• Image of 'Bile Bean Babies'

The 'Bile Bean Babies' share the fortune of the limbless, Guyanese side-show performer 'Prince Randian' (1874-1934), also known as 'The Snake Man', 'The Living Torso', and 'The Human Caterpillar'. Famous for his ability to roll cigarettes with his lips, he was reportedly brought to the United States by P.T. Barnum in 1889 and was a popular carnival and circus attraction for 45 years. 'Prince Randian' can be seen in the 1932 film Freaks, in which he is seen performing his cigarette trick. [1]

Born with tetra-Amelia syndrome ("Tetra" being the Greek word for "four" and "amelia" refers to the failure of an arm or leg to develop before birth) is a genetic mutation in the WNT3 gene that plays a critical role in the development pre-birth. [2]

Bile & Bile Bean facts:
Marketed since the 1890s as "Charles Forde's Bile Beans for Biliousness"; a laxative and tonic, also promised to "disperse unwanted fat" and "purify and enrich the blood". Charles E. Fulford (1870–1906) & Ernest A. Gilbert (1875–1905) are recorded as having first sold Bile Beans in Australia, in 1987. Fulford; a Canadian, is reported as having already travelled to Australia to sell 'Dr. Williams' Pink Pills for Pale People'. [3][4]

Establishing the 'Bile Bean Manufacturing Company' in Leeds, in 1899, Fulford & Gilbert claimed the products formula was created by an Australian scientist by the name of Charles Forde, in 1898, based on research conducted on a vegetable source known only to the Aboriginal Australians. But a court case initiated in Scotland, in 1905, found the Bile Bean business was fraudulent as it transpired that Charles Forde did not exist; that this name was an alias for Charles Fulford, who had no scientific training, thus, there was no secret Aboriginal ingredient.[4]

Though the Bile Beans Manufacturing Company lost the Scottish court case in 1906, Bile Beans remained popular through the 1930s and continued to be sold until the 1980s.[4]

Bile; a yellow-green fluid, released by the liver, stored in the gallbladder, and passed through the common bile duct into the duodenum, where it helps digest fat. [5] Apart from the physical diseases that can generate from bile problems, 'Black bile'; which stems from the Greek 'melaina chole', was a concept in ancient and pre-modern medicine, which, according to Hippocrates, melancholia was caused by an excess of black bile.

References:
[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prince_Randian
[2] http://ghr.nlm.nih.gov/condition/tetra-amelia-syndrome
[3] Hensley, S. "Annals Of Weight-Loss Gimmicks: From Bile Beans To Obesity Soap", Health News from NPR, archived from the original on 17 February 2015
[4] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bile_Beans
[5] http://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=2459

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