Old Guernésiais Cures, Remedies & Superstitions

Being a small community isolated from the rest of the world it’s no surprise that Guernsey used to possess a rich set of folklore tales, ancient cures and remedies for ailments and many superstitious tales. Many will have been lost or forgotten over time but we’ve managed to gather together here some of the more intriguing and somewhat amusing wisdom of the old Guernésiais folk.

It is said that tea made from stinging nettles will cleanse the blood and purify it. A concoction of dandelion and dock roots will have the same effect

The traditional cure for warts is as follows :

Place two pearly buttons from a shirt into a bowl of lemon juice.

Leave to ferment for a while till the buttons are dissolved by the juices.

Place on affected area and leave to settle.

To cure rheumatism there are three different methods to choose from :

1. Rub the affected area with earth in which primroses have been well boiled.
2. Wear red flannel against the skin.
3. Rub the affected area with water from a blacksmith, i.e. the water used to cool his irons.

Kidney Vetch has leaves which can be used to stop bleeding. However since it grows only at Jaonnet in Alderney and in Sark one may have bled to death before it has been obtained!

It is said that to silence a dog or prevent him barking you must say three times whilst staring at him: “Bare Barbare. May thy tail hang down. May St Peter’s key close thy jaws until tomorrow”.

Boil a pot of nails on the fire on Friday to avert witchcraft.

Men should wear parsley under their arms to increase fertility.

A cure for acne and other skin eruptions is to run through a bush of brambles nine times over nine consecutive mornings.

In order to keep the devil away on dark nights, people should turn their coats inside out before wearing them.

Author: Robert

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