Historical remedies for menstrual period pain and problems. See more remedies here.
See modern home remedies here.
Lydia Pinkham's Vegetable Compound:
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



DIRECTORY of all topics (See also the SEARCH ENGINE, bottom of page.)

CONTRIBUTE to Humor, Words and expressions about menstruation and Would you stop menstruating if you could?
Some MUM site links:
NEWS | homepage | LIST OF ALL TOPICS | MUM address & What does MUM mean? | e-mail the museum | privacy on this site | who runs this museum?? |
Amazing women! | the art of menstruation | artists (non-menstrual) | asbestos | belts | bidets | founder bio | 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, current | puberty booklets for girls and parents | religion | Religión y menstruación | your remedies for menstrual discomfort | menstrual products safety | science | Seguridad de productos para la menstruación | 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
Leer la versión en español de los siguientes temas: Anticoncepción y religión, Breve reseña - Olor - Religión y menstruación - Seguridad de productos para la menstruación.

Kidney-Wort medicine in
"Cousin John's Extravagant Wife" (late 19th century)

You had to say your prayers after seeing an American doctor when this booklet appeared in the late 19th century.

Henry Bigelow, the powerful professor of surgery at Harvard's medical school, told Harvard's Board of Overseers that the school's medical students couldn't pass a written examination for their M.D. degrees because more than half could barely write. "No medical school has thought it proper to risk large existing classes and large receipts by introducing more rigorous standards," he said. (Information and quote from John Barry, "The Great Influenza," 2005). (This would all change in the last years of the century with Johns Hopkins, which rocked the medical schools of America. A group of women donors insisted that if Hopkins wanted their money it had to admit only extraordinarily qualified students: those with bachelor's degrees and scientific and language training.)

So people fell prey to concoctions peddled in magazines, newspapers and other places - hmm, sounds like today! - like this booklet available in W.C. Bahr's store in Southport, Maine. Women's troubles - menstruation, abnormal bleeding from the uterus, hysteria, cancers of the breast and genitals, generally feeling lousy - occupied the attention of patent medicine makers, including this one, most famously Mrs. Lydia Pinkham, but also those who made Orange Blossom medicine, Cardui, and others.

Actually the booklet sold dyes and paint; medicine - "Kidney-Wort" - took 11 pages of 32. But the same company, Wells, Richardson, of London, offered both.

The cover story relates how Cousin John's wife seems to be throwing away money on colorful clothing and furnishings. The family is incensed! But she really is dyeing the items using Wells, Richardson colors - clever woman! as the relatives finally agree.

I wonder if some of the dye went into the Kidney-Wort? At about this time chemists pioneered synthetic dyes and pharmaceuticals, starting a powerful industry that reaps billions of dollars today.

Above: The cover of the 5" x 3.38" (12.8 x 8.5 cm) paper booklet. Cousin John's wife is responsible for the bright colors. 
 The girl at left, top picture, enviously eyes the effects of Wells, Richardson's Diamond dyes on the other's clothing and parasol.

Covers - First inside page - "Particularly for Ladies" - advertisement for Kidney-Wort

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© 2006 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
Harry Finley is the founder and director, and he created, writes and maintains this site.