RationalWiki's 2018 Fundraiser

There is no RationalWiki without you. We are a small non-profit with no staff — we are hundreds of volunteers who document pseudoscience and crankery around the world every day. We will never allow ads because we must remain independent. We cannot rely on big donors with corresponding big agendas. We are not the largest website around, but we believe we play an important role in defending truth and objectivity.

If everyone seeing this today donates $5, we will meet our goal for 2018.

Fighting pseudoscience isn't free.
We are 100% user-supported! Help and donate $5, $20 or whatever you can today with PayPal Logo.png!

Donations so far: $2951Goal: $5000

Tar water

From RationalWiki
Jump to: navigation, search
Against allopathy
Alternative medicine
Icon alt med alt.svg
Unproven articles
An authentick narrative of the success of tar-water, in curing a great number and variety of distempers: with remarks and occasional papers relative to the subject: to which are subjoined, two letters from the author of Siris, shewing the medicinal properties of tar-water, and the best manner of making it.
—Thomas Prior, 1746[1]

Tar water was a quack remedy popular in the medieval period, consisting of pine tar and water.


By all accounts it was foul-tasting and of course entirely ineffective, so it died out, but enjoyed a brief resurgence in the 18th and 19th centuries; it was heavily promoted by Bishop Berkeley,[2] notably in his book Siris (1744).

It is mentioned in Charles Dickens' Great Expectations: young Pip and his brother-in-law Joe were often force fed it by Mrs. Joe.