A cure for all diseases

A cure for all diseases Packaging of the medicine "Trejos Devynersios" (Three Nines). Courtesy of The Lost Shtetl Museum.

Packaging of the medicine "Trejos Devynersios" (Three Nines). Courtesy of The Lost Shtetl Museum.

"Three Nines" - interwar medicine

In the period between the two world wars, residents who fell ill were able to obtain medicines from pharmacies which must have been so tasty that measures had to be taken to prevent people from overdosing.

Let's take a look at the instructions for one of the most popular medications: "Pour the packet into a liter of regular 80-proof vodka and let sit in a closed bottle for eight days, shaking the bottle occasionally." Such was the first sentence of the instructions. Then: "Take one teaspoon of the mixed product and place in a small glass of wine, vodka, or water and consume three times per day." That was it.

Does that make you smile? We suspect you’ve not only heard about this very popular concoction, but you’ve also probably tried it. It's known in Lithuanian as “Trejos Devynerios”, or 999, and is a mixture of different medicinal herbs. Pharmaceutical companies advertised the 999 drink as medicine promising relief from everyday afflictions, such as fatigue, colds, constipation, migraines, digestive problems, diarrhea, hiccups, burping, etc.