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From Picking to Massaging: Analgesia From Mexican Mustang Liniment

  • Nicole D. Snyder
    Affiliations
    Resident Physician, Anesthesiology and Perioperative Medicine, Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, 11100 Euclid Ave, Cleveland, OH, 44106, USA
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  • George S. Bause
    Correspondence
    Corresponding author at: 5247 Wilson Mills Rd, No. 282, Cleveland, OH 44143-3016.
    Affiliations
    Resident Physician, Anesthesiology and Perioperative Medicine, Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, 11100 Euclid Ave, Cleveland, OH, 44106, USA

    Clinical Associate Professor, Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Case Western Reserve University School of Dental Medicine, 2124 Cornell Rd, Cleveland, OH, 44106, USA

    Honorary Curator and Laureate of Anesthesia History, Wood Library-Museum of Anesthesiology, American Society of Anesthesiologists, 1061 American Ln, Schaumburg, IL, 60173-4973, USA
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Published:March 27, 2017DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.janh.2017.03.002
      “For Man and Beast” reads the slogan printed upon this bullfight scene (Figure 1) on the obverse of a card advertising the 19th-century American panacea, Mexican Mustang Liniment. Patterned after Spanish bullfighting, the depicted Mexican counterpart was likewise staged in named tercios (thirds). In the first third, named Veras (Lances) and pictured here, the picadores or mounted pikemen weaken the bull by “picking” or spearing at his neck muscles. In the middle third, named Banderillas (Little Flags; yes, the diminutive of the actor's surname, Bandera), assistants weaken the bull's back muscles by darting them with up to six barbed flags. In the final third, Muerte (Death), the matador finishes passing his cape at the doomed bull by mortally impaling him with a sword.
      • Douglass C.B.
      Bulls, Bullfighting, and Spanish Identities.
      The picador's lance might be an apt metaphor for some of the skin-damaging external therapies (pricking, burning, cutting, bleeding, etc) and counterirritative modalities that preceded much of the use of liniments. In fact, blander liniments, such as petroleum-based Mexican Mustang Liniment, were merely massaged in for analgesic and healing effects.
      Fig. 1
      Fig. 1The obverse of an advertising card for Mexican Mustang Liniment featuring a picador lancing a bull during a bullfight.
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