Here are two reader responses to the question we recently published on Setlez powder. It seems the problem with identifying it resulted from a misspelling. The proper spelling is Seidlitz.After reading that J.W. and all those pharmacists couldn't find any Setlez powder, I broke out my trusty Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary and found the following:
"Seidlitz powder or powders (from resemblance to the natural water of the village of Sedlitz, Bohemia). Effervescing salts consisting of two separate powders, one of sodium bicarbonate and Rochelle salt and the other of tartaric acid. They are mixed in water and drunk as a mild cathartic. Called also Rochelle powder.""Rochelle salt (from Rochelle, France). A colorless crystalline compound, potassium sodium tartrate, used as a laxative.
This may or may not be what J.W. was looking for but it sounded as if it might be. - C.W.A., Tooele.. . . I rather doubt Seidlitz powder is any longer available. It used to be as common as Geritol - a mainstay of the medicine cabinet, but I doubt a reputable pharmacist, knowing what it is, would even mix it for you on order.
It might just be smarter to put up with the gallstones. - S.W., Salt Lake City.We looked up tartaric acid in the dictionary. It is a clear, colorless crystalline acid found in vegetable tissues and fruit juices and obtained commercially from tartar. It is used in dyeing, photography and medicine.
We called a couple of pharmacies. They had never heard of the product.
Our pharmacy contact at the University of Utah Hospital once again consulted her reference books and said that Seidlitz powder is not currently available in the United States. She said it would have extreme laxative properties and its efficacy for gallstones is unproven.