In yesterday's article I mocked the idea of "asthma cigarettes. But, after further study, I now believe it was quite a smart idea.
The medicinal dirivitive of the Belladonna plant that causes bronchodilation is called medical Cannabis. For many people it was able to generate the instant relief that today's asthma patients receive from fast acting rescue inhalers and other aerosol therapy.
While the medicine could be taken via pill form, it may take up to an hour to gain the desired effect by this method. This long time span could prove lethal in a patient experiencing a bad asthma attack. Hydrolic syringes were first used in the medical field in the mid 1860s, but this form wasn't very effective either.
There was steam, but no adequate method was ever developed to deliver the asthma medicine via this method. Nor were perfume sprays an effective means of delivery this fast acting therapy.
Thus, the idea of asthma cigarettes became popular in the mid 19th century all the way to the mid 20th century. It was such as valueable industry that one manufacturer even invented a case for asthma cigarettes. It certainly wasn't pretty, but it served its purpose, and kept the medicine fresh for those emergency circumstances when they were needed
And, believe it or not, asthma cigarettes are still in use today in some third world countries where modern medicine is not available.
There have been instances of the use of non-conventional therapies in Britain and the United States, and many of these involved asthma cigarettes. In one such instance a patient presented to the hospital "hyperactive, disoriented, garrulous and very anxious." It turned out that he had swallowed asthma cigarettes -- whole.
That turned out to be an incentive for him to stick with what the doctor gave him.
Still, in third world countries, this has proven to be a viable means of getting instant relief from an asthma attack.
It wasn't until the post-WWII era that effective use of aerosolized therapy was discovered. And it was from this era that breathing treatments and MDI therapy has evolved.