Remedy for women

Remedy for women
Accession number: 
John Johnson Collection: Patent Medicines 5 (48a)
Bodleian Libraries, University of Oxford

This advertising card promotes a remedy for women that was patented by the Lydia E. Pinkham Medicine Company of Massachusetts. The wintry, moonlit scene suggests that the mixture has a cooling effect that will help relieve the symptoms of period pain or hot flushes. In fact, Pinkham’s natural herbal concoction also contained 20% alcohol.

Lydia E. Pinkham’s Vegetable Compound (Lynn, Massachusetts, c. 1880–90)


Lydia Pinkham in Music 


Did you know that the tonic and its advertisement were the inspiration for a song that was No. 1 in the UK Singles Chart for four weeks in a row? The song Lily the Pink (music video below) was released in November 1968 by the comedy group, The Scaffold. Each verse tells a different story of the effect of the ‘medicinal compound’, such as 

Robert Tony, was known to be bony
He would never eat his meals
And so they gave him medicinal compound
Now they move him round on wheels

Lily the Pink was based on an American folk (or drinking) song, The Ballad of Lydia Pinkham, which had become popular in the United States by World War I