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Cautionary Tales – the true scandal of Lydia E. Pinkham’s vegetable compound

It may remedy virtually any ‘feminine ailment’ – even most cancers – stated the adverts. However Lydia E. Pinkham’s Vegetable Compound was, actually, only a concoction of herbs and alcohol of no confirmed medicinal benefit. That didn’t cease determined American girls from shopping for bottles of the stuff – and writing to Lydia Pinkham for medical recommendation.

Why did her clients shun ‘skilled’ docs and decide as an alternative for quack medicines? And why, when Lydia Pinkham lastly got here in for criticism, did nobody query the efficacy of her vegetable compound?

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Additional studying

Sarah Stage’s indispensable biography of Lydia Pinkham is Feminine Complaints.

Different books in regards to the historical past of medication (and quackery) embrace

Eric Jameson The Pure Historical past of Quackery

Stuart Holbrook The Golden Age of Quackery

James Harvey Younger The Toadstool Millionaires

Druin Burch Taking the Medication

Supplemented by Britannica’s biography of Thomas W Dyott and “Was There Actually a Dr Robertson?

Different sources on Lydia Pinkham:

Jean Burton Lydia Pinkham is Her Title

Rebecca Rego Barry “Was Lydia E. Pinkham the Queen of Quackery?

On how girls have been handled by the medical occupation see additionally

Elinor Cleghorn Unwell Girls

Caroline Criado Perez Invisible Girls

Werner Troesken’s traditional article in regards to the economics of snake oil is The Elasticity of Demand With Respect to Product Failures: see additionally Chris Dillow’s essay about Troesken and politics.   



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