George H. Tichenor was born in Ohio County, Kentucky, on April 17, 1837.
He was a businessman in Franklin (Williamson County), Tennessee, when the war began and enlisted in the 22nd Tennessee Cavalry Regiment, CSA. He later became an enrolling officer and then an assistant surgeon. While at this post, he developed the original Dr. Tichenor’s antiseptic formula.
In 1863, he was wounded in a battle near Memphis, TN. Fearing infection, army hospital surgeons ordered that his leg be amputated. Against medical advice, and with the assistance of friends, he left the hospital and saved his leg using the antiseptic formula he had developed.
Dr. Tichenor went on to pioneer the use of antiseptic surgery during the Civil War, and saved the lives and limbs of many soldiers. After the war, he continued to use his antiseptic and was encouraged to manufacture and sell his amazing germ-killing formula.
An unconfirmed story was later circulated that Dr. Tichenor’s antiseptic was granted the first patent issued by the Confederate government. An image of the Confederate Battle Flag remained on the product label well into the 20th century.
According to an 1895 advertisement for Dr. Tichenor’s Antiseptic, Tichenor developed his antiseptic formula in Canton, Mississippi, and thereafter practiced medicine in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, from 1869 to 1887. He started bottling Dr. Tichenor’s Patent Medicine in New Orleans; the formula, consisting of alcohol, oil of peppermint, and arnica, was originally marketed as useful for a wide variety of complaints for both internal and external use for man and animal.
A patent was registered in 1882. The company producing this liquid was incorporated in 1905 as the Dr. G. H. Tichenor Antiseptic Company was founded in New Orleans and is still in existence, though the recommended uses are now more modest: principally as a mouthwash and topical antiseptic.
Dr. Tichenor lived to the age of 85 – long enough to see the antiseptic that carried his name become a staple in thousands of homes across the land.
He was adjutant general and commander of the Louisiana division of the United Confederate Veterans.
When he passed away in 1923, he is interred in Roselawn Memorial Park in Baton Rouge, La.
Since its creation nearly 150 years ago, more than 500,000,000 bottles of Dr. Tichenor’s Antiseptic have been used, and that number continues growing to this day.