Leigheasann Tonn a’ Chladaich / Thrifty Gaelic Cures

Tha tonn a’ chladaich na leigheas airson dà thinneis, a rèir beul-aithris / Traditional lore identifies thrift as means of curing two ailments.

Leigheas airson Trom-inntinn is Ceann-daoraich

’S e tonn a’ chladaich (ris an can cuid neòinean a’ chladaich) luibh dhùthchasach cho iongantach ’s a th’ againn, agus e a’ fàs bho thaobh na mara, far am bi e air a chòmhdachadh le sàl aig amannan, gu ruige creachannan nam beann air a’ Ghàidhealtachd. Bidh a’ mhòr mhòr-chuid againn ga aithneachadh air na blàthan liath-dhearg aige a tha pailt agus brèagha eadar am Màrt is an t-Sultain.

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Tha an lus aithnichte mar leigheas airson dà thinneas. Ann an Tiriodh, bhathar ga chleachdadh an aghaidh dìth-lùths agus trom-inntinn ann an clann, nuair a bhiodh iad air an adhbharachadh le clisgeadh no eagal. Bha na Tiristich eòlach air an tinneas mar bàrr a’ ceann (sic). Bhite a’ cruinneachadh còrr is trithead freumh de thonn a’ chladaich, gan glanadh is gan cunntadh. Bhiodh na ciad ochd freumhaichean air an gleidheadh, agus an naoidheamh fear air a shadail a-mach. Bhathar a’ dèanamh an aon rud dà thuras eile, gus an robh meall ann de cheithir freumhaichean air fhichead. Bha iad sin air am pronnadh gu mìn agus air an cur ann am poca beag a bhiodh air a chrochadh bho amhaich an leanaibh. Bhite a’ cruinneachadh nam freumhaichean air trì latha – Didòmhnaich, Diardaoin agus an ath Dhidòmhnaich, no Diardaoin, Didòmhnaich agus an ath Dhisathairne – agus bhiodh e ceart gu leòr an cur a-null thairis sa phost – cho fada ri Astràilia.

Tha leigheas eile an cois tonn a’ chladaich cuideachd – rudeigin a dh’fhaodadh a bhith feumail aig an àm seo dhen bhliadhna. Anns na 1930an, fhuaireadh fios bho sgiobair an MV Loch Mòr ann an Uibhist a Deas gun dèanadh na lusan sin leigheas air a’ cheann-daoraich. Bhiodh bad de na lusan, air an spìonadh leis na freumhaichean slàn, air a ghoil airson còrr is uair a thìde. An dèidh dha fionnarachadh, bhiodh duine a bh’ air a bhith ri deoch is daorach, ag òl an lionna gu slaodach. Bhiodh sin ga dheisealachadh airson oidhche mhòr eile air tìr.

A Maritime Cure for Melancholy and Hangover

Thrift, also known as Sea Pinks (Armeria maritima), is a native herb with an amazing distribution, being found in plenty from our salt-lashed shores to the very tops of our mountains. The most common Gaelic name for the species – tonn a’ chladaich ‘wave of the shore’ – reflects its abundance in our maritime environment. Indeed, what Scottish child has wandered our rocky shores in the summer months and not marvelled at its wonderful pink blooms?

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What is perhaps less well known is the use of the species in Gaelic Scotland as a cure for ‘listlessness and melancholy [in children], usually resulting from a bad shock or fright’. At least, that was the tradition recorded in Tiree, where it was employed as a remedy for a mental affliction known locally as bàrr a’ ceann. Over thirty clean green roots of thrift were taken and counted. The first eight were retained, and the ninth discarded (nine being a special number in traditional Gaelic lore). This was repeated twice more until there was a heap of twenty-four roots. These were ground down to the consistency of sand and put into a small bag which was tied around the child’s neck (back or fore). The roots would be harvested on three days – a Sunday, Thursday and the following Sunday or, alternatively, on a Thursday, Sunday and Saturday – and could be posted to wherever they would be used, even being sent as far as Australia. The second and third days’ harvests would be added to the bag, without the previous materials being removed.

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A second remedy connected to thrift might be considered useful by some at this ‘festive’ time of year. It is a cure for a hangover, and was collected in South Uist in the 1930s. A bunch of the plants, pulled out with their roots intact, would be boiled for an hour or more. Left to cool and then drunk slowly, the informant (the redoubtable skipper of the MV Lochmor, no less) claimed that the potion made the consumer ‘ready for the next night ashore.’

All photos (C)Lorne Gill/SNH

 

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