I picked up a copy of Dr. Chase's 1888 edition in a used book store in central Michigan about ten years ago, and have loved it ever since. These books were designed to be sold door-to-door, like encyclopedias, and are physically impressive things. The idea was that this would be the second book in a typical farmhouse, after the Bible, and would be paid for on the installment plan. You'll notice that it has a birth and death registry (like the family Bible)--mine even had hair clippings from children saved between the pages.
Of more interest, perhaps, to Boing Boing readers was what these recipes actually represented--a kind of 19th century open source movement. Many of these were not just collected folk wisdom, but carefully reconstituted and reverse engineered versions of the popular patent medicines of the day. Dr. Chase was intentionally giving people the ability to make their own versions of branded, expensive medicines, in pretty clear violation of the "patent" part of patent medicines. That is what the subtitle "Why Conceal That Which Relieves Distress" refers to.
A wonderful book--I'm glad someone else appreciates it!