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TALES from the FRONT PORCH

Ringgold County's Oral Legend & Memories Project

REMEDIES, CURES, and ADVERTISING

In the days before the internet, television, and radio, the general public received information about remedies and cures through advertising in the newspapers and magazines. This, being pre-FDA approval days before ingredients were disclosed. Instead, the advertisment would state what the remedy or cure would do for the patient. For example, Brown's Vegetable Cure would take care of:

Nausea and bad taste in mouth, sore feeling in lower part of bowels, impaired general health, sharp pain in region of kidneys, pain in passing water, bearing down feeling, timid, nervous, and restless feeling, a dread of some impending evil, temper wayward and irritable, sparks before the eyes, pain in womb, swelling in front, pain in breastbone, hysterics, temples, and ears throb, sleep short and disturbed, whites, headache, dizziness, morbid feeling and the blues, nerves weak and senstivie, appetite poor, a craving for unnatural food, fainting spells, a heavy feeling and pain in back upon exertion, cold extremities. . . .The remedy will bring not only relief but a cure, as it has in thousands of cases of suffering women who have given this medicine a fair test. Invalids have been made well and strong. Do not delay, one bottle will help and convince you.

Often the advertisements included testimonials from satisfied customers. Such as the letter Mrs. W. L. Arnold, a satisfied and grateful woman from Leon, Iowa, wrote to the Brown's Vegetable Cure Company:

It gives me great pleasure to tell you of the good I have obtained from Brown's Vegetable Cure. I used the Cure for female weakness and I have received more help and benefit from it than I have ever received from any other medicine that I have tried.

I have been a constant sufferer for a number of years and have tried a great number of remedies and have doctored for all of these years, but did not seem to get any stouter until after using Brown's Vegetable Cure, which is invaluable for female weakness or change of life. . . .I was just telling my husband the other day that Brown's Vegetable Cure had done me more good than all the rest of the medicines I have taken put together.

A few columns over would be an advertisment for Dr. Worden's Female Pills. Brown's Vegetable Cure and Dr. Worden's Female Pills had the exact same virtues and proclaimed to cure the same ailments. Brown's was in a liquid form and sold for fifty-cents a bottle. Worden's was in a pill form and sold for thirty-eight-cents a box.

I'm not sure exactly what female trouble and weakness might have been in the late 1800's and early 1900's. According to the advertisements, it was a horrible thing for women to experience.The advertisments stated that:

Female Trouble. What a world of misery is expressed in these two words. What headaches, nausea, weakness, sickness, depression, is the direct result of the derangement of the delicate female organism. Every woman well understands, far better than pen or words can tell, the suffering her sex must undergo by what is known as female trouble; suffering which is usually borne in silence, because only a woman can be confided in.

What a difference 100 years makes. Now, remedy and cure advertisements not only tells us what can be cured, we are also given a "laundry" list of side effects and warnings.

May cause nausea, bad taste in mouth, sore feeling in lower part of bowels, sharp pains in kidney region, timid, nervous, restless feeling, a dread of some impending evil, wayward and irritable temper, sparks before eyes, pain in womb, swelling in front, pain in breastbone, hysterics, throbbing temple and ears, sleep deprivation, headaches and dizziness, depression, poor appetite, a craving for unnatural food, fainting spells, heavy feeling and pain in the back upon exertion, cold extremities. . .

That's when you go to the medicine cabinet and take either a dose of Brown's Vegetable Cure or one of Dr. Worden's Female pills to combat side effects from modern-day medication.

Submission by Sharon R. Becker, September of 2009

To contribute to "Tales from the Front Porch: Ringgold County's Oral Legend & Memories Project"
contact Sharon R. Becker at
srbecker@windstream.net.
Please include the word "Ringgold - Front Porch" in the subject line. Thank you.


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