For centuries, healing women know which herbs can help. We gathered some knowledge of these old home remedies.
Alpine dairymaiden, peasant women, midwives and herbwifes used to make teas, ointments, tinctures and other remedies that would help to relieve the symptoms of especially female ailments. In remote alpine pastures and farms, the women were usually on their own in case of illness and trusted in the home remedies passed down from generation to generation.
In these records you can find proven formulas that continue to apply to rural women today – to relieve bladder infections, menstrual cramps, pregnancy sickness and menopausal symptoms, to facilitate labor and to strengthen the abdomen, but also to care for the skin and hair.
Old peasant wisdom
An old peasant wisdom: what flourishes around the house is what the person who lives in it needs.
Many of the medicinal plants for women grow in every garden – for example, sage, which has been called ‘women’s herb’ since antiquity. Its effect on annoying hot flashes during menopause and as an aid in weaning, the women appreciate to the present day.
Yarrow, which in the vernacular has such sonorous names as “eyebrow of Venus”, “women’s thanks” or “divine hand”, also has highly respected characteristics in gynecology. The delicately fragrant of the plant is said to regulate bleeding during the period, to cure sore nipples during lactation and to release abdominal cramps.
Like many other women’s herbs, the yarrow was also credited with great magical powers. For centuries, ‘wise women’ smoked the flowers to read the future in the rising smoke. This ritual is sometimes performed even today in the twelve nights after Christmas.
“Woman smock” for the tea
In women’s peasant gynecology, the lady’s mantle, which covers the alpine pastures with its fingered leaves, still enjoys a great reputation. Traditionally, the herb is used as a tea during the period to reduce heavy bleeding and relieve cramping.
Another herb used by generations of rural women in this type of ailment is silverweed. The small plant is said not only a relaxing, but also a calming effect. Therefore, the herbal milk helps drunk at bedtime, even when falling asleep.
In addition to the women’s herbs, the traditional recipes use “ingredients” that are found on every farm or in the kitchen. Wraps with clay – a common remedy – help after weaning with aching breasts, dried plums bring the intestine in constipation in the backwash and a foot bath in cold water strengthens the organs in the abdomen.
And for their beauty, the women plundered the pantry already then and mixed hair treatments with egg, face masks with cream and Quark and hand poultice with lukewarm mashed potatoes.