Home of the old Vikings, Scandinavia is also the place of a rich tradition in folk medicine. Vikings were not only great warriors and navigators, but also great doctors and herbalists.
The cold northern lands provided Vikings with great remedies, they used for healing.
The 7 old home remedies here have been passed from the Vikings are still used today in Sweden, Norway and Finland, to say the least. The reason is that they actually work. Let’s see what they are.
In This Article You Will Find:
7 Old Home Remedies from the Vikings
1. Snow & Ice Remedies
As snow and ice were at their discretion, Vikings inhabiting Lapland have learned to use them as a cure for various conditions. This is how they used snow and ice for healing:
- Cough – Cool the soles with ice, then warm them as he/she can bare with a bottle of hot water.
- Frostbite – Massage the affected area with snow from the deeper layers, until the skin regains its color.
- Swelling, fresh bruising, bruising – Crush ice and apply it to the affected area, in a double canvas/cheese cloth.
- Neuralgia or back, hands and feet aches – Rub the sore area with ice or snow.
- Full body snow rubbing or ice water immersions are part of the viking “sauna” ritual, used to detoxify and tone, stimulate immunity, energize and rejuvenate the mind and body.
2. Birch Remedies for Skin & Hair
Thin and supple, birch is like the teenager of the woods. Birch tree is widely spread in the northern landscapes. The preparations obtained from its trunk, bark and leaves are very popular in Viking medicine, and still used today.
Here are the most important birch remedies for different uses.
- Prevention and treatment of kidney & bladder conditions (sand, stones, infections, edema, water retention) – Infuse a tablespoon of birch leaves in a cup of water and boil it for 2 hours. Drink the remedy slowly throughout the day, sip by sip. Drink equal amount of fresh water while sipping the tea.
- Boils, infections, swelling – Apply a thin layer of finely minced birch bark on the affected area.
- Hair tonic – Fill a jar with birch leaves, pour warm (not hot) water over and seal tightly. Shake periodically. After 8 hours, strain the content. Use the birch macerate to massage the roots of the hair. Don’t rinse it off. Used regularly, birch water stimulates the growth of healthy and vigorous hair.
- Acne, pimples, blemishes, fungal infections – Pad daily the affected skin areas with birch sap obtained in the spring, through incisions in the trunk.
- Irritated skin, itching – Massage the irritated skin with ash obtained from burnt birch bark.
Birch tree is also an emotional and energetic healer. If you want to learn more about it, read the article below.
3. Spruce Resin Balm
The resin of coniferous trees has been used for centuries in traditional Scandinavian medicine.
Vikings have used it to treat a wide variety of conditions, especially those of the skin. Fir and pine resins have powerful antimicrobial and skin repair properties.
You can make a natural ointment, Vikings used for various skin and muscle conditions.
How to Make Spruce Resin Balm
For this remedy you need: spruce resin, unsalted butter and beeswax.
- Mix well over steam 5 parts fresh butter, 1 part spruce resin and 1 part beeswax.
- Pour the balm into a balm container and kept in the fridge.
Vikings used this balm to treat:
- joint inflammation, muscle stiffness and skin diseases, ranging from ulcers, skin infections, crusts to skin rashes.
This remedy is actually a drink specific to the Nordic countries, dating back to the 15th century. The traditional recipe is based on four ingredients: anise, cumin, fennel and dill seeds.
Make Akvavit at Home
- Put 1 tsp of each: anise, cumin, fennel and dill seeds in a 1 liter bottle.
- Pour in 40-degrees alcohol until you fill the bottle up.
- Let the spices macerate for 3 to 4 days, then strain.
- If you prefer a sweeter taste, you can add one or two tablespoons of coconut sugar or natural dates syrup.
Akvavit is a wonderful-tasting appetizer next to smoked ham, herring or salmon. But most importantly, it is an old home remedy for the following conditions:
- Back, feet or gout aches – Massage the painful areas with Akvavit.
- Hoarseness – Rub your neck with Akvavit and take a teaspoon of this drink in the morning, on an empty stomach.
- Strengthening and energizing – It is especially recommended for elderly people who want a natural protection from flu and colds in the winter. Take 3 teaspoons a day, one before the three meals.
- Kidney stones – Take 1 tablespoon of Akvavit, every morning to dissolve and eliminates kidney stones. It also amazing against intestinal parasites.
- Headaches – Apply a Akvavit soaked poultice on the forehead and on the temple; the pain usually disappears.
5. Pine Decoction
Like birch forests, pine forests are pristine in Scandinavia. Vikings have used pine remedies mostly for lung conditions, colds and convalescence.
Here are a couple home remedies with pine, still used in the Nordic countries.
- Lung disease, cough – Pour 1 of boiling water over 6-7 tablespoons of minced pine buds. Cover the pot and let the buds infuse for 3 hours. Strain and drink 3-4 cups a day.
- Rheumatism, colds, weakness, convalescence – Take baths made with pine buds decoction.
6. Norwegian Angelica
Angelica (Angelica archangelica) is a yellow flower covering the northern wild pastures in the summer time. This flower is a symbol of the North, this is why it is commonly referred to as Norwegian Angelica.
Vikings used to harvest and dry the roots of this flowering plant at the beginning of summer.
During the hard harvest works and whenever they felt weak when the weather was colder, they would add angelica root powder to their teas.
Angelica is also a great remedy for hyperthyroidism.
Viking Remedies with Angelica
- Angelica tincture – Taken with a little honey, it heals cough, a sore throat, and strengthens the weakened body after disease.
- Angelic decoction – Prevents and cures colds, bronchitis, pneumonia. Prepare it by adding 1 teaspoon of angelica powder in a glass of water and simmer for two minutes. Take from the heat and leave to infuse 20 minutes, then strain. Drink one cup per day.
- Angelica root powder – This remedy facilitates digestion and stimulates appetite. Take one to two tablespoons a day, with a little water or tea.
- Angelica root powder infusion – Treats menstrual pain, stomach ulcers, cramps, and bloating. It also cuts the appetite for alcohol, helping those who want to stop drinking. It is easy to prepare. Scald a teaspoon of plant in a cup of hot water. Infuse for 10-15 minutes.
7. Iceland Moss
Another plant specific to Scandinavia and the northern countries, Iceland Miss has been a part of many ancient Viking cures. Today, Norwegians also add it to certain bread recipes.
Iceland Moss is known for its antitumoral, soothing, emollient and powerful antibiotic.
It has many health benefits for the stomach, liver and especially the pancreas, aiding in indigestion. This moss is also a natural remedy for the respiratory system, in bronchitis, laryngitis, tracheitis.
- Iceland Moss powder – Take 4-5 teaspoons a day, on an empty stomach, as tincture (found in pharmacies) or tea. You can prepare the tea as follows: boil 1 teaspoon of moss in a cup of water for 5 minutes. Leave covered until it cools down. Strain the tea and add a pinch of sodium bicarbonate. Drink up to 3 cups a day.
- Psoriasis, eczema, skin infection – Massage some moss on the affected area.
Old Viking Home Remedies Still Used Today
- Ear infection & ear pain – Insert a peeled clove of garlic wrapped in a small piece of cotton gauze in the infected/painful ear.
- Cough – Hold a piece of butter on the tongue, until it melts, then swallow.
- Boils – Apply a piece of fresh pork lard or bacon on the boil, and keep it there until the boil puss comes out.
- Severe pain – Press a coin or other silver item on the painful area.
- Pneumonia, rheumatic pain, headache, teeth, fractures – Burn a small piece of birch polypore fungus (Piptoporus betulinus) and then apply it directly to the affected area.
- Weakness, fatigue – Make a fortifying drink with reindeer (or buffalo) milk, sorrel plant and hot water.
- Constipation – Drink a hot broth made by boiling oatmeal in water.
Great warriors, explorers, the best sailors of their time, but also poets with a rich mythology, Vikings do not cease to fascinate us.
There’s been many series made about the Viking empire more recently.
But there is little we know about the old Viking medicine and remedies. Hopefully these viking home remedies here will help you discover the fascinating healing world of the Vikings, that they relied on, hundreds of years ago.