Bottle of Alertis Cordial, United States, 1901-1920

1901-1920 in United States
brown glass bottle containing aletris cordial (sometimes known

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brown glass bottle containing aletris cordial (sometimes known
Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

brown glass bottle containing aletris cordial (sometimes known as 'Mother's cordial'), uterine tonic prepared by Rio Chemical Co. bottle and contents from U.S.A., 1901 to 1920

Aletris Cordial – better known as Mother’s Cordial – was a popular ‘over the counter’ remedy described as a uterine tonic, taken in the last weeks of pregnancy to improve the chances of a safe birth and prepare the body for labour. Women who had miscarried during previous pregnancies also took it as a preventative measure. One or two teaspoonfuls were to be taken each day throughout the pregnancy. The uterine tonic was also prescribed for women with problems with their menstrual cycles such as amenorrhoea.

The tonic contained aletris, from a bitter-tasting plant called stargrass. The tonic was made by Rio Chemical Company and was available from the 1890s.


Materia Medica & Pharmacology
Sir Henry Wellcome's Museum Collection
Object Number:
glass and cork
overall: 149 mm 62 mm, .25kg
medicinal tonic