I found some interesting advertisements from 1894 in the Straits Chinese Herald, a newspaper from Singapore.

First there is this advertisement for Grimault’s Indian Cigarettes which provide “a cure for asthma!!!”

“Asthmatic people who suffer from Oppression in breathing, Stifling sensations, Hoarseness and Loss of voice, Nervous coughs, Laryngitis, Colds, with Wheezing, Bronchitis, Insomnia, Catarrhal affections, and difficulty in Expectoration are promptly relieved by these Cigarettes.”

Then there is Coca-Bitter which “Heightens the functions of the brain, produces hilarity, a feeling of ease, and increased working power, and for continued mental and bodily work it relieves fatigue.”

Cigarettes which cure asthma and hoarseness of voice? A drink which “heightens the functions of the brain”?? And which “produces hilarity”??? What exactly was in these products??!!!