Example the a ketchup advertisement in the 1800’s (Source: World broad facts)
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In today’s civilization using ketchup to medicate yourself sounds ridiculous. This wasn’t the instance in the 1830s as soon as tomato ketchup take it America’s health care industry by storm. Previously, ketchup had actually been make from mushrooms or fish, and also tomatoes were thought about poisonous. The was until 1834 as soon as Dr. John Cooke Bennett included tomatoes to ketchup and also seemingly revolutionized the condiment right into the hottest medicine of the 1800s (think along the present of today’s Pfizer vaccine — yes, ketchup to be that famous as medication).

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John C. Bennett sculpture from a illustration by Alvan Clark - 1842 (Source — The john Smith Papers).The beginning of the ketchup craze

Bennett asserted that he had done research on the tomato and found the it was capable of curing numerous ailments including diarrhea, cholera, jaundice, indigestion, and also rheumatism. Bennett encouraged world to chef down tomatoes right into a sauce to advantage from the fruit’s healing properties. His research was extensively publicized throughout all significant American newspapers.

Alexander Miles, an entrepreneur throughout the 1830s came throughout Bennett’s research study on tomatoes. In ~ the time, miles was offering a patent medicine referred to as the “American toilet Pill.” once Bennett and also Miles finally associated the pill was readjusted to “Extract of Tomato.” This maximized the tomato craze that had actually taken the country by storm. Miles greatly advertised his extract that tomato i m sorry was offered in both liquid and also pill form. The hefty advertising in newspapers everywhere, add by Bennett’s research boosted the “extract of tomato” popularity across the country.

Stories of human being being healed by the tomato extract became a renowned feature in many newspapers. Headlines read, “Tomato Pills will Cure All your Ills.” an 1843 newspaper extract native the Boston Cultivator review as follows,

“We knew an circumstances of a an extremely severe situation of dyspepsia, the ten years standing, cured through the usage of the tomato. The patient had been unable to get any kind of relief; he might eat no fresh meat, nor boiled vegetables. Reading an account the the virtues of the tomato, he raised some, and also used them together food in the fall, stewed, and made part in jelly for winter use. He was cured.”

How go the ketchup heat end?

As the ketchup pills and sauces heat grew, an ext entrepreneurs jumped ~ above the bandwagon and also began making their variation of the “extract that tomato” pills and also sauces. The ketchup market grew exponentially and also was fast becoming a lucrative business.

Scientists at the time began expanding on Bennett’s research and looking more critically in ~ the insurance claims made around ketchup. As more scientists researched the healing benefits of ketchup, the medical profession was able to dispel the claims that had actually been made together nothing an ext than a hoax. Ketchup was not the miraculous wonder drug the nation had been led to think by both Bennett and also Miles. Soon the hype over the healing properties the ketchup died down.


Although the ketchup as medicine phase passed away down eventually, the did last virtually two decades. Bennett’s research may have over-exaggerated the services of tomato but based upon what we recognize now, his research wasn’t a finish hoax. Modern research has displayed that tomatoes space the major source the the antioxidant lycopene, which has actually been linked to plenty of health benefits, including lessened risk the heart disease and cancer. They are likewise a an excellent source that vitamin C, potassium, folate, and vitamin K. This tells us that although exaggerated, Bennett’s study wasn’t totally off.

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Ultimately, the ketchup heat was advantageous as that dispelled the id that tomatoes room poisonous. Bennett managed to get an ext Americans eating tomatoes i beg your pardon is never ever a bad thing. Imagine a world without tomatoes, no ketchup, no tomato soup, and no tomato pasta bowl — that would have actually been a genuine disaster. In conclusion, us owe Bennett a huge thank you for making not only ketchup yet all tomato dishes we enjoy today, possible.