April 7 is World Health Day, a global health awareness day celebrated every year under the sponsorship of the World Health Organization (WHO).

With that in mind, we decided to turn our minds to some ancient Irish cures for varying ailments to improve your health.

Shakespeare’s witches, with their "Eye of newt, and toe of frog”, could well have been related to some of our Irish ancient ancestors if some of these remedies are to be believed. From healing dead hands, hair clippings, ancient Feng Shui and disgusting drinks and potions, ancient Irish superstitions and remedies were certainly strange.

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A dead hand as a cure

A local death would cure the communities ailments.

A local death would cure the communities ailments.


The hand of a corpse was believed to be a cure for all diseases.  Sick people would be brought to a house where a corpse was laid out so that the hand could be laid on them. Similarly, the corner of the sheet used to wrap a corpse was used to cure a headache or a swollen limb.

Irish cure for burns 

Image: Getty images.

Image: Getty images.


The candles used at funerals were also thought to have curative powers. The butts of the candles would be saved to cure burns. Another Irish cure for burns is said to be a raw potato.

Ancient Irish immunity-booster

Image: Getty images.

Image: Getty images.


A bunch of mint tied around your wrist was thought to cure stomach disorders as well as warding off infection and disease.

Ancient Irish Feng Shui

Image: Getty images.

Image: Getty images.


The Irish believed that a sick person’s bed should face north to south and never east to west.

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Ancient Irish graveyard cure

Pick yourself up some nettles!

Pick yourself up some nettles!


Nettles gathered from a churchyard and boiled down were believed to cure water retention when boiled down into a drink.

Ancient Irish seaside cure

Credit:Photocall Ireland

Credit:Photocall Ireland


The ancient Irish believed that if a person had a fever they should be placed on the shore when the tide is coming in. When the tide retreats it would carry the fever and the disease with it.

Ancient Irish cure using an iron ring


An iron ring worn on the fourth finger would ward off rheumatism.

Ancient Irish infertility cure

Image: Getty images.

Image: Getty images.


It was thought that the seed of dock leaves (Rumex) tied to the left hand of a woman would prevent her from being barren.

Ancient Irish blood purification

Image: Getty images.

Image: Getty images.


They believed that eating boiled down carrots would purify the blood.

Ancient Irish cure for fretting

Image: Getty images.

Image: Getty images.

The ancient Irish believed that the clippings of the hair and nails of a child tied in linen and placed under the ill person’s bed would cure convulsions and problems with fretting.

Read More: Have you heard of these strange ancient Irish cures for toothaches?

Source: www.the-irish-path.com

*Originally published December 2013

Do you know any ancient Irish cures? Let us know about them in the comments section, below!

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Some ancient Irish cures for World Health Day. Getty Images