The Midol of its time, it cured all sorts of ailments for women. Back then with medicines, they often cured MANY ailments.
We knew nothing of the brand until we heard it mentioned last week by a person born in the 1920s. She thought it was gone, but it turns out Lydia Pinkham medicine is is still sold.
Lydia Pinkham (1819-1883) developed the pills to help women with their female ailments. She was an early feminist of sorts, and her history is of course related to the women’s movement. (If interested there is a great Michigan research paper online about how it reflected women’s health trends.) Apparently, the company grew out of the Panic of 1873, when Lydia’s husband was broke. Then, she thought of the idea of selling her recipe.
Her house is in Lynn, Massachusetts; you must read Doris Linden’s history from Antique Bottle and Glass Collector to get the whole story. Apparently the folks in Lynn don’t care to much about this Oprah of the 1870s, but at least Doris has unearthed the full history.
Ingredients were licorice, chamomile, pleurisy root, Jamaica dogwood, black cohosh, life plant, fenugreek seed and dandelion root. Amazon still sells a version of the potion, though readers should always wary of any unregulated herbal medicines.
There are apparently two versions. Numark Laboratories of Edison, N.J. sells Lydia Pinkham Herbal Compound. There is also Lydia’s Secret sold by Time of Your Life Nutraceuticals of St. Petersburg, Florida.