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Thread: The Herbal Code

  1. #1
    bibliophibian volcaniclastic's Avatar
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    The Herbal Code

    The herbal code is a legendary list of herbal names disguised by other names. Among the Witches of old there was a great deal of hidden herbal knowledge and lore. Much of this lore was kept secret due to the pharmaceutical properties of herbs and herbal combinations, many of which were dangerous in the wrong hands. Consequently a code was created to keep these recipes secret and to discourage their use by the uninitiated. The following list in part of the herbal code common to several traditions

    ∑ A Dead Man: Ash root, carved in a crude human shape
    ∑ Adderís Tongue: Plantain
    ∑ Batís Wing: Holly Leaf
    ∑ Batís Wool: Moss
    ∑ Blood: Elder Sap
    ∑ Bloody Fingers: Foxglove
    ∑ Brains: Congealed gum from a cherry tree
    ∑ Bullís Blood: Horehound
    ∑ Corpse Candles: Mullien
    ∑ Dragonís Scales: Bistort leaves
    ∑ Ear of an Ass: Comfrey
    ∑ Ears of a Goat: St. Johnís Wort
    ∑ Eyes: Eyebright or Daisy
    ∑ Fingers: Cinquefoil
    ∑ Hair: Maidenhair fern
    ∑ Hand: The unexpanded frond from a male fern
    ∑ Heart: Walnut
    ∑ Lionís Tooth: Dandelion
    ∑ Skin of a Man: Fern
    ∑ Skull: Skullcap
    ∑ Snake: Bistort
    ∑ Tongue of a Dog: Houndís tongue
    ∑ Urine: Dandelion
    ∑ Unicorn Horn: True unicorn root
    ∑ Worms: Thin roots

    These animals called for the following herbs:

    ∑ Blue Jay: Bay Laurel
    ∑ Cat: Catnip
    ∑ Cuckoo: Orchis, plantain
    ∑ Dog: Couchgrass
    ∑ Frog: Cinquefoil
    ∑ Hawk: Hawkweed
    ∑ Lamb: Lambís lettuce
    ∑ Linnet: Eyebright
    ∑ Lizard: Calamint
    ∑ Nightingale: Hop
    ∑ Rat: Valerian
    ∑ Sheep: Dandelion
    ∑ Snake: Fennel of Bistort
    ∑ Toad: Sage
    ∑ Weasel: Rue
    ∑ Woodpeckers: Peony

    When a recipe called for a certain part of something, the following herb was used:

    ∑ The Eye: Inner part of a blossom
    ∑ The Guts: The roots and stalk
    ∑ The Hair: Dried, stringy herb
    ∑ The Head: The flower
    ∑ The Heart: A bud or a big seed
    ∑ The Paw, Foot, Leg, Wing, Toe, or Scale: The Leaf
    ∑ The Privates: The seeds
    ∑ The Tail: The Stem
    ∑ The Tongue: The Petal

    Source Unknown
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  2. #2
    Cannibal Rights Activist Ophidia's Avatar
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    Re: The Herbal Code

    I've also heard that 'baby's blood' was strawberry juice, and the blood of a virgin was pomegranate juice.
    The forum member formerly known as perzephone. Or Perze. I've shed a skin.

  3. #3
    sea witch thalassa's Avatar
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    Re: The Herbal Code

    I know a girl that labels her spice rack like this...one of these days, if I ever get cool containers for my herbs and stuff, I think it would be fun
    ďYou have never answered but you did not need to. If I stand at the ocean I can hear you with your thousand voices. Sometimes you shout, hilarious laughter that taunts all questions. Other nights you are silent as death, a mirror in which the stars show themselves. Then I think you want to tell me something, but you never do. Of course I know I have written letters to no-one. But what if I find a trident tomorrow?" ~~Letters to Poseidon, Cees Nooteboom

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  4. #4
    Bronze Member LiadanWillows's Avatar
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    Re: The Herbal Code

    very informative!
    http://www.paganforum.com/image.php?type=sigpic&userid=87&dateline=133754480  9

  5. #5
    Silver Member Tylluan Penry's Avatar
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    Re: The Herbal Code

    This 'mis-labelling' was very common in the ancient world... a quick glance at the Greek Magical Papyrii for example, shows some very unlikely ingredients that were in fact quite common substances, plants etc. To be honest, I'm not sure how much was to discourage the uninitiated and how much to bamboozle the credulous

    One of my all time favourites is 'the tears of a Hamadryas Baboon' which turns out to be ... Dill Juice. Since Dill juice is a major ingredient in baby's gripe water (it's name derives from the Norse 'Dilla' meaning to lull to sleep, apparently) I quite like to think of soothing my grandchildren to sleep with the tears of a Hamadryas Baboon....
    www.thewolfenhowlepress.com


    Phantom Turnips never die.... they just get stewed occasionally....

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    Supporter Maulus's Avatar
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    Re: The Herbal Code

    I have heard of the Hamadryas Baboon tears before and often wondered what they were, i didn't realise there was actually a code for the common ingredients, though thinking about it, it makes a lot if sense. *seeks out his old copy of the scottish Play *

    Is there anywhere i could get more of the 'code'?

    M
    In the end, only you know if you were right or wrong, so tolerate others beliefs, no matter how wrong, they may be right...

  7. #7
    Silver Member Tylluan Penry's Avatar
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    Re: The Herbal Code

    Try Daniel Ogden's 'Magic Witchcraft and Ghosts in the ancient world...'
    www.thewolfenhowlepress.com


    Phantom Turnips never die.... they just get stewed occasionally....

  8. #8
    Supporter Maulus's Avatar
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    Re: The Herbal Code

    Thanks Muchly, I found a copy on Scribd
    http://www.scribd.com/doc/34128738/O...-A-Source-Book


    M
    In the end, only you know if you were right or wrong, so tolerate others beliefs, no matter how wrong, they may be right...

  9. #9
    Honorary Supporter Dez's Avatar
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    Re: The Herbal Code

    [quote author=Maulus link=topic=386.msg5297#msg5297 date=1287607118]
    *seeks out his old copy of the scottish Play *
    [/quote]

    That's what this got me thinking of, too...

    "Eye of Newt and Toe of frog, wool of bat and tongue of dog...
    Adder's wort and blind worm sting, lizzard's leg and howlet's wing...

    Cool it with a baboon's blood, then the charm is firm and good."

  10. #10
    Supporter Maulus's Avatar
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    Re: The Herbal Code

    [quote author=Deseret link=topic=386.msg5404#msg5404 date=1287623634]
    That's what this got me thinking of, too...

    "Eye of Newt and Toe of frog, wool of bat and tongue of dog...
    Adder's wort and blind worm sting, lizzard's leg and howlet's wing...

    Cool it with a baboon's blood, then the charm is firm and good."
    [/quote]

    Exactly, i remember reading that at school and wondering where they would get all those ingredients as they sound very specific.. it makes a lot more sense if they are using the Herbal Code. Which means that the people in the 17th Century were aware of what wise women/Witches would "use" as ingredients, not necessarily what they are. It would appear the the Witches were used to obfuscating their ingredients, almost like a lot of modern professions do today, using jargon and codes to keep the secret of their jobs..

    M
    In the end, only you know if you were right or wrong, so tolerate others beliefs, no matter how wrong, they may be right...

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