Remedies: Great Britain and Ireland

Posted by Michael (New Zealand) on 09/24/2016
5 out of 5 stars

United Kingdom Folk Medicine Section.

When I was growing up on Alderney, Channel Islands in the early 1960s, we had a terrible out- break of "Foot and Mouth Disease"! We had thought that being on a small island would insulate us from what was going on in France or England at that time. However, it was thought that a bird (or birds) must have flown across the sea (from France, only nine miles away) bringing this disease with them on their feet. Anyway, all the small farms were devastated by this scourge, except for one farmer, and for a while no one could point to the reason why his farm should have been spared! Apparently he always hung a bunch of garlic and onions around his farm house and out-buildings and he maintained that this was the reason why his cattle did not catch the disease. Everyone had to step through strong disinfectant when alighting from plane or ship. All the Island's cattle carcasses had to be thrown into deep pits filled with lime and buried/burned. You might appreciate the angst and trauma all this caused to a small island economy, shortly after the German Occupation, when farmers were just beginning to resurrect the Alderney breed of cow. It is now extinct I believe.

Once a year the farmers on Alderney were required to meet at an appointed hour, before low tide, in a central square with their horses and carts to begin the process of collecting "vrack" or seaweed. It was considered to be such an important fertilizer, that if even one farmer could not make it to the square, they would all have to cancel and meet on another day. This was in the days before imported, chemical fertilizers (and mobile 'phones! ). They were fortunate to have huge quantities of seaweed thrown up by the fierce, Atlantic storms on to their beaches. It would have given great health benefits to the cattle as well as to the soil with the full range of minerals in perfect balance. The vrack would have also improved the structure / tilth of the soil too.

Cheers, Michael