Lady Wilde (Oscar Wilde’s mother): an old Irish cure for impotence, and other cures.

From Lady Wilde’s fascinating book, Ancient Legends, Mystic Charms, and Superstitions of Ireland (Dublin: Ticknor, 1887).

AN ELIXIR OF POTENCY. Two ounces of cochineal, one ounce of gentian root, two drachms of saffron, two drachms of snakeroot, two drachms of salt of wormwood, and the rind of ten oranges. The whole to be steeped in a quart of brandy, and kept for use. 

FOR THE BITE OF A MAD DOG. Six ounces of rue, four ounces of garlic, two ounces of Venice treacle, and two ounces of pewter filings. Boil for two hours in a close vessel, in two quarts of ale, and give a spoonful fasting each morning till the cure is effected. The liquor is to be strained before use. 

A PRAYER AGAINST THE PLAGUE. “0 Star of Heaven, beloved of the Lord, drive away the foul constellation that has slain the people with the wound of dreadful death. O Star of the Sea, save us from the poison-breath that kills, from the enemy that slays in the night. Amen.”

To cure fever, place the patient on the sandy shore when the tide is coming jn, and the retreating waves will carry away the disease and leave him well.

To make the skin beautiful, wash the face in May dew upon May morning just at sunrise.

Paralysis is cured by stroking, but many forms and mystic incantations are also used during the process ; and only cer- tain persons have the power in the hands that can effect a cure by the magic of the stroke.

The seed of docks tied to the left arm of a woman will l)revent her being barren..

A spoonful of aqua vitae sweetened with sugar, and a little grated bread added, that it may not annoy the brain or the liver, will preserve from lethargy and apoplexy and all cold diseases.

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