Abe Lincoln's "Blue Mass" Pills

Was Lincoln a Victim of Mercury Poisoning?

From About.com

Updated: June 20, 2006

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Abe Lincoln

Abe Lincoln

Did the responsibilities of the presidential office weigh heavy upon Abraham Lincoln's shoulders? This is highly probable. In fact, it would be surprising if they didn't. A study by the University of Chicago Medical Center reveals that Lincoln may have suffered from bouts of depression, anxiety and insomnia.

Also, during the 1850s, Lincoln became extremely aggressive, even to the point of violence. According to a study published in the Summer 2001, issue of Perspectives in Biology and Medicine, Lincoln was taking a medication common at that time for depression, known as "Blue Mass." Other ingredients of "blue mass" were licorice root, rose-water, honey, sugar and rose petals.

The daily dose of these pills contained over 9000 times the amount of mercury that is considered safe by today's standards. Some of the symptoms (among many) of mercury poisoning are aggression and severe mood swings. Could Lincoln's violence, then, have been caused by the pills? When he stopped taking them, his aggressive behavior is said to have disappeared.

During the civil war, illness and disease caused more deaths than did the battles. The soldiers died of many different causes, but it should be noted that a commonly prescribed medication was a concoction of mercury and chalk called, again, blue mass. Perhaps the medication was the actual cause of some of the illness and death.

What is mercury? It's a heavy metal commonly used in thermometers and electrical switches. It's also used in dental fillings. Another source of mercury poisoning is eating fish from contaminated waters. The dental profession argues that the amount of mercury in fillings is so low that it isn't a danger.

However, low dosage mercury poisoning causes many symptoms, including extreme fatigue, muscle soreness, depression and numerous other symptoms that mirror chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia, and the possibility of a connection between mercury poisoning and CFS is under consideration.

If you are a victim of mercury poisoning, the symptoms are many, including gum disease, mood and mental changes and nerve damage.

Doctors are recommending that people get rid of mercury thermometers and instead use the new digital variety. Many hospitals are phasing out blood pressure equipment that uses mercury with cuffs containing mercury. Mercury poisoning can be deadly.

Avoid contact with mercury (for instance from a broken thermometer) at all costs. Should contact occur, either by getting it on your skin or inhaling the fumes, seek medical attention as soon as possible. Also, make sure you are not eating fish that have come from come from contaminated lakes. Most Fish and Wildlife offices have pamphlets containing this information.

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