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The Forgotten Plague During Prohibition

The Forgotten Plague During Prohibition

By Gilles Messier

When Prohibition began, bootleggers largely drew from existing stockpiles of commercial liquor or smuggled in alcohol from Canada and Mexico. But when these supplies began to dry up, they turned to alternative sources, such as homemade moonshine and industrial alcohol. After tracking down and investigating more than 60 cases, the pair soon noticed an intriguing pattern: all the victims were regular users of Jamaica Ginger, a popular brand of Patent Medicine. Jamaica Ginger was especially popular among poor labourers in the South. Jamaica Ginger had been sold since 1863 without any negative effects.