In the sci-fi obsessed 1950s, for a short time chlorophyll was mooted as the new panacea for all things whiffy. It all started with a fellow called Benjamin Gruskin, who in the 1930s developed a water-soluble form of chlorophyll, now known as chlorophyllin. Gruskin tested his chlorophyllin on everything from burns to ulcers and was convinced that it was going to be an effective remedy. It may have proved to have been, but with the pharmaceutical companies busily investing in the brave new world of antibiotics it looked like his soluble chlorophyll would be consigned to the footnotes of history.
However, this strange tale did not end there as a few years later an advertising man named O`Neil Ryan Jr, looking for a new drug to market heard of Gruskin’s discovery and took out a patent on it.
Whilst working on a healing ointment the scientists were struck by the deodorising properties of the stuff when applied to their test subjects.His first release was a chlorophyll-based toothpaste, marketed by Pepsodent in 1950 as the green Chlorodent . This prompted a number of other manufacturers to follow suit with a wonderful array of products ranging with chlorophyll-flavoured dogfood, chewing gum, mouthwash, deodorant, cigarettes, soap, shampoo, skin lotion, toilet roll, bubble bath, popcorn, nappies, condoms (only kidding) sheets, and socks. Even Elsa Schiaparelli, the grand Parisian couturier got in on the fad by offering a chlorophyll cologne.
It was all getting a bit silly with plans for chlorophyll beer and chlorophyll salami when The Journal of the American Medical Association announced that there was “no conclusive evidence” that chlorophyll had any deodorising effect on anything whatsoever and mischievously pointed out that goats, which practically live on the stuff are perhaps the smelliest animals known to man. The chlorophyll craze eventually petered out although you can still find chlorophyll based products if you really wanted to.