Happy St. Patrick’s Day by Pat Conrad MD

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On this most blessed and joyful occasion, I got to wondering about our medical history from the Emerald Isle.  Prior to 322 A.D. there “was a physician called Dian Cécht, which means God of Health. He had seven children, among them Miach and Airmed who were also herbal physicians and surgeons.  Dian Cécht was jealous of his son Miach’s                                       superior surgery and struck his head with a sword (talk about a ‘disruptive physician’!). The blow was superficial and only cut the flesh.

Miach healed it easily. Dian Cécht struck again and this time cut through to the bone. Again, his son healed it and this so enraged Dian Cécht that he struck his son with a sword for the third time. (Typical doctor’s lounge behavior) This time the blow penetrated the membrane of his brain but, again, his son was able to heal it. (At this point the innumerable ICD-10 codes for ‘initial’ and subsequent’ come into play).  Unfortunately for Miach, Dian Cécht assaulted him for a fourth time and succeeded in cutting out his brain. This time he died (or was promoted to hospital HIPPA coordinator). Dian Cécht buried his son and subsequently 365 herbs grew up through the grave corresponding to the number of his joints and sinews. His sister, Airmed (the earliest reported helicopter service), uprooted these herbs according to their properties and spread them out on her cloak. Dian Cécht mixed up the herbs so no one would know their proper healing qualities.”  That might be where the origin of “generics” arises, but I can’t prove it.

Some Irish folk remedies for common ailments include:


  • For a cold, boil together hazel-buds, dandelion, chickweed, wood sorrel and oatmeal, and drink the mixture morning and evening.
  • For earaches, put black sheep wool placed in the ear alleviates earaches.
  • Tying a cluster of mint leaves around the wrist relieves common stomach disorders.
  • To avoid toothaches (prevention is after all the game), never shave on Sunday. For an existing toothache, rub the tooth of a dead horse over the sore part of the jaw.  And if it works, then you can use the rest of the horse.
  • Pounding together two plants, woodbine and maiden-hare, then boiling them in new milk along with oatmeal will cure dysentery when ingested three times daily.
  • If bitten by a dog, a touch from the hand of seventh son can help heal the wound (hope you’re Catholic!). 
  • Drinking a mixture of boiled down carrot juice will purify blood.
  • A stitch in the side will ease when the area is rubbed with unsalted butter and the sign of the cross is made over the area seven times.

Will any of this stuff work?  Beats me.  But given the New Age of Non-Physician Medicine now assaulting us, it couldn’t hurt to pick up a couple of tricks.  My herbal remedy for dealing with the brain cramps brought on by ICD’s, ACA’s, AMA’s, EHR’s, PCH’s, and so many other 3-molecule toxins will be a mixture of cooked grains and herbs, black as night, with a gloriously frothy head, served in pints, of which I will be having several today.  Slainte’!

49950cookie-checkHappy St. Patrick’s Day by Pat Conrad MD