Men weren’t the only ones looking for creative ways to secure alcohol during Prohibition. According to Daniel Okrent, author and researcher, middle-class women often turned to Lydia E. Pinkham’s Vegetable Tonic, a patented medicine used for medical conditions that afflicted women and contained 15-21% alcohol. The women, of course, would imbibe the tonic “strictly” for the sake of their health.
Many murderers who employ poison as their weapon of choice favor arsenic, but it’s not that perfect a means to murder. For one, you can’t put arsenic in a cold beverage without it being visable - the white powder will float on top. If the poisoner uses a hot beverage, the poison will dissolve very well, but when the beverage cools, it will float to the top as visable sediment. If the beverage has milk in it, such as hot tea, coffee, or cocoa, the arsenic will curdle the milk. Arsenic is also unreliable as a killer. While there have been cases of some people dying after receiving an infinitesimal amount, such as two grams, one woman who atttempted suicide took 230 grams and her only complaint was indigestion for three days.
If foul play is suspected when someone dies, it is a fairly easy procedure for the medical examiner to determine if someone has been poisoned with arsenic. Residue will linger indefinitely in fingernails, bones, and other parts of the body. In terms of a victim detecting it when it is used on them as a murder weapon, arsenic is virtually tasteless and a very small dose can cause death. It is also possible to give arsenic to someone in small doses over a period of time - it will build up in the body and eventually cause death. The person will get sicker and sicker as the arsenic akes effect, and the symptoms appear to be any of a number of nonlethal, everyday maladies. Arsenic first came into existence in the eight century, and for the next several centuries it was not able to be detected - imagine how many victims it may have claimed during this time that we will never know about.