Gothic Gardening: The Secret Names of Plants

Eye of Newt, and toe of frog,
Wool of bat, and tongue of dog,
Adder's fork, and blind-worm's sting
Lizard's leg and howlet's wing

While this famous recipe from Shakespeare's Macbeth sounds like a grisly combination of animal parts, almost all the references are probably to herbs. It has been a longstanding tradition in magic and sorcery to refer to spell components obliquely; often the real recipe resembles very little what the uninitiated conjure in their minds' eye.

For example, 'tongue of dog' is referring to houndstongue, Cynoglossom officinale. This herb supposedly has the power to quiet the barking of dogs. 'Adder's fork' is adder's tongue, Ohioglossum vulgatum, a fern reputed to have healing properties.

One of the Greek magical papyri actually contained a list of translations of some the terms used in spells. They called plants by these secret names "because of the curiosity of the masses". The concern was that "they do not take precaution", and using these oblique terms would prevent the masses from practicing magic.

Here are some of the translations:

A Bone of an Ibis: this is Buckthorn.
Tears [Sleep Sand] of a Hamadryas
Baboon: Dill Juice.
Blood of Hephaistos: Wormwood.
Hairs of a Hamadryas Baboon: Dill Seed.
Semen of Hermes: Dill.
Blood of Ares: Purslane.
Blood of an Eye: Tamarisk Gall.
Blood from a Shoulder: Bear's Breach [probably Acanthus mollis or Helleborus foetidus].
From the Loins: Camomile.
A Man's Bile: Turnip Sap [probably Brassica napus].
A Pig's Tail: Leopard's Bane.
Blood of Hestia: Camomile.
An Eagle: Wild Garlic [Trigonella foenumgraecum, but the reading is doubtful].
Blood of a Goose: A Mulberry Tree's Milk.
A Lion's Hairs: Tongue of a Turnip [i.e., the leaves of the taproot].
Kronos' Blood: . . . of Cedar.
Semen of Helios: White Hellebore.
Semen of Herakles: this is Mustard-rocket [probably Eruca sativa].
A Titan's Blood: Wild Lettuce.
Blood from a Head: Lupine.
A Hawk's Heart: Heart of Wormwood.
Semen of Hephaistos: This is Fleabane.
Semen of Ammon: Houseleek.
Semen of Ares: Clover.
Fat from a Head: Spurge.
From the Belly: Earth-apple.
From the Foot: Houseleek.

From The Greek Magical Papyri in Translation including the Demotic Spells by Hans Dieter Betz. Translators' notes are in. Apparently this list is not unique, since similar lists are apparently found in the works of Galen, Paul of Aegineta, and Dioscorides.

Knowing the various folk names of plants can also be useful in attempting to determine the ingredients of a spell.

Some examples which might be helpful:

Ass's Foot or Bull's Foot: Coltsfoot
Bat's Wings: Holly
Bear's Foot: Lady's Mantle
Calf's Snout: Snapdragon
Bull's Blood or Seed of Horus: Horehound
Graveyard Dust: Mullein
Unicorn Root: Ague Root
Wolf Claw: Club Moss
Wolf's Milk: Euphorbia
Sparrow's Tongue: Knotweed

It's quite easy to imagine how these names could be used in a spell to obscure the true ingredients and make the recipe sound far more gruesome than it really is. Suffice to say, if the components of an old spell sound straightforward, they probably aren't.

http://www.angelfire.com/realm/shades/magic/secretnamesofplants.htm

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Old Herb Names

Tongue of Dog? Blood of Goose? Do you really think witches cut of tongues off dogs? Or take blood from geese? Ummm...NO! They were just psudonym names for the herbs to keep them secret.

Here are some old time names for herbs:

A Bone of an Ibis: Buckthorn Adders Tongue: Dogstooth Violet A Titan's Blood: Wild Lettuce A Lion's Hairs: Tongue of a Turnip [i.e., the leaves of the taproot] A Man's Bile: Turnip Sap A Pig's Tail: Leopard's Bane A Hawk's Heart: Heart of Wormwood An Eagle: Wild Garlic Ass's Foot or Bull's Foot: Coltsfoot Blood: Elder sap or another tree sap Blood of Hephaistos: Wormwood Burning Bush: White Dittany Bread and Cheese Tree: Hawthorne Blood from a Head: Lupine
Bird's Eye: Germander Speedwell Blood of Ares: Purslane Blood of a Goose: A Mulberry Tree's Milk Bloodwort: Yarrow Blood of Hestia: Camomile Blood of an Eye: Tamarisk Gall Blood from a Shoulder: Bear's Breach Bat's Wings: Holly Black Sampson: Echinacea Bull's Blood or Seed of Horus: Horehound Bear's Foot: Lady's Mantle Calf's Snout: Snapdragon Cat's Foot: Canada Snake Root and/or Ground Ivy Candelmas Maiden: Snowdrop. Capon's Tail: Valerian. Christ's Ladder: Centaury
Cheeses: Marsh Mallow Chocolate Flower: Wild Geranium Christ's Eye: Vervain Sage Clear-eye: Clary Sage Click: Goosegrass Cucumber Tree: Magnolia Clot: Great Mullein Corpse Plant: Indian Pipe. Crowdy Kit: Figwort Cuddy's Lungs: Great Mullein Crow Foot: Cranesbill Cuckoo's Bread: Common Plantain Clear Eye: Clary Sage Crow's Foot: Wild Geranium
Devils Dung: Asafoetida Dragon's Blood: Calamus Dog's Mouth: Snap Dragon Daphne: Laurel/Bay Devil's Plaything: Yarrow Dove's Foot: Wild Geranium Dew of the Sea: Rosemary Dragon Wort: Bistort Earth Smoke: Fumitory Eye of Christ: Germander Speedwell Elf's Wort: Elecampane Enchanter's Plant: Vervain Englishman's Foot: Common Plantain
Erba Santa Maria: Spearmint Everlasting Friendship: Goosegrass Eye of the Day: Common Daisy Eye of the Star: Horehound Eye Root: Goldenseal
Eyes: Aster, Daisy, Eyebright Frog's Foot: Bulbous Buttercup From the Loins: Camomile Fat from a Head: Spurge Fairy Smoke: Indian Pipe
Felon Herb: Mugwort From the Belly: Earth-apple From the Foot: Houseleek Five Fingers: Cinquefoil Fox's Clote: Burdock Graveyard Dust: Mullein Goat's Foot: Ash Weed God's Hair: Hart's Tongue Fern
Golden Star: Avens Gosling Wing: Goosegrass Graveyard Dust: Mullein
Great Ox-eye: Ox-eye Daisy Hairs of a Hamadryas Baboon: Dill Seed
Hair of Venus: Maidenhair Fern Hag's Taper: Great Mullein Hagthorn: Hawthorn Hare's Beard: Great Mullein Herb of Grace: Vervain Hind's Tongue: Hart's Tongue Fern Holy Herb: Yerba Santa Holy Rope: Hemp Agrimony Hook and Arn: Yerba Santa Horse Tongue: Hart's Tongue Fern
Horse Hoof: Coltsfoot Hundred Eyes: Periwinkle Innocense: Bluets
Jacob's Staff: Great Mullein Joy of the Mountain: Marjoram Jupiter's Staff: Great Mullein King's Crown: Black Haw Knight's Milfoil: Yarrow
Kronos' Blood: of Cedar Lady's Glove: Foxglove aka Witches' Gloves
Lion's Tooth: Dandelion aka Priest's Crown Lad's Love: Southernwood
Lamb's Ears: Betony Little Dragon: Tarragon Love in Idleness: Pansy
Love Leaves: Burdock Love Lies Bleeding: Amaranth or Anemone Love Man: Goosegrass Love Parsley: Lovage Love Root: Orris Root Man's Health: Ginseng Maiden's Ruin: Southernwood Master of the Woods: Woodruff May: Black Haw May Lily: Lily of the Valley May Rose: Black Haw Maypops: Passion Flower Mistress of the Night: Tuberose Mutton Chops: Goosegrass Nose Bleed: Yarrow Old-Maid's-Nightcap: Wild Geranium
Old Man's Flannel: Great Mullein Old Man's Pepper: Yarrow Oliver: Olive Password: Primrose Pucha-pat: Patchouli Peter's Staff: Great Mullein Priest's Crown: Dandelion leaves Poor Man's Treacle: Garlic
Queen of the Night: Vanilla Cactus Queen of the Meadow: Meadowsweet
Queen of the Meadow Root: Gravelroot Ram's Head: American Valerian
Red Cockscomb: Amaranth Ring-o-bells: Bluebells
Robin-run-in-the-grass: Goosegrass

Leigh SpiritDancer 6:52in the evenin' Jan 30
Here is a small and I'm sure not the only list of witchy names along with it's common names for some herbs, roots and flowers used in witchcraft. It sure is an eye opener to those who may think that to be a true witch one might have to boil up animal parts, blood and maybe even sacrifice human or animal to make potions!

A Bone of an Ibis: Buckthorn
Adders Tongue: Dogstooth Violet
A Titan's Blood: Wild Lettuce
A Lion's Hairs: Tongue of a Turnip (the leaves of the taproot)
A Man's Bile: Turnip Sap
A Pig's Tail: Leopard's Bane
A Hawk's Heart: Heart of Wormwood
An Eagle: Wild Garlic
Ass's Foot or Bull's Foot: Coltsfoot
Blood: Elder sap or another tree sap
Blood of Hephaistos: Wormwood
Burning Bush: White Dittany
Bread and Cheese Tree: Hawthorne
Blood from a Head: Lupine
Bird's Eye: Germander Speedwell
Blood of Ares: Purslane
Blood of a Goose: Mulberry Tree's Milk
Bloodwort: Yarrow
Blood of Hestia: Chamomile
Blood of an Eye: Tamarisk Gall
Blood from a Shoulder: Bear's Breach
Bat's Wings: Holly
Black Sampson: Echinacea
Bull's Blood or Seed of Horus: Horehound
Bear's Foot: Lady's Mantle
Calf's Snout: Snapdragon
Cat's Foot: Canada Snake Root and/or Ground Ivy
Candelmas Maiden: Snowdrop
Capon's Tail: Valerian
Christ's Ladder: Centaury
Cheeses: Marsh Mallow
Chocolate Flower: Wild Geranium
Christ's Eye: Vervain Sage
Clear-eye: Clary Sage
Click: Goosegrass
Cucumber Tree: Magnolia
Clot: Great Mullein
Corpse Plant: Indian Pipe
Crowdy Kit: Figwort
Cuddy's Lungs: Great Mullein
Crow Foot: Cranesbill
Cuckoo's Bread: Common Plantain
Clear Eye: Clary Sage
Crow's Foot: Wild Geranium
Devils Dung: Asafoetida
Dragon's Blood: Calamus
Dog's Mouth: Snap Dragon
Daphne: Laurel/Bay
Devil's Plaything: Yarrow
Dove's Foot: Wild Geranium
Dew of the Sea: Rosemary
Dragon Wort: Bistort
Earth Smoke: Fumitory
Eye of Christ: Germander Speedwell
Elf's Wort: Elecampane
Enchanter's Plant: Vervain
Englishman's Foot: Common Plantain
Erba Santa Maria: Spearmint
Everlasting Friendship: Goosegrass
Eye of the Day: Common Daisy
Eye of the Star: Horehound
Eye Root: Goldenseal
Eyes: Aster, Daisy, Eyebright
Frog's Foot: Bulbous Buttercup
From the Loins: Chamomile
Fat from a Head: Spurge
Fairy Smoke: Indian Pipe
Felon Herb: Mugwort
From the Belly: Earth-apple
From the Foot: Houseleek
Five Fingers: Cinquefoil
Fox's Clote: Burdock
Graveyard Dust: Mullein
Goat's Foot: Ash Weed
God's Hair: Hart's Tongue Fern
Golden Star: Avens
Gosling Wing: Goosegrass
Graveyard Dust: Mullein
Great Ox-eye: Ox-eye Daisy
Hairs of a Hamadryas Baboon: Dill Seed
Hair of Venus: Maidenhair Fern
Hag's Taper: Great Mullein
Hagthorn: Hawthorn
Hare's Beard: Great Mullein
Herb of Grace: Vervain
Hind's Tongue: Hart's Tongue Fern
Holy Herb: Yerba Santa
Holy Rope: Hemp Agrimony
Hook and Arn: Yerba Santa
Horse Tongue: Hart's Tongue Fern
Horse Hoof: Coltsfoot
Hundred Eyes: Periwinkle
Innocense: Bluets
Jacob's Staff: Great Mullein
Joy of the Mountain: Marjoram
Jupiter's Staff: Great Mullein
King's Crown: Black Haw
Knight's Milfoil: Yarrow
Kronos' Blood: sap of Cedar
Lady's Glove: Foxglove
Lion's Tooth: Dandelion
Lad's Love: Southernwood
Lamb's Ears: Betony
Little Dragon: Tarragon
Love in Idleness: Pansy
Love Leaves: Burdock
Love Lies Bleeding: Amaranth/Anemone
Love Man: Goosegrass
Love Parsley: Lovage
Love Root: Orris Root
Man's Health: Ginseng
Maiden's Ruin: Southernwood
Master of the Woods: Woodruff
May: Black Haw
May Lily: Lily of the Valley
May Rose: Black Haw
Maypops: Passion Flower
Mistress of the Night: Tuberose
Mutton Chops: Goosegrass
Nose Bleed: Yarrow
Old-Maid's-Nightcap: Wild Geranium
Old Man's Flannel: Great Mullein
Old Man's Pepper: Yarrow
Oliver: Olive
Password: Primrose
Pucha-pat: Patchouli
Peter's Staff: Great Mullein
Priest's Crown: Dandelion leaves
Poor Man's Treacle: Garlic
Queen of the Night: Vanilla Cactus
Queen of the Meadow: Meadowsweet
Queen of the Meadow Root: Gravelroot
Ram's Head: American Valerian
Red Cockscomb: Amaranth
Ring-o-bells: Bluebells
Robin-run-in-the-grass: Goosegrass
Semen of Helios: White Hellebore
Semen of Herakles: Mustard-rocket
Semen of Hermes: Dill
Semen of Hephaistos: Fleabane
Semen of Ammon: Houseleek
Semen of Ares: Clover
Seed of Horus: Horehound
Sparrow's Tongue: Knotweed
Soapwort: Comfrey or Daisy
Shepherd's Heart: Shepherd's Purse
Swine's Snout: Dandelion leaves
Shameface: Wild Geranium
See Bright: Clary Sage
Scaldhead: Blackberry
Seven Year's Love: Yarrow
Silver Bells: Black Haw
Sorcerer's Violet: Periwinkle
St. John's Herb: Hemp Agrimony
St. John's Plant: Mugwort
Star Flower: Borage
Star of the Earth: Avens
Starweed: Chickweed
Sweethearts: Goosegrass
Tarragon: Mugwort
Tartar Root: Ginseng
Thousand Weed: Yarrow
Thunder Plant: House Leek
Tanner's Bark: Toadflax
Torches: Great Mullein
Tongue of dog: Houndstongue
Tears of a Hamadryas Baboon: Dill Juice
Unicorn Root: Ague Root
Unicorn's Horn: False Unicorn
Unicorn Horn: True Unicorn Root
Wax Dolls: Fumitory
Weazel Snout: Yellow Archangel
White: Ox-eye Daisy
White Wood: White Cinnamon
Witch's Asprin: White Willow Bark
Witch's Brier: Brier Hips
Weasel Snout: Yellow Archangel
Wolf Foot: Bugle Weed
Wolf Claw: Club Moss
Wolf's Milk: Euphorbia
Weed: Ox-Eye Daisy
White Man's Foot: Common Plantain

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