March’s class: The Viking Medicine Chest

Good morning, Vikings and friends! Please join us this Monday, March 23rd at 7:00 pm for our next Viking Guild meeting, held at Allied Gardens Rec Center in the Garden Room (5155 Greenbrier Ave., SD, CA,, 92120). Our next class will be on the The Viking Medicine Chest with Ána Rúna Dònnachaidh (pronounced “Donna-key”).

From Ána Rúna Dònnachaidh:

Intestinal parasites, head wounds, runny noses, oh my! The Vikings, like any other human alive during the period of c. 700-1000 AD, were afflicted with illnesses, certainly physical trauma, and probably had normal daily health regimens. What do we know about how the Vikings treated illness? Short answer is… not much. Because little empirical evidence documents the medical applications of the Vikings, traces of history are pieced together through archaeological records and written histories from early Medieval accounts and in long form verse, like the sagas. Documented medical practice in this period in Europe was largely experimental, but was also “folk-based” with uses of plants. However, the medicinal uses of plants known to Vikings culture is largely speculated. In this informal presentation, I will talk about the ecological areas of Viking settlements (mostly Denmark), mention of trade, and other medical/cosmetic references! No botany background needed! We will talk plants, food, and farming! I’ll have a few handouts and selective visual references.

(Disclaimer: This is not a talk on medical diagnosis or suggesting medical advice)

Ána Rúna Dònnachaidh (aka Kim Schwenk) is a rare book librarian at San Diego State University with a subject specialization in Medieval medical history. She is also a folk herbalist that studies medicinal uses of plants and history of the early inhabitants of Britain and Ireland.

We hope you can join us!

Image from, “Dark Age Combat Medicine”

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