The Medicinal Herbs of Terryland Forest Park

“Ta luibh ar gach leigheas”- there is not a herb without a cure!
We have a long tradition of using herbs as medicines in Ireland, with written evidence going back hundreds of years.  Medicinal herbs also feature in Irish mythology.  Chú-chúlainn one of the great Irish heroes used meadowsweet to relieve pain and fever after battle (hence the old Irish name- Crios Chú- chúlainn ).
Common herbs like nettles, dandelion, plantain,horsetails and yarrow, found within the Terryland Forest Park were used throughout the country in the treatment of everyday ailments from skin conditions, headaches, earaches, wounds, to coughs and colds. Herbs were also valued as dyes, as ingredients in drinks and tonics, in love charms and stitched into clothes and hung over doorways as protection against illness.
Herbalists still proscribe many of our native plants as medicines in the treatment of a variety of chronic conditions. The discovery of important allopathic medicines can be attributed to common plants such as meadowsweet (Aspirin) and willow.
A walk through the park to discover the beauty and many delights of our simple and healing natural flora can enhance our connection with and appreciation of our native medicinal plants.


An Athair thalún (father earth), Lus na fola (blood herb), Lus na gcluas (ear herb)
Achillea millefolium
Yarrow is a common native plant that is a member of Daisy family. It has clusters of white (sometimes mauve) flat topped flowering heads on upright stems.  The green, feathery leaves are aromatic when crushed.  
Achillea is named after the Greek warrior Achilles  who used yarrow to staunch bleeding during battle.  Millefolium means ‘thousand leaf’ reflecting its finely cut leaf shape.
In Ireland Yarrow was known as ‘the plant of the seven cures’. Thus, traditional medicinal uses for yarrow are many, to staunch bleeding, for pain relief, lower blood pressure, headaches, toothache and to reduce fevers, coughs and colds.
It was used as a charm, placed under pillows to induce dreams of your future love and sown into clothes as protection against disease. 
Today yarrow is proscribed by herbalists for, among others, fevers, blood pressure, poor circulation, urinary disorders and as an astringent
Perhaps you could explore its use as a love charm!


Airgead luachra (Silver rush)
Filipendula ulmaria
Meadowsweet, in the rose family, is among our most beautiful native wild plants. The “Queen of the Meadow” blooms in June to August and is recognised by its sweetly scented creamy-white flowers, in frothy clusters on tall reddish stems. Its green toothed leaves are silvery on their undersides.
The name  Meadowsweet (Meodu-Swete in Anglo Saxon ), indicates its ancient use to sweeten and flavour mead, beer and wine. It was one of three plants sacred to the Druids along with watermint and vervain.
Meadowsweet was commonly strewn on floors to freshen and give a sweet smell.
Traditionally used for pain and fevers in gout, kidney and digestive disorders and  as a skin wash, meadowsweet remains greatly valued by herbalists today, proscribed for digestive, arthritic and urinary conditions.  
The discovery of salicylic acid from meadowsweet led to the development of aspirin (from Spiraea, its old latin name).
Look out for meadowsweet flavoured beers, wine, jams and sweets.

Red Clover

Seamair dhearg 
Trifolium pratense
Red clover, is in the Pea and Bean Family.   This  pretty native plant is recognised by its small, compact,  pink,  scented flowering heads on upright stems. The leaflets are heart shaped with a white v symbol in the centre.
Trifolium (from the Latin three leaf) was sometimes worn as Shamrock and is also considered lucky if found with four leaflets. In the past children enjoyed red clover by sucking its flowers for its sweet nectar.
Traditionally in Ireland, red clover was used medicinally in the treatment of coughs, in skin ailments, cancer and other tumours.
Today herbalists use red clover in whooping cough, as a spring tonic, and in children’s eczema and psoriasis.   It is usually taken as a sweet tasting herbal tea.  Honey bees produce delicious honey from its nectar.
Red clover ‘fixes’ nitrogen in soil and provides rich animal fodder.  Other plants in this family include lentils and sweet peas.