Imagine my surprise when I went looking for a remedy for hot flashes recently––strictly for historical research, of course––and I ran across this:
Lydia Pinkham's Vegetable Compound
As it turns out, Lydia Pinkham's Vegetable Compound was the mother of all patent medicines in the 19th century. And in the 1880s, Lydia Pinkham was a household name. The ingredients in her famous vegetable compound were Motherwort, Gentian, Jamaican Dogwood, Black Cohosh, Pleurisy Root, Licorice, and Dandelion. And one more important ingredient that wasn't listed on the label...
Snippets from Lydia's story:
Lydia Pinkham began selling her home-brewed herbal remedy to make ends meet after her wealthy husband went bankrupt, and developed a patent medicine empire. In an age when women were second-class citizens, Lydia Pinkham not only succeeded in a man's world, she became a business magnate. In the field of marketing, she is considered a pioneer and an innovater in marketing to women.
Lydia Pinkham's Vegetable Tonic was a popular remedy for "female complaints" and the elixer was promised to cure every womanly ailment from menstrual discomfort to infertility to the dreaded prolapses uteri. Advertisements claimed there was "a baby in every bottle," and women of the time, uncomfortable discussing feminine problems with male doctors, turned to Lydia. Many were scandalized when, as required by the new Pure Food and Drug act, it was revealed that the tonic was 20% alcohol.
One advertisement from the era claimed that men loved her medicine because it made women "so much easier to live with." (Mmhmm, I'm sure it did.) Another exclaimed "Don't blame her! She cannot help it!" (I think I'll use that one the next time Joe and I have a disagreement.)
And guess what? Lydia Pinkham's Herbal Compound (they changed the name) is still available today on Amazon and in some local stores. (I've ordered some––sans alcohol––and will let you know how it works.) I seriously doubt that Lydia Pinkham had a clue, over a hundred-plus years ago, what a lasting influence her product would have and how long it would be around. Of course that got me to thinking...
Is what I'm doing with my life going to stand the test of time? I'm not talking about my writing, per se, or our various jobs (though those are important), but rather I'm referring to how we treat others, what marks we leave as we pass through this life. Are we leaving situations and people "better" than when we found them? Are we helping people in their journey? Are we making someone's journey here lighter? Or are we adding to their burden? Are we living and leaving behind a legacy of Christ?
In Ephesians 4, Paul writes,
As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.
Like Paul, I urge us to live lives worthy of our calling this week, whatever situation we find ourselves in. May we be humble, gentle, patient, and loving to those around us. And may we make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. Which will, of course, take every stinkin' ounce of the aforementioned humility, gentleness, patience and love through the power of Christ residing in us. ;)