On Sunday I put up an article dealing with patent medicines in widespread use in the Old West - most of which were utterly useless, of course. It attracted quite a bit of attention, judging by some of the comments.
As I continue my research, I've just discovered that my mother used one of those same patent medicines in South Africa, where a local version was produced. Dating back to the 1880's, it was known as California Syrup of Figs, and was marketed as a laxative.
Mom used to dose all of us kids with it whenever we needed 'assistance'. It tasted fairly pleasant, and I presume it worked satisfactorily, because I can't recall her ever using anything else.
To my further surprise, I found that a modern version of the stuff is still available. I hadn't expected a 19th-century patent medicine to be still around in this day and age. I'll have to try it, and see if it works as well as the stuff produced under license in South Africa. If it doesn't, well, there's always the old children's doggerel from the country of my birth:
Take Eno's - and the world will fall out of your bottom!"