Travellers Cures

Long ago we did not have access to Doctors as we were travelling. We used cures, we believed in them.
These cures are not a substitute for medical advice, please consult your doctor or nurse for medical advice:

Barley Water

Barley water was given and recommended for urinary tract infection and even diabetes.


Dandelions were used as a medicine.

A family from Limerick used to harvest the roots and sell them as a medicine to other families in the travelling community.

Chicken Broth

Chicken broth was used for general health, especially urinary tract or bladder infection.

Goose Grease

Goose grease was used for burns, cuts and skin conditions.

Onion in a Stocking

An onion was put in a silk stocking and then wrapped around your throat, this would clear up a
sore throat.


We used to tie a cloth tight around the head. This would get rid of headaches.

Dock Leaf

Dock leaf took away stings of nettles.

We used to sing a rhyme ‘dock leaf, dock leaf take away the sting of nettle.’ You would just place the dock leaf directly on the sting.

Our Hair

Our hair used to be thick and healthy. There were no posh products or chemicals used. We used to wash our hair in the bog water, no shampoo or conditioner was used. It was the juice of the bog water along with sterilised water.


Moss was used to treat cuts.

White of egg

White of egg: this was used to treat nappy rashes.


We never had skin conditions because we ate fresh fruit and berries from the land.

Medicine for Horses

Tissue thorns (sticky grass) Cleavers were used to treat horses- animals always eat this to clear their intestinal tract.

Mugwort was used for parasitic worms in the horses gut.

Alexander leaves were used as a healing bandage to heal wounds.

Pig manure was used to stop a wound bleeding on a horse, the only cure to save a severe injury.