Folk medicine | as used by the Norwegians | Norway

Do you have trouble sleeping? Here are some examples of how the old Norwegians used Mother Nature’s very own remedies to cure their ailments.
LA Dahlmann | talk NORWAY
Honey. | Photo: Valentyn Volkov - adobe stock - copyright.
Honey. | Photo: Valentyn Volkov - adobe stock - copyright.

Long before doctors

Long before doctors and modern-day laboratories, our ancestors used plants and other natural remedies to help cure their ailments. Through trial and error, each generation added to the knowledge pool and passed it on to the next. Even today, many people swear by what we define as folk medicine. Here is a selection of home remedy advice, collected from people living in all corners of the Norwegian landscape.

NB! Before you read on, please remember that many of us living today have an important advantage: access to a doctor. Please pay her a visit if you are not feeling well. – And remember: if you test out any of the following treatments, you do so at your own peril. Always be vigilant and careful.

Insomnia

Take one tablespoon of honey in the evening, and you will soon feel tired and long for your bed.

Headaches

(1) Tea made from leaf buds taken from the birch tree eases your migraine.
(2) To prevent a headache, take two teaspoons of honey at every meal. If the headache is already there, eat a tablespoon of honey; it quickly finds its way into the bloodstream.
(3) Bring equal measures of water and apple cider vinegar to the boil. Inhale the steam coming from the pan 75 times. This makes the headache go away – or significantly reduces it.

Toothache

Place a piece of resin – from the pine tree or the Norway spruce tree – next to the aching tooth.

Warts

Wash the wart with juice squeezed out of a dandelion – using the whole plant. Repeat twice a day.

Dandelion. | Photo: Dmitriy Syechin - adobe stock - copyright.
Dandelion. | Photo: Dmitriy Syechin – adobe stock – copyright.

Wrinkles – and dry skin

(1) Rub your face with dairy cream and leave it on as a facemask. Wash off using lukewarm boiled water.
(2) Wash your face, neck, and hands in lukewarm milk; presumably of the full-fat variety.

Insect bite

(1) To ease the urge to scratch: wring out a washcloth in water as hot as you can bear – and press it towards the affected skin. Repeat at least two or three times.
(2) Use crushed cabbage leaves, kept in place with a bandage.

Healing open wounds

According to Sami tradition, an open wound heals best when covered with transparent, liquid resin from the Norway spruce. You usually find this liquid resin on young trees.

Infected wounds

Use crushed cabbage leaves to heal infected wounds. Apparently, the cabbage extracts the infection from the injury. After a while, wash off with boiled and salted water – and repeat.

Back pain

(1) Mix 1 tablespoon of vinegar and 1 litre of warm water. Wash your back with the mixture – and then cover with warm clothing.
(2) If you have sciatica, rub raw onion onto the painful areas.

Haemorrhoids

Having problems with the digestive system is not just a modern-day thing. Place cabbage leaves dipped in boiling water around the affected area to relieve the discomfort.

Slimming

Chew on some raw celeriac – apium graveolens – to subdue the feeling of hunger.

Celeriac - or celery root. | Photo: Dmytro - adobe stock - copyright.
Celeriac – or celery root. | Photo: Dmytro – adobe stock – copyright.

There you have it

Well there you have it, some remedies used by the old Norwegians – and probably all around the world. And once again: when dealing with natural remedies, always be vigilant and careful.

Main sources: «Folkemedisin fra hele landet» by Ardis Kaspersen – Landbruksforlaget 1994. | «Medisinplantene, er det fortsatt bruk for dem?» by Sigbjørn Dunfjeld – 1998.

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