Three decades ago, any time someone walked into the Dicus Drugstore in Farmington, Missouri looking for Numotizine Cataplasm, or, as Dad called it, “Pink Peanut Butter”, they knew they’d been talking to Dr. Farquhar.

It was what my grandfather, Dr. Ralph Collins Farquhar Jr., D.O., a family doctor in Doylestown, Pennsylvania, starting in the mid-1930s, used to use to treat a cough. My dad, Dr. Ralph C. III, D.O., used it to treat my sister and me when we were sick, and anyone else who seemed to be sick.Numotizine

It’s over-the-counter, so I can use it on my kids too. Unfortunately it’s hard to find. I called a few drugstores in St. Louis trying to find it. None of them had ever heard of it, though they had heard of the company that makes it.

These days, the best place to find it is Amazon. Here’s the link for the single pack, if the 2-pack is sold out.  The stuff has a shelf life of something like 5 years, so don’t worry about having to order a 2-pack. You’ll use it before it goes bad.

It was invented by Dr. Samuel Alexander Gotcher to treat pneumonia and typhoid fever. It’s now touted (very quietly, as I’m sure you’ve never heard of the stuff) as a cure-all for cough, mosquito bites, sprains, and for all I know, hangovers. I don’t know about any of that. I just know it loosens up a cough quickly, and that the Drs. Ralph swore there wasn’t much of anything better. Maybe codeine, but Numotizine has a few less side effects, although codeine probably evokes fewer questions.

It’s easy to use. Heat up the jar. Fifteen seconds in the microwave will do. Then smear a thin layer on a washcloth and stick it to your chest overnight. Finally, wash it off in the shower in the morning. After 8 hours of that stuff doing whatever it does internally, and you breathing its fumes–I can’t describe the smell, other than to say it definitely smells like medicine, and strong medicine at that–your cough loosens. Repeat nightly until it goes away.

I’m sure there can’t be more than a few hundred people who know about this stuff and still use it. Maybe I can fix that.