nostrum \NOS-truhm\, noun:
1. A medicine of secret composition and unproven or dubious
effectiveness; a quack medicine.
2. A usually questionable remedy or scheme; a cure-all.
James is put to work at country fairs, promoting a quack
nostrum for pain relief.
--Patrick McGrath, "Heart of Ice," New York Times, April
His hopeful message attracted an audience eager to believe
he had found the nostrum for all of society's ills.
--Warren Sloat, "Looking Back at 'Looking Backward': We
Have Seen the Future and It Didn't Work," New York
Times, January 17, 1988
Old ladies were always offering her their advice,
recommending this or that nostrum.
--Charlotte Brontë, Shirley: A Tale
Nostrum comes from Latin nostrum (remedium), "our (remedy),"
from nos, "we."