“Taking antibiotics for cold and flus just won't do”
This week, By-Mycin and Predinisolone came to the rescue in the face of the now annual bout of sinusitis. Modern medicine is working its wonders and normal, pain-free living should resume shortly. Having recently re-read Patrick Logan’s wonderful book, Irish Country Cures, I appreciate the ease with which I can swing from unwell to well again in a relatively short space of time. A short twenty-minute round trip provided all the advice and medicine I needed. Not so, in times gone by.
Many of the folk cures practiced by both men and women as part of “unofficial medicine” in Ireland showed a clear knowledge of the connection between the human body and nature. Treatments for obvious, visual diseases or illness – boils, warts, coughs, sprains, breaks etc. sometimes came from a knowledge of animal care, especially farm animals. This is particularly true of bone-setters who would have learned their trade from their fathers in a time before x-rays were employed or money readily available to pay for them.
Herbs and natural remedies were employed in various ways for ailments like whooping cough, the flu, indigestion and other sicknesses. Many of the cures are a curious mixture of nonsense and common sense. From muttering to a pig asking it to take away a child’s mumps, to the application of Ragwort on wounds and ulcers. Whatever about their efficacy or indeed safety, there is something fascinating about their history and use.