Chichesters (or Chi-ches-ters or with 's) English Pennyroyal Diamond
Brand pills for menstruation problems like pain, scanty or no menses (amenorrhea,
dysmenorrhea), and probably abortion, 1890s-early 20th century, U.S.A.
Boxes, pills, texts
"Relief for Women" booklet
The donor of these many items writes:
Their [Chichester's] ads helped start the federal campaign about truth in advertising etc. You can see that not
only in the ads but the change on the tins.
The large tins are the store display that
would have held 12 of the smaller tins - all
sealed with the blue ribbon, which is why there is a hole in the bottom
of the tins to secure the ribbon. . . .
Chichesters first pills were called Chi-ches-ters Pennyroyal Pills.
It is argued that they had to change the label because they really did
not have pennyroyal [a plant] in them, others argue they had both pennyroyal
and tansy, and were toxic. Some deaths
were blamed on the early pills; more recent deaths have been said to be
caused by people using these herbs
The Nationl Library of Medicine writes this at http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/druginfo/natural/patient-pennyroyal.html
The essential oil of pennyroyal is considered toxic.
Death has been reported after consumption
of small amounts. A characteristic noted in most cases of pennyroyal overdose
is a strong minty smell on the patient's breath.
A possible role for N-acetylcysteine (NAC) in the management of pennyroyal
overdose has been suggested. However, this application has not been confirmed
by animal or human studies.
The essential oil of pennyroyal may act as an emmenagogue
(menstrual flow stimulant) and induce abortion. However, it may
do so at lethal or near-lethal doses, making this action unpredictable
and dangerous. Future research to determine the safety and efficacy
of the less toxic parts of the pennyroyal plant on the menstrual cycle
is needed before a recommendation can be made.
Harry Finley created the images.
I thank the retired teacher who donated this material
and the scans of the ads!
Below: Back cover (left) and front cover
of a booklet that came with the donation. I can't say if it was originally
associated with any of the other items, including the boxes shown later.
Just so you can savor the color, typography and text
I enlarged the covers more than the other pages. The plant design of the
words "Relief for Ladies," at right, might reflect the plant origin
of pennyroyal, but it's bizarre, isn't it? Maybe it mirrors the art movement
Art Nouveau, flourishing in the late 19th-to-early 20th centuries, which
used plant forms. Mixing many type faces typified the 19th century (look
at some the published scores of Beethoven's music) - designers now don't
like it, mostly - as did sinuous forms.
This describes the "new style" pill made after the company eliminated
the poisonous pennyroyal.
Below: Inside front cover (left) and page
1. All inside pages are black and white.
Each page (including of course the covers, above) measures 3.25 x 2.5"
(8.4 x 6.3 cm).
© 2007 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 email@example.com