Nugget of Knowledge: Witch’s Brew recipe

Gross descriptions are actually everyday plants and herbs

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – Here’s an excerpt from the witch’s brew from “Macbeth”:

“Fillet of a fenny snake, In the cauldron boil and bake;

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 owlet’s wing,

For a charm of powerful trouble, Like a hell-broth boil and bubble.”

If you’re going to cast a spell, where would you get an eye of newt?

Newt Gingrich?

Here’s the surprise: All of the ingredients in the witches brew are simply ancient terms for herbs, flowers and plants:

  • Eye of newt – mustard seed
  • Toe of frog – buttercup
  • Wool of bat – holly leaves
  • Tongue of dog – houndstongue (a weed that’s toxic to livestock)
  • Adders fork – adders tongue (spring flower from the lily family, used as an herb)
  • Blind-worm – OK, a blindworm is a real thing; a tiny snake.

Shakespeare mentions it again in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”

Getting back to newt for a moment, legend tells us that witches are compelled to count and pick up things, so if you scatter mustard seeds, the eye of newt, around your front door, bed or property, the witch will never have time to get to you as she will be busy counting mustard seeds.

Some say witches gave these plants gross names to keep other people from practicing witchcraft.

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