Of Rocks and Snails and Puppy Dog Tales

Of Rocks and Snails and Puppy Dog Tales

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(The title is NOT a misspelling!)

This weekend we celebrate Father’s Day. The day when men who boldly, proudly, and Biblically stand up for their God-given role in society to teach, protect, and lead their families in the ways that preserve both family and community. In a month when sinful perversion tries to take the spotlight instead, a childhood poem whose author I don’t remember, wrote a stanza that says: “What are little boys made of? What are little boys made of? Rocks and snails and puppy dog tails, that’s what little boys are made of.” Every grown man was once a little boy.

Recent discoveries my daughter and I have made in the literary world of ancient herbal medicine, have led to the fact that various plants over the years have acquired animal-related names. Not even an encyclopedia of natural medicine written back in 2016 seemed to have made this discovery! It was actually an effort to confirm various ingredients that were mentioned in my herbal treatments of pox through the years, that we stumbled across this fact in Dr. Culpepper’s writings and illustrations. This is kind of a crazy discovery in one way, because today we know some plants by the names “Hounds Tongue”, “Colt’s Foot”, or “Lady’s slipper (Broom)”. But even with those plants in common use today, we have authors looking at recipes for “crab’s claw” or Shakespeare’s fictitious reference to “eye of newt” and think that only an actor or a witch would take animal parts and throw them into a stew to pull out a medicine for what ails you.



Well. . . neither is accurate! Crab’s Claw is an actual plant. Eye of Newt is actually more commonly known as the Day Lily. The plant exists today! My daughter learned that “Fox Tail” refers to a bushy variant of Barley. Never mind the fact that bone broth is good for many internal ailments and nutritional doctors will recommend beef liver and other organ meats to quickly regain certain missing nutrients in the human body.

It appears that fanciful poetic presentations of medicinal recipes from way back when might not be as fanciful as our supposed “modern” minds like to think. If we bother to research the ingredients listed, we may just find they refer to actual plants by local or common names now fallen out of favour for names we use today instead.

Clearly, there was a beloved hound whose tongue was always lolling out of it’s mouth so often, that someone in history named a plant after his dog’s tongue, because the leaves looked so similar! No, an actual hound’s tongue is never used in any herbal recipe! The fuzzy elongated leaf is instead. Now I’m wondering. . . how many herbal recipes were crafted by little boys. . .

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