YOUR remedies for menstrual period pain and problems. See more remedies here.
HOMEPAGE
CONTRIBUTE to Humor, Words and expressions about menstruation and Would you stop menstruating if you could?
Some MUM site links:
HOMEPAGE |

MUM address & What does MUM mean? |
Email the museum |
Privacy on this site |
Who runs this museum?? |
Amazing women! |
Art of menstruation |
Artists (non-menstrual) |
Asbestos |
Belts |
Bidets |
Bly, Nellie |
MUM board |
Books: menstruation and menopause (and reviews) |
Cats |
Company booklets for girls (mostly) directory |
Contraception and religion |
Costumes |
Menstrual cups |
Cup usage |
Dispensers |
Douches, pain, sprays |
Essay directory |
Extraction |
Facts-of-life booklets for girls |
Famous women in menstrual hygiene ads |
FAQ |
Founder/director biography |
Gynecological topics by Dr. Soucasaux |
Humor |
Huts |
Links |
Masturbation |
Media coverage of MUM |
Menarche booklets for girls and parents |
Miscellaneous |
Museum future |
Norwegian menstruation exhibit |
Odor |
Olor |
Pad directory |
Patent medicine |
Poetry directory |
Products, some current |
Puberty booklets for girls and parents|
Religion |
Religión y menstruación |
Your remedies for menstrual discomfort |
Menstrual products safety |
Seguridad de productos para la menstruación |
Science |
Shame |
Slapping, menstrual |
Sponges |
Synchrony |
Tampon directory |
Early tampons |
Teen ads directory |
Tour of the former museum (video) |
Underpants & panties directory |
Videos, films directory |
Words and expressions about menstruation |
Would you stop menstruating if you could? |
What did women do about menstruation in the past? |
Washable pads |
Read 10 years (1996-2006) of articles and Letters to Your MUM on this site.
Leer la versión en español de los siguientes temas: Anticoncepción y religión, Breve reseña - Olor - Religión y menstruación - Seguridad de productos para la menstruación.


The Museum of Menstruation and Women's Health

Historical patent medicine for women, including mail-order cures for menstruation, cancer, tumors, odor, insomnia, stomach illness, depression, birth control, fertility and women's diseases

Patent medicine, which was seldom if ever patented, usually means American "medicines" in bottles that doctors and others produced, mainly in the 19th century, and which sometimes have a bad reputation: they often didn't do what they were advertised to do, such as cure cancer or banish tumors or cure problems of the uterus or menstrual cycle. Many had alcohol as their main component.

In that era some doctors diagnosed illnesses through the mail (here and here), sometimes encouraging the writer to visit him or her for further examination or treatment. And patients sometimes bought medicine the doctor created as well as booklets and advertising devices designed to spread the doctor's reputation.

Sometimes the remedies worked!

Click on the following:
Lydia Pinkham's Vegetable Compound (on this page, right below) - Cardui patent medicine - Dr. Grace Feder Thompson's letter appealing for patients - Dr. Pierce's medicines - Dr. E. C. Abbey's The Sexual System and Its Derangements (1882) - Dr. Young's rectal dilators - Orange Blossom medicine - ad for Ergoapiol (1904), abortion substance - "Lectures on Chronic Catarrh" pamphlet (ca. 1885, by S.B. Hartman, M.D., promoting the infamous Pe-ru-na, Peruna alcoholic medicine)
Midol pain reliever pills for menstruation: old tins (containers), old ads, old booklet (selections)
Boxes of old American patent medicine, some with drugs, associated with women's health:
Dr. Pierre's Boro-Pheno-Form and introduction to patent medicine | Chichesters English Diamond Brand Pennyroyal Pills | Midol tin boxes | Murray & Nickell Blue Cohosh Root | Murray & Nickell Cotton Root Bark | Allaire Woodward & Co. Oak Bark-White | Wampole's Vaginal Cones with Picric Acid | Humphreys "31" | Orange Blossom Suppositories | Dr. Pierce's Vaginal Tablets | Micajah's Medicated Wafers | Santrex Formula 52T | Sedets
See an ad for Dr. Schenk's Mandrake Pills, appearing on a trade card for journalist Nellie Bly.
See also Australian douche ad (ca. 1900) - Fresca douche powder (U.S.A.) (date ?) - Kotique douche liquid ad, 1974 (U.S.A.) - Liasan (1) genital wash ad, 1980s (Germany) - Liasan (2) genital wash ad, 1980s (Germany) - Lysol douche liquid ad, 1928 (U.S.A.) - Lysol douche liquid ad, 1948 (U.S.A.) - Marvel douche liquid ad, 1928 (U.S.A.) - Midol ad, 1938 - Midol booklet (selections), 1959 (U.S.A.) - Mum deodorant cream ad, 1926 (U.S.A.) - Myzone menstrual pain pills ad, 1952 (Australia) - Pristeen genital spray ad, 1969 (U.S.A.) - Spalt pain tablets, 1936 (Germany) - Sterizol douche liquid ad, 1926 (U.S.A.) - Vionell genital spray ad, 1970, with Cheryl Tiegs (Germany) - Zonite douche liquid ad, 1928 (U.S.A.)
The Perils of Vaginal Douching (essay by Luci Capo Rome) - The odor page (with a surprise or two)
See also PMS Crunch.


Lydia E. Pinkham's medicine business pages on MUM

"Her" handwritten letter to a sick woman, Typed letter to a Canadian (1918), Ad from the Salt Lake Weekly Herald (1881) for Mrs. Pinkham, trade cards (flowers, girl with cat), post card of Stanford University, a bottle for Lydia Pinkham's Vegetable Compound, mending kit, booklet Stretching Your Dollar, bottles for her Blood Medicine and (just plain) Medicine, The Happy BabyHome Talks, Private Text-Book Upon Ailments Peculiar to Women, Fruits and Candies booklet, Come into the Kitchen recipe booklet, and a modern bottle, box and instructions for her Tablets.
A discussion of the letter testimonials, and their authenticity, of the Pinkham company (in a discussion of a Pursettes ad with a letter testimonial)
See three letters to MUM about the ingredients of her Compound, and one about the lyrics of an English pop song, Lily the Pink, (and parody of "Yes, We Have No Bananas" from an American newspaper) about her.


In 1875, after her husband went bankrupt, Lydia Estes Pinkham started probably the first widely successful business run by a woman in America. Her product was a medicine for "all those painful Complaints and Weaknesses so common to our best female population," meaning mostly menstruation. Even though Mrs. Pinkham had been in the temperance movement, as a student of phrenology she had studied human nature, and almost 20% of her concoction was alcohol, which she said acted "as [a] solvent and preservative," certainly solving many a problem and preserving not a few of her fellow citizens. Many similar medicines of the past used alcohol as a main ingredient (Pe-ru-na - Peruna, for example), (continued below picture)


which was often the only way respectable women were able to enjoy the intoxicant. And during the banning of alcoholic beverages in America, especially in the 1920s, the Pinkham "medicine" enjoyed its greatest success.

The Brooklyn Bridge decorates a trade card (above, 4" x 2.5", 5.1 x 6.4 cm), black and white) for her product. Companies advertised their products on these cards, which were available free in stores. Sometimes consumers collected them and even pasted them into albums. This card probably dates from the late nineteenth century (the Brooklyn Bridge was completed in 1883, the year she died). The sign hanging from the bridge is as imaginary as the claims she made for her compound, which are listed on the back of the card. (But read two objections to my assertion.) The words below the picture give some data about the bridge, a wonder of its day, which is perhaps what Mrs. Pinkham wanted Americans to believe about her cure.

NEXT: See the back of the card. See more Mrs. Pinkham, below and above.

The Schlesinger Library, of the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, part of Harvard University, has probably the largest collection of material about the Pinkham enterprise, the records of the Lydia E. Pinkham Medicine Company.
Part of the donation of SarahAnne Hazelwood to this museum, much of it patent medicine and old medical equipment, was a very interesting biography and study of Mrs. Pinkham's business, Female Complaints: Lydia Pinkham and the Business of Women's Medicine, by Sarah Stage.
See modern home remedies here.
Handwritten letter to a sick woman, Typed letter to a Canadian (1918), Ad from the Salt Lake Weekly Herald (1881) for Mrs. Pinkham, trade cards (flowers, girl with cat), post card of Stanford University, a bottle for Lydia Pinkham's Vegetable Compound, mending kit, booklet Stretching Your Dollar, bottles for her Blood Medicine and (just plain) Medicine, Home Talks, Private Text-Book Upon Ailments Peculiar to Women, Fruits and Candies booklet, and a modern bottle, box and instructions for her Tablets. A discussion of the letter testimonials, and their authenticity, of the Pinkham company (in a discussion of a Pursettes ad with a letter testimonial)
See two letters to MUM about the ingredients of her Compound, and one about the lyrics of an English pop song, Lily the Pink, about her.
Other amazing women: Nelli Bly, Dr. Marie Stopes, Dr. Grace Feder Thompson
See also the patent medicine Cardui, Dr. Grace Feder Thompson's letter appealing for patients, Dr. Pierce's medicines, and Orange Blossom medicine.
© 1999 Harry Finley. It is illegal to reproduce or distribute any of the work on this Web site in any manner or medium without written permission of the author. Please report suspected violations to hfinley@mum.org

© 1998, 2005 Harry Finley. It is illegal to reproduce or distribute work on this Web site in any manner or medium without written permission of the author. Please report suspected violations to hfinley@mum.org _uacct = "UA-283837-1"; urchinTracker();