Mar 9, 2015

Victorian Vanities - Mouth Pastilles

O.K. this is the last "Dental Cosmetics" post.  
I promise.  

Today we're delving into the world of Cachou Aromatise/
Mouth Pastiles/Pastilles/Breath fresheners.  

In old formula books these recipes are sometimes found in the perfumery section rather than with tooth powders or other mouth cosmetics, as their purpose is to purify and perfume the breath.  

It seems that a great number of recipes for breath fresheners originally contained Catechu, an extract of the acacia tree which has astringent properties.  Catechu was mixed with other aromatics like orris, peppermint, ambergris, musk, licorice, clove oil, or cinnamon, then formed into small pieces or pastilles which one would chew or allow to dissolve in the mouth to perfume the breath.  

For my presentation, I made 2 "breath fresheners".  Both can be found on page 201 of The Druggist General Receipt Book by Henry Beasley printed in 1850 which is available free for download on Google books.  

"Pastils or Lozenges, with chlorine, 
for disinfecting the breath"
Sugar flavored with Vanilla 1 oz.
Powdered Tragacanth 20 gr. (grains)
Liquid Chloride of Soda q.s.(as needed)
Any Essential Oil 2 drops

Form a paste and divide into Lozenges 15 gr. each.

These little beauties have a faint swimming pool aroma when they are freshly made, but that fades quickly and soon all you smell is vanilla and whatever essential oil you used.  I have not tasted these, and don't plan to.

M. Chevallier's Aromatic Cachou
Chocolate Powder 1 1/2 oz
Ground Coffee 1 1/2 oz
Prepared Charcoal 1 oz
Sugar 1 oz
Vanilla 1 oz (pulverized with sugar)
Mucilage q.s. (as needed)

Make into lozenges of any form. 

The description in the original text mentions these are good for smokers.  The charcoal pastilles have a smell that is heavy on the coffee and light on the chocolate.  I did taste test these and think you could recreate the flavor yourself by chewing equal parts sugar and coffee grounds.  As you might expect, these don't taste great, but if you're into espresso, they are tolerable.  

The gritty texture and lovely shade left on and between my teeth by the charcoal however, was not tolerable.  I ended up spitting out the black slurry and rinsing my mouth til the water ran clear- 4 or 5 times.  I will not try these again since I found them to be very irritating to my gums.

The Aromatic Cachous/Charcoal mouth Pastilles recipe above can also be found almost word for word on p.200 in: 
The Era Formulary: 5000 Formulas for Druggists printed in 1893 by D.O. Haynes.   
It is formula 2215.

Another very similar recipe can be also be found on that page and goes uses the name pastilles.  

p. 200 formula 2220.  
 Pastilles (Aromatic)
Roasted Coffee 75 parts
Wood Charcoal 25 parts
Boracic acid 25 Parts
Sugar 60 Parts

The ingredients are pulverized separately, then mixed will sufficient vanillin to perfume and enough gum arabic mucilage to "make a mass."  The mass is then to be divided into "pastilles, lozenges, or little pills".

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