Monday, August 24, 2009

Old Names For Herbs - A to Z

In the old days, herbalists and midwives didn't use textbook botanical names for herbs. Medicinal and magical plants had colorful descriptive names. Often, old books about magic and herbal healing use the folk names instead of the names commonly used today, and it can be confusing. So, here is an alphabetical listing of those names, along with the common and botanical names in current use. You'll notice that some plants have a variety of names, and some names refer to a variety of plants.

  • A Hawk's Heart: Heart of Wormwood Artemisia absinthium
  • A Lion's Hairs: Tongue of a Turnip [i.e., the leaves of the taproot] Brassica napus
  • A Man's Bile: Turnip Sap Brassica napus
  • A Pig's Tail: Leopard's Bane Arnica montana
  • A Titan's Blood: Wild Lettuce Lactuca virosa
  • Aaron's Rod: Goldenrod Solidago Virgaurea -or- Great Mullein Verbascum thapsus
  • A Bone of an Ibis: Buckthorn Rhamnus cathartica
  • Absinthe: Wormwood Artemisia Absinthium
  • Adder's Fork: Bistort Polygonum Bistorta
  • Adder's Mouth: Chickweed Stellaria Media
  • Adder's Tongue: Dogstooth Violet Erythronium multiscapoideum
... I am so sorry, but this post has been moved to my new website, Magickal Ingredients, and can be found in its entirety here: Old Names For Herbs

16 comments:

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  2. Finally! You've clarified many of my queries. Well, I knew the Eye of Newt wasnt REALLY an eye of newt, but now i know its modern name!

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  3. Anonymous5:42 AM

    You've listed Eupatorium purpureum as meadowsweet, Eupatorium is Joe Pye weed, Meadowsweet is filipendula ulmaria. Though I know Meadowsweet is called bride of the meadow and queen of the meadow and Joe pye is called gravel root. I thought it might be a typo. Just fyi. Awesome list by the way!!! Thank you so much for compiling it!!

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  4. Veryinterested if you know the folk/Latin name for Wolf's Eye, Wolf's Heart and Bat's Heart....trying to make sure I am crafting with the proper herbs...

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  6. Plants in witchcraft and folk legend use to have fantastic names that described what the plant looked like. I think those name may have intentionally been used to help in the plant gathering process so the beginner might know which plants to gather by description rather.

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