Ananova reports that GlaxoSmithKline could be about to disclose the 130-year-old secret behind why its popular HORLICKS malt drink helps people sleep. Although the product has been promoted as a bedtime essential for decades, the reason why it works has never been investigated. But when HORLICKS is relaunched later this year the scientific evidence behind the claim will be revealed, claims trade magazine Marketing.

Horlicks was first created when Englishmen James and William Horlick founded a company in Chicago, US, to manufacture a patented malt milk drink as an artificial infant food. The brand has been advertised with a sleep message since the 1920s, with a campaign in 1931 promoting it as a cure for "night starvation". Till now GlaxoSmithKline, the current maker of Horlicks, has been unable to explain the science behind the claim. According to its website, "It may be the unique combination of wholesome ingredients - the malted barley, wheat or dairy ingredients in Horlicks that aids sleep". But the corporate giant confesses that "as a company we are trying to be more responsible and use science to back up the claims we make".

The IPKat says: "It seems surprising that a pharma company as sophisticated as GSK, with its vast research resources, has hitherto been unable to crack the secret. The IPKat's hunch is that the main reasons why Horlicks works are that (i) people drink it at bed-time when they're tired, (ii) when they drink it, they are already convinced that it will work. Even so, it is not impossible that the results of Glaxo's investigation into the properties of the ingredients of Horlicks will have some commercial value, in which case the company may wish to keep the secret to itself".

Mix yourself a Horlicks Banana Smoothie here
For The Big Sleep click here or here
For a complete Horlicks click here
"Complete Horlicks: a semiotic" approach here
Click here and scroll down to Ian Wigg for politically correct and incorrect versions of a clean joke involving Horlicks.

NIGHT STARVATION -- WILL THE SECRET BE REVEALED? <strong>NIGHT STARVATION -- WILL THE SECRET BE REVEALED?</strong> Reviewed by Jeremy on Thursday, August 14, 2003 Rating: 5

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