chill Tonic

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Usage conditions apply
The indications or uses for this product as provided by the manufacturer are:
For relief of malaria and resulting chills and fever
Currently not on view
Object Name
otc preparation
Object Type
OTC Preparation
date made
Grove Laboratories
Physical Description
lemon flavor (drug active ingredients)
cinchonine-cinchonidine (drug active ingredients)
reduced iron (drug active ingredients)
sugar syrup (drug active ingredients)
cardboard (container material)
glass (container material)
metal (container material)
box: 5 7/8 in x 2 1/2 in x 1 3/8 in; 14.9225 cm x 6.35 cm x 3.4925 cm
bottle: 5 5/8 in x 2 3/8 in x 1 3/8 in; 14.2875 cm x 6.0325 cm x 3.4925 cm
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Credit Line
Gift of Richard W. Pollay
Fever & Chill Drugs
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Medicine
Health & Medicine
Balm of America
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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I and my siblings had a daily regimen to insure our health in the late 1940-1950 decade. Along with our teaspoon of Groves Chill Tonic (yuk), we had one sulfur & cream-of-tarter tablet, and a dose of cod liver oil. My mother was terrified that we would all get polio before the vaccine was developed by Dr. Salk. I must say that we are all very healthy and living to a ripe old age, but I’m not sure that this had anything to do with it. My parents grew up in rural Oklahoma during the depression and were not privileged to have doctors and nurses; therefore, home remedies were very important to them.
The only description for this garbage is NASTY, NASTY, NASTY!! All it did was to make young people miserable every spring. The majority of those who were forced to take a spoonful are alive and kicking. Sorry, all parents, but this was cruel treatment.
My brother and I grew up in the 50s and 60s. My dad gave that stuff to us religiously. Tasteless?? Chill Tonic is the perfect name because just the thought of that taste and the floating particles in it sends chills down my spine still to this day. My mom would give us saltine crackers to eat afterwards. Even that didn’t get that taste out.
Oh my, this was bad stuff. My brother and I had to take this nasty stuff as a child. We talk about it today and we are in our 70’s. Not sure it did any good but we survived. If I could find a bottle today, I would send it to him for fun!! Should have been a crime to sell it!!
Some of my least fond memories as a kid are of Grove's Tasteless Chill Tonic! Tasteless was THE BIG LIE of that era and so far from the truth. But my mom gave this crap to my brothers and I religiously in the late 50's/early 60's. If ol' man Grove were still around I would sue him for FALSE ADVERTISING! I loved my mom dearly so I forgave her - and I'm now sitting here smiling for some strange reason. Thanks Mom cuz I'm probably still here because of that nasty stuff!!!
My grandpa sent a box if 24 over each spring. That meant 6 bottles per kid. It was nasty stuff. We took it all sick or not.
When I was four, my brother and I had to take this nasty stuff everyday because “it was good for us!” I remember if I ever got a headache all my parents had to do was show me the bottle and my headache went away! I do believe I could have healed broken bones the same way! Yuck!!
Somehow I got to remembering patented medicines my siblings and I had to take as children circa 1940. Chill Tonic was one and we had to take it for about a week in the spring. It had little gray flecks of something floating around in a thin gray liquid. I could tolerate it but my poor brother would almost faint when it was his turn to down the big spoonful. Another spring ritual was the little cardboard box of sulfur tablets. They were not bad, about the size of a quarter and were sweet. Vicks Salve was used year 'round and for everything from cuts to colds. My grandson, who is a doctor, won't even allow it in the house. Says it's dangerous for children and I'm sure he is right. However, I was given a spoonful to eat when I had a bad cold. Somehow I survived.
I was given this as a child by my grandmother. It’s name was deceptive, it was the most disgusting stuff the taste was awful.
The image on GROVE’S CHILL TONIC is somewhat eerie. Who developed it and what was the thinking behind it?
"When I visited my aunt, I had to take Chill Tonic just like my cousins did. It was suppose to keep us healthy...."
As a child siblings and l were given chill tonic for everything from a cut or cold or punishment. It was the most disgusting thing l have ever tasted. I think the maker of this tonic should be drawn and quartered...or given the tonic for life..

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