Brown’s Vegetable Cure for Female Weakness

After months of working on this embroidery (blame my female weakness. And the fact that embroidering all those tiny lines was TE.DE.IOUS.), I am happy to finally share with you “Brown’s Vegetable Cure for Female Weakness” ! What was Brown’s Vegetable Cure for Female Weakness, you may ask? AN ACTUAL PRODUCT, way back when. I found it in a Sears catalog from the turn of the century. No, the one before that.
Behold the description, straight from said catalog (the 1897 edition) {all caps etc. theirs}:

For Female Weakness, Failing of the Womb, Leucorrhoea, irregular and Painful Menstruation, Inflammation and Ulceration of the Womb, Flooding, and ALL FEMALE DISORDERS.
This Remedy is immediate in Effect. It is a blessing in pregnancy; saves you a world of suffering. For all kidney troubles and diseases it has no equal. For all weaknesses of the generative organs of either sex, it is a wonderful remedy. WOMEN DO NOT SUFFER SO! Brown’s Vegetable Cure will cure you. In all female disorders it is the greatest remedy of the age. If you have any of the following symptoms, take this remedy at once and be cured: Nausea and bad taste in mouth, sore feeling in lower part of bowels, an unusual discharge, impaired general health, feeling of languor, sharp pain in region of kidney, backache, dull pain in small of back, pain in passing water, bearing down feeling, a desire to urinate frequently, a dragging sensation in the groin, courses irregular, timid, nervous and restless feeling, a dread of some impending evil, temper wayward and irritable, a feeling of fullness, sparks before the eyes, gait unsteady, pain in womb, swelling in front, pain in breastbone, pain when courses occur, hysterics, temples and ears throb, sleep short and distorted, whites, impaired digestion, headache, trouble with sight or hearing, dizziness, morbid feeling and the blues, palpitation of the heart, nerves weak and sensitive, appetite poor, a craving for unnatural food, spirits depressed, nervous dyspeptic symptoms, a heavy feeling and pain in back upon exertion, fainting spells, difficulty in passing water, habitual constipation, cold extremities. If you have any of these symptoms send to us for Brown’s Vegetable Cure and be cured at once. Doctors may not help you, other remedies may have failed, but Brown’s Vegetable Cure will cure quickly, pleasantly and permanently. Thousands have been cured who have considered their case incurable. Invalids have been made well and strong. DO NOT DELAY, oner bottle will help and convince you. 6 BOTTLES WILL CURE ANY CASE OD FEMALE WEAKNESS, no matter how severe or how long standing.
No. D1511 – Large Bottles…..60c – 1/2 doz……$3.00

Note: no mention at all is made to what was actually in this stuff.

What can I say? The ancient promise of a cure to all possible kidney, circulatory, mental illness, constipation, sleep trouble, and general “female weakness” captured my imagination. I turned their ad into an embroidery pattern, spent hours (and hours and hours) embroidering it, and then stitched it onto the girliest fabric I could muster. Then I scattered more foofy girly trim all around, you know, to appeal to the ladies. Then I succumbed to female weakness for awhile. (Oh! My period!) When I finally recovered, I listed it on Etsy. Because that is what you do. Well, that’s what I do, anyway.

About Claire

Absolutely Small is textile artist Claire Chambers. Claire Chambers is a crazy-pants artist/crafter who spends most of her time indoors, very near to Portland, Oregon. She likes making people laugh, chickens and pugs, and writing about herself in the third person. She is utterly obsessed with making things out of fabric.

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