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Ireland’s Hidden Medicine
An Exploration of Irish Indigenous Medicine from Legend and Myth to the Present Day
Rosarie Kingston
ISBN: 9781913504977
Book (Paperback)
AEON Books, AEON Books
$24.95
6 x 9
172 pages
b&w illustrations
November 29, 2021


Currently Not Available for Purchase

For Sale in North America Only

Ireland’s Hidden Medicine traces the path and fortunes of Irish indigenous medicine from the legendary god of medicine, Déin Chécht, to today. Unlike the great scribal medical traditions, Ireland’s indigenous medicine is based on medical knowledge passed on orally to each succeeding generation.


This journey explores the difference in worldview between biomedicine and indigenous medicine, before it sketches the changing fortunes of this indigenous tradition from the coming of Christianity, through the law tracts and the medical manuscripts of the Middle Ages, to its demise with the fall of the old Gaelic order in the seventeenth century. From there the book examines how some knowledge could have disseminated within the wider community before exploring the factors that influenced its decline in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.


Irish indigenous medicine is like a diamond hidden in plain sight with its beauty present in the Irish landscape, festivals, and language. Yet its riches are not realized and it is ignored it to the detriment of health and wellbeing. Ireland’s Hidden Medicine is an important step in changing this.

Rosarie Kingston practises as a medical herbalist in an integrative medical practice in West Cork, Ireland, and lectures on ‘Herbs and healing in Irish folklore’, in the Folklore and Ethnology department, University College, Cork. Her MSc thesis examined the therapeutic use of Crataegus monogyna whereas her PhD dissertation examined Irish vernacular medicine today. She considers this blending of science and traditional knowledge important in clinical practice. She is involved with the Irish College of Traditional and Integrative Medicine (ICTIM) where health care professionals are trained to integrate traditional knowledge.
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