Liebig Co.'s Coca Beef Tonic

From Kook Science

Liebig Co.'s Coca Beef Tonic
Medical Claims "Invaluable for: dyspepsia, biliousness, impoverished blood, consumption, throat troubles, malaria, debility, sleeplessness, brain exhaustion, impaired vitality, slow convalescence."
Year created c. 1878
Vendors Liebig Laboratory & Chemical Works Co. (New York)

Liebig Co.'s Coca Beef Tonic was a concentrated meat stock and Amontillado sherry wine (with added coca, and, in some preparations, added iron citrate, quinine, and other supplements) nutritive tonic, manufactured by Liebig Laboratory and Chemical Works Co. of New York (not to be confused with the Liebig Extract of Meat Co., originators of Oxo), which was boasted in the advertising copy to be "a reconstructor, force-generator and revitalizer of broken-down constitutions," able to cure any number of maladies and generally improve the whole health.


According to Liebig's own advertising, the basic form of the tonic contained the "nutritive elements of the muscular fibre, blood, bone, and brain of carefully selected, healthy bullocks dissolved in rare old sherry wine,"[1] along with coca leaf ("Sacred Life Plant of the Incas"),[2] prepared at a ratio of one ounce of beef to two grains coca[3] (or 2.5 oz. beef, 5 gr. coca per bottle). An 1896 Food and Drug Inspection by the Massachusetts State Board of Health found that the Coca Beef Tonic contained 23.2% alcohol.[4]


  • Liebig Co.'s Coca Beef Tonic with Quinine, containing: 5 grs. Coca; 3 grs. Calisaya bark; 2 grs. pure Quinine.
  • Liebig Co.'s Coca Beef Tonic with Iron and Quinine: 5 grs. Coca; 3 grs. Calisaya; 2 grs. Quinine; 2 grs. Citrate of Iron.
  • Liebig Co.'s Coca Beef Tonic with Iron, Quinine and Strychnine: 5 grs. Coca; 4 grs. Citrate Iron; 2 grs. Quinine; 1/60 gr. Strychnine.
  • Liebig Co.'s Coca Beef Tonic with Iron, Quinine, Strychnine and Pepsine: 5 grs. Coca; 1 gr. Quinine; 2 grs. Pyrophosphate of Iron; 1/32 gr. Strychnine; 3 grs. Pepsine.
  • Liebig Co.'s Coca Beef Tonic with Calisaya: 5 grs. Coca; 1 gr. Citrate Iron; 1/2 gr. Quinine; 10 grs. Calisaya.
  • Liebig Co.'s Coca Beef Tonic with Calisaya, Iron and Phosphorus: 5 grs. Coca; 10 grs. Calisaya; 4 grs. Pyrophosphate of Iron; 1/100 gr. Phosphorus.
  • Liebig Co.'s Coca Beef Tonic with Pepsine: 5 grs. Coca; 5 grs. Saccharated Pepsine (U.S.P.).



  1. "Liebig Company's Coca Beef Tonic; The Opinion of Sir Robert Christison, Physician to Her Majesty the Queen, &c.", New York Times: 5, 7 June 1885, 
  2. "Liebig Co.'s Coca Beef Tonic", Baltimore Sun: 2, 1881-04-19 
  3. To the Medical Profession - Liebig Co.s Coca Beef Tonic, [New York]: Liebig Laboratory & Chemical Works Co., 1881 
  4. Davenport, B.F. (1888), "Report of the Analyst of Drugs: Tonics", Annual Report of the State Board of Health of Massachusetts, Boston: Wright & Potter, p. 193,;view=1up;seq=271