A glossary of people, places & objects in Earthsea

Now showing glossary items relating to medicine & disease


Corly-root smoke is used as a treatment for fever, though its efficacy appears doubtful

Sources: The Dragon of Pendor, WoE

Related entries: Healing; Herbal remedies


Diseases, disorders and injuries mentioned in humans include rickets, hunchback, smallpox (called Witch-Fingers), consumption, wasting fever/wasting cough (possibly tuberculosis), redfever, marsh fever, fever, plague, stroke, scrofula, rheumatism, arthritis, gangrene, cataracts, blindness, detached retina, nearsightedness, hazia-induced nervous disorder, quicksilver (mercury) poisoning, sea sickness, warts, sprains, broken bones, lameness and deformed births; in animals, infected udders (goats), maggot-infected wounds (sheep), spavins (horses), mange (cats, dogs), murrain (the staggers), caked udders and foot/hoof rot (all in cattle), rabies and deformed births; in plants, black rot of vines and tent caterpillar infestation of fruit.

Magic overused or wrongly used can also produce fits or a trance-like condition, as described for Ged in 'Warriors in the Mist', 'The Loosing of the Shadow', 'The Dragon of Pendor' [WoE], Thorion in 'Orm Embar' [FS], and Irioth in 'On the High Marsh' [TfE]. It can also let loose plagues, as occurred two centuries ago on Paln and Semel after a duel of magic, and frequently during the Dark Years

Sources: The Rule of Names, W12Q; The Dragon of Pendor, WoE; The Wall around the Place, ToA; Light under the Hill, ToA; Finding Words, T; The Master, T; The Finder, TfE; On the High Marsh, TfE; Dragonfly, TfE; Palaces, OW; Dolphin, OW


Blue stone used for making talismans against rheums, sprains and stiff necks, and as a dye ore at Lorbanery

Sources: Hort Town, FS; Lorbanery, FS


Also known as: Medicine

Healing is a skill of wizards, physician-sorcerers, healalls, herbalists, bonesetters and many witches, and is based on herbal remedies, magical spells, charms or talismans, chants, runes and symptomatic treatment, which are sometimes used separately, but often in conjunction.

Herbal remedies include corly-root, white hallows, witch hazel and cobweb-wrapped perriot leaves. Herbs may be ingested as tea, applied to the skin in ointments, salves or poultices, or burned for their scented smoke. Spells range from calling the spirit back from the spirit world to simple spells of feverstay, blood-staunching, wart-curing and against seasickness, as well as non-specific curing charms. Charms or talismans include emmel-stone charms against rheums, sprains and stiff necks, and a sailors' talisman of petrel breastbone and seaweed, used to avert seasickness. Spells and charms are also used to ward off illness, eg: 'he laid charms of heal and ward on children who were lame or sickly.'a Chants are said to 'aid the sick body or the troubled mind'b and include the Nagian Chant. The rune Pirr is used for burns. A highly gifted mender, such as Lily, can heal broken limbs, though this appears to be a rare skill.

Symptomatic treatment mentioned includes bed rest, poultices, cooling fever with cold water, bandaging wounds, setting broken bones, salving cuts, disinfection of wounds/sores with salt water and massage with warm oils.

There is no mention of anything akin to hospitals, though Roke School of Wizardry has healing-chambers presided over by the Master Herbal. Healing lore is taught on Roke

Sources: Iffish, WoE (a); Orm Embar, FS (b)

'…Master Herbal had taught him much of the healer's lore, and the first lesson and the last of all that lore was this: Heal the wound and cure the illness, but let the dying spirit go.'

[The Dragon of Pendor, WoE]

Related entries: Curer; Disease; Midwifery

Herbal remedies

An important part of healing in the Archipelago. Herbal remedies mentioned include corly-root, for fever; white hallows, a white-flowering herb of unknown use; witch hazel, used on burns; and cobweb-wrapped perriot leaves, used to staunch bleeding (cobwebs alone are also used for bleeding). Herbs may be ingested as tea, applied to the skin in ointments, salves or poultices, or burned for their scented smoke; they may also form a component of potions and elixirs. Herb lore is commonly known by village witches & sorcerers, and is taught by the Master Herbal at the Roke School of Wizardry

Sources: The Shadow, WoE; The School for Wizards, WoE; The Loosing of the Shadow, WoE; The Dragon of Pendor, WoE; A Bad Thing, T; Mending the Green Pitcher, OW


See Healing


Care of pregnant women and animals, and supervision of birth, are the province of witches; some specialise in the art and are called midwives. Midwifery involves the use of spells and herbs

Sources: The Finder, TfE; The Mending of the Green Pitcher, OW

Related entries: Healing

Nagian Chant

Chant used in healing; healing chants are said to 'aid the sick body or the troubled mind'a, but the precise purpose this chant serves is unstated

Sources: The Dragon of Pendor, WoE; Orm Embar, FS (a)

Perriot leaves

Perriot leaves, wrapped in cobwebs, are used in healing to staunch bleeding; cobwebs alone are also used against bleeding

Sources: The Loosing of the Shadow, WoE

Related entries: Herbal remedies

White hallows

White-flowering herb growing in river meadows and marshes on Gont; prized by healers

Sources: The Shadow, WoE; Kalessin, T

'He came on a meadow between two streams where the flower called white hallows grew thick, and as these blossoms are rare and prized by healers, he came back again next day.'

[The Shadow, WoE]

Related entries: Healing; Herbal remedies


Name in rural Atuan for the disease smallpox

Sources: The Wall Around the Place, ToA



WoEA Wizard of Earthsea
ToAThe Tombs of Atuan
FSThe Farthest Shore
OWThe Other Wind
W12QThe Wind's Twelve Quarters
TfETales from Earthsea

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