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A note from Sharon

Joseph E Coudrey was an uncle of my father, Ronald Coudrey

He lived with his sister, my great aunt Gertrude, in Stamford Street Parkside in Adelaide
They were both single

My sister Lesley has a last memory of him laying in bed at his home in Parkside
And he had a huge white beard
Unfortunately, she thinks he was dying!

I remember my father telling me his earliest memory was of standing at the window above the chemist shop in Rundle Street watching the soldiers march when they came home from World War 1
That was in 1918 and Dad was born in 1915, so he was quite young!

It's funny how a tiny pill bottle being sold on Ebay can evoke memories of people who are no longer with us
It is nice to be able to capture some of those memories in story form at least, especially with a few pictures


The Ebay Auction

Two Vintage Pill Bottles

Two early 20th century (c 1910) lay-down circular pill bottles

One is embossed glass

The other bottle has a label
"Compressed Tablets Cascara Sagrada Gr2"
It also includes the directions and the chemist's name
"J.E. Coudrey Rundle St Adelaide"

These are in excellent condition with original working lids

Both bottles measure 6cm from top to bottom and 3cm at their widest point

Item location - Camperdown New South Wales Australia
Auction ended on Sunday 27th September 2009
The starting price was set at $12.00 and there were five bids during the auction

We won
with a bid of $30.75 plus $7.15 for postage/insurance

Note from the Seller after the Auction
Hi Geoff, and congrats
I was worried when I saw an American dealer bidding
Besides someone buying to resell, I am glad they stay in Australia ... being a real piece of history!
If you want registered post, please add $2.80 to the postal price
Regards ... Anne

Note to the Seller
Hi, and I have done the Ebay Checkout, got your bank details and will be making the direct deposit later today
I bought these as a Surprise for my lovely Wife, Sharon, whose maiden name is COUDREY !!
I know that there is a chemist somewhere in her Family Tree and The Coudrey's were all from Adelaide !!
Should be a terrific memento !!
If you have a few minutes, have a look HERE and a look HERE
These bottles will be a terrific surprise !! - and they will never be resold !!
I will be adding on the extra $2.80 for registered post
Have a nice day ... Regards ... Geoff

Reply from the Seller
Dear Geoff
I've just had a look through the websites
What a wonderful happy life you two have and everyone is so good looking! ... thanks for the links
You have brightened my day and I am in admiration of you and Sharon's sincere happiness ... just lovely!
And I love the photos of Sharon "Through the Years"
I will package the bottles very carefully
The chemist is surely her relative
If you do a few searches online, you can find some old adverts in newspapers that the National Library (I think) has scanned
Regards ... Anne

Note from the Seller
Mailed today via registered post
I hope the bottles are enjoyed ... and I'm sure they will be
Regards ... Anne

Note to the Seller
Hi ya, and the bottles have arrived - perfect !!
And, yes, the family connection has been confirmed - this Chemist was an uncle of Sharon's Father !!
How's that, eh ??
And I took your advice and did a very thorough internet search and found:
1 - a PHOTO of the chemist shop, and
2 - an ADVERT from 1914 where Mr Coudrey was looking for staff
Fantastic !!
I am now going to leave the Ebay Feedback
Nice meeting and doing business with you ... Regards ... Geoff

Reply from the Seller
Wow !!
You couldn't ask for better than finding a 'photo + advert' on top of actual dispensary bottle
Once again, it's such a blast sending these on to folks who actually have a connection
It has been a pleasure ... Regards ... Anne


A closeup look at the Bottle and Label

These bottles are 6cm high and 3.5cm across

NOTE - scroll to the bottom of the page for details on CASCARA SAGRADA



This is Joseph Edward Coudrey
Son of Joseph William Coudrey
Uncle of my Dad, Ronald Coudrey


The Shop in Rundle Street


Looking for Staff

and click here to see the full page from the Advertiser



Rundle Street Adelaide

in the early 1900's




Information Number One

Rhamnus purshiana (Cascara Buckthorn, Cascara, Bearberry, and in the Chinook Jargon, Chittam or Chitticum; syn. Frangula purshiana, Rhamnus purshianus) is a species of buckthorn native to western North America from southern British Columbia south to central California, and inland to western Montana

It is the largest species of buckthorn, occasionally growing up to fifteen metres tall, though more commonly a large shrub or small tree five to ten metres tall, with a trunk twenty to fifty centimetres in diameter

The bark is brownish to silver-grey with light splotching
The leaves are deciduous, alternate, clustered near the ends of twigs ... they are oval, 5–15 cm long and 2–5 cm broad with a 0.6–2 cm petiole ... dark shiny green on top ... fuzzy and paler green below
The flowers are tiny, 4–5 mm diameter, with five greenish yellow petals ... the flowering season is brief, disappearing by early summer
The fruit is a berry 6–10 mm diameter, bright red at first, quickly maturing deep purple or black, and containing three seeds

It grows in moist, acidic soils in the shady side of clearings or in the marginal forest understory, near the edges of mixed deciduous-coniferous forests
It typically grows as a second-generation tree after alders have colonized a barren plot of land


The dried, aged bark of this tree has been used continually for at least 1,000 years by both native and immigrant Americans as a laxative natural medicine, commercially called "Cascara Sagrada", but old timers call it "chitticum bark"

The laxative action is due to the Cascara glycosides(cascarosides A,B,C & D)

Cascara Sagrada means "sacred bark" in Spanish

The much more pertinent name chitticum means "shit come" in Chinook Jargon ... chittam comes from the Chinook Jargon phrase chittam stick = "laxative tree" which is similarly from the English word "shit"

Long used as a laxative by Native American groups of the northwest Pacific coast, chitticum bark or Cascara Sagrada was accepted in medical practice in the United States in 1877, and by 1890 had replaced the berries of the European Buckthorn (R. catharticus) as a commonly used laxative

It has been the principal ingredient in many commercial, over-the-counter laxatives in North American pharmacies
On May 9 2002, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued a final rule banning the use of aloe and cascara sagrada as laxative ingredients in over-the-counter drug products

The bark is harvested mostly from wild trees ... over-harvesting in the middle 1900's eliminated mature trees near many settled areas

Once stripped from the tree, the bark is aged for about one year to make its effect milder
Fresh cut, dried bark causes vomiting and violent diarrhea

Information Number One
similar to above but includes some different details

Cascara sagrada is an herb with laxative effects that has a long history of use in Native American medicine

It is made from the bark of the Rhamnus purshiana, a type of buckthorn shrub native to western North America, spanning parts of British Columbia and the northwestern United States

While cascara sagrada has been a popular ingredient in over-the-counter medications for over ten years, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) banned its use in over-the-counter products in 2002 because of inadequate data concerning its toxicity

The name cascara sagrada is Spanish for "sacred bark" and the herb is also commonly called chitticum bark

The bark of the Rhamnus purshiana is gray or brown and splotched
The plant can grow up to 50 feet (15 meters), but is usually 16 to 33 feet (5-10 meters)
It has shiny green leaves, tiny yellow-green flowers, and berries that mature from bright red to purple or black

Cascara sagrada must be dried and aged for at least a year before it can be used medicinally
Ingesting fresh bark can cause vomiting or bloody diarrhea

The herb's active ingredient is anthroquinones, which induce peristalsis, or muscular contractions, in the colon

It may be taken in capsule or liquid extract form, or the dried bark can be used to make tea

300 mg is a standard dosage of cascara sagrada, and it is usually taken at night to induce a bowel movement in the morning, as it takes six to twelve hours to have an effect

If you live in an area where cascara sagrada is available, be aware that its safety has not been confirmed by the FDA and that it should be taken with caution

Cascara sagrada is not intended to be taken long term and can in fact cause dependence ... do not take it for more than seven days in a row

Children and pregnant women should not take cascara sagrada
It is also dangerous for people suffering from Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, diverticular disease, severe hemorrhoids, blood vessel disease, heart disease, severe aenemia, liver or kidney disease, congestive heart failure, abdominal hernia, appendicitis, gastrointestinal cancer, or recent colon surgery

Some side effects of cascara sagrada include abdominal cramps, electrolyte imbalance, and melanosis coli, a dark discoloration of the colon

Excessive use can cause bloody diarrhea or vomiting
If you experience such symptoms after taking cascara sagrada, discontinue use and contact your doctor

Long term use of cascara sagrada has been linked to abnormal growths in the colon called adenomas and cancer

and now, if you are interested in buying some, simply click on the logo below