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"anything involving overpromotion in the field of health." This definition would include questionable ideas as well as questionable products and services, regardless of the sincerity of their promoters.In line with this definition, the word "fraud" would be reserved only for situations in which deliberate deception is involved.The few effective remedies sold by quacks included emetics, laxatives and diuretics.Some ingredients did have medicinal effects: mercury, silver and arsenic compounds may have helped some infections and infestations; willow bark contained salicylic acid, chemically closely related to aspirin; and the quinine contained in Jesuit's bark was an effective treatment for malaria and other fevers. A quack is a "fraudulent or ignorant pretender to medical skill" or "a person who pretends, professionally or publicly, to have skill, knowledge, qualification or credentials he or she does not possess; a charlatan or snake oil salesman".Common elements of general quackery include questionable diagnoses using questionable diagnostic tests, as well as untested or refuted treatments, especially for serious diseases such as cancer.However, knowledge of appropriate uses and dosages was limited.
Even where no fraud was intended, quack remedies often contained no effective ingredients whatsoever.
using highly distinctive containers) and mass marketing to create and maintain markets.
A similar process occurred in other countries of Europe around the same time, for example with the marketing of Eau de Cologne as a cure-all medicine by Johann Maria Farina and his imitators.
These "typical" patent or quack medicines were marketed in very different, and highly distinctive, bottles.
Each brand retained the same basic appearance for more than 100 years.