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Pow-Wows, Herb Names

To: alt.lucky.w,alt.folklore.herbs,alt.occult.methods,alt.paranormal.spells.hexes.magic,alt.magick.tyagi
From: catherine yronwode 
Subject: Pow-Wows, Herb Names
Date: Mon, 28 May 2001 00:18:53 GMT

In regard to the herbalism and occltism in "Pow-Wows or the Long-Lost
Friend" by John George Hohman:

I have updated my web page at

in order to include more bibliographical data. I should have done it a
year or more ago, but i didn't think the topic would ever be of much
interest to others. What is new is complete data for the first and
second English editions, the first published by Hohman himself in 1846
and the second published in 1856. Neither of these editions have
"Pow-Wows" in the title or subtitle. I have yet to locate the earliest
edition that does have "Pow-Wows" in the title -- my earliest with that
title is the Sheldon edition of circa 1940, but i have been told the
re-titling dates back to the 1890s or so. 

Here is the full bibliography, as it now stands (and please, folks, feel
free to add more data):


excerpt from
copyright 1995-2001 cat yronwode 

Bibliographic Addendum: 

I would like to offer my thanks to the antiquarian book dealer Ron
Lieberman for substantial help with the following list of John George
Hohman's works. Ron specializes in selling early Pennsylvania
material at his book store, The Family Album
Thanks also to John Mullins ( for the loan of
both the 1846 and 1856 English-language editions. 
Translations of the German titles were made by Lilo Glozer

      * "Die Land- und Haus Apotheke, oder, Getreuer und
       Grundlicher Unterricht fur den Bauer und Stadtmann
       Enthaltend die Allerbesten Mittel, sowohl fur die Menschen
       als fur das Vieh besonders fur die Pferde." ["The Land- and
       House Apothecary, or, True and Fundamental Instructions for
       the Farmer and City-Dweller Comprising the Very Best
       Remedies for Men as well as for Livestock, and Especially for
       Reading, Pennsylvania, 1818 [and subsequent German-language

      * "Der Lange Verborgene Freund, oder, Getreuer und Christlicher
       Unterricht fur Jedermann, Enthaltend: Wunderbare und
       Probmassige [?] Mittel und Kunste, Sowohl fur die Menschen
       als Das Vieh." ["The Long Lost Friend, or, True and Christian
       Instructions for Everyone. Comprising Wonderful and [Proven?]
       Remedies and Arts, for Men as well as for Livestock."] 
       Reading, Pennsylvania, 1820 [and subsequent German-language

      * "Der Lange Verborgene Schatz und Haus-Freund, oder,
       Getreuer und Christlicher Unterricht fur Jedermann.
       Enthaltend Wunderbare und Erprobte Mittel und Kunste, fur
       Gebrechen der Menschen und am Vieh. Aus dem Arabischen
       Schriften, des weisen Alchemisten Omar Arey, Emir Chemir
       Tschasmir, ins Deutsche ubersetzt und noch mit vielen andern
       Kunsten vermehrt, welches zum Erstenmale in Amerika im
       Druck erscheint." ["The Long Lost Treasure and Family-Friend,
       or, True and Christian Instructions for Everyone. Comprising
       Wonderful and Proven Remedies and Arts, for the Infirmities
       of Men and Livestock. From the Arabic Writings of the Wise
       Alchemist Omar Arey, Emir Chemir Tschasmir, Translated
       into German and Now Enlarged with Many Other Arts, Which
       Appear in Print for the First Time In America"] (A re-titled
       edition of the above book) 
       Skippacksville, Pennsylvania, 1837 [and subsequent
       German-language editions] 

      * "Albertus Magnus, oder, Der Lange Verborgene und Getreuer
       und Christlicher Unterricht fur Jedermann. [etc.]" ["Albertus
       Magnus, or, Long Lost and True and Christian Instructions for
       Everyone [etc.]"] (A re-titled edition of the above book) 
       Pennsylvania, 1839 [and subsequent German-language editions] 

      * "Der Lange Verborgene Freund" ["The Long Lost Friend"] (first
       expanded edition with appendix of material reprinted from
       the Lancaster Zeitungen (Adler) newspaper of 1828) 
       Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, 1840 [and subsequent
       German-language editions] 

     *  "The Long Secreted Friend or a True and Christian Information
       for Every Body; containing Wonderful and Approved Remedies
       and Arts for Men and Beast. Approved by Many Certificates in
       the Book; and of many, which are not inserted" (first
       English-language edition) 
       John G. Hohman, Publisher. First English Edition, translated
       from the German. Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, 1846 

     *  "The Long Lost Friend; a Collection of Mysterious and
       Invaluable Arts and Remedies for Man as well as Animals
       with many proofs of their virtue and efficacy in healing
       diseases, &c, the greater part of which was never published
       until they appeared in print for the first time in the United
       States in the year 1820." (second English-language edition) 
       Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, T. F. Scheffer, Printer, 1856 [and
       subsequent English-language editions, which are based on the
       format of this edition rather than the first edition. ] 

     *  "Pow-Wows or the Long Lost Friend" (first re-titled
       English-language edition) 
       unknown publisher, circa 1890s [and many subsequent
       English-language editions; some of which vary from one
       another in minor ways, particularly in the mis-transliteration
       of Germanic typefaces and the mis-translation of German
       botanical names. Covers vary from publisher to publisher, but
       most include an image of an owl. Interior plates common to
       many of these editions are six or eight steel engravings of
       ancient religious subjects (possible from a 19th century Bible)
       which have no relevance to the text. 20th century publishers
       include Sheldon, Fulton Religious Supply, etc.] 

Three anonymous collections of spells and receipts are also attributed
to Hohman. They are: 

     *  "Unsers Herran Jesu Christi Kinderbuch, oder, Merkwurdige
       Historische Beschreibung Von Joachim Und Anna" ["Our Lord
       Jesus Christ's Childhood-Book, or, The Strange Historical
       Description of Joachim and Anna"] [Probably edited by
       Hamburg, Pennsylvania, 1818 

     *  "Nutzliches Und Sehr Bewahrt Befundenes Weiber-Buchlein:
       Enhalt Aristotelis und Alberti Magni Hebamman-Kunst,
       Welches den Schwangern Weiber und Hebammen Einen
       wahren Unterricht giebet" ["A Useful and Very Well-tested
       Womens'-Booklet: Containing the Art of Midwifery by
       Aristotle and Albertus Magnus, Which Gives True Instruction
       to Pregnant Women and Midwives"] 
       Ephrata, Pennsylvania, 1822 
     *  "Der Sympathetischer Haus-Freund, Oder Die Wunder Der
       Sympathie Und Des Magnetismus" ["The Sympathetic
       Family-Friend. or, The Wonders of Sympathy and
       Bath, Pennsylvania, 1857 

-----end extract

I have four variant early editions now (Hohman 1846, Scheffer 1856,
Sheldon circa 1940, and Fulton circa 1960) and intend to release a
facsimile comparison between the 1846 and 1856 editions with
reproductions of the covers and title pages of the other editions and
brief notes on the mistranslations alluded to above, which are important
for working mages, as they give the wrong herbs for use in a certain

Translation differences? You want a sample or two? Okay, from page 12:

   1846 edition by Hohman
     A Remedy to Catch Fish
        Take some kernels of roses, mustard seed, 
        and the leg of a minx, then tie to a line, 
        and be sure all the fish will gather.

   1856 edition printed by Scheffer
     A Sure Way of Catching Fish
        Take rose seed and mustard seed, 
        and the foot of a weasel, and hang these in a net, 
        and the fish will certainly collect there. 

Hohman's translation is painfully literal, but he specifies the leg of a
mink (minx), not the foot of a weasel (they are related to be sure, but
different species), and he says to tie the charm to a line, not to 
place it in a net. 

Here's another comparison, from the same page, in which the variations
are even greater: 

   1846 edition by Hohman
     Varvaine Veneris
        The root of this herb cures the Quincy, or 
        Kings-evil [scrofula]. It is good in dysnury 
        [difficult urination] and destroys the figwarts 
        [piles] when the sap is mixed with honey and 
        warm water and used as a drink, it cleans the lungs 
        of all bad stuff and gives a good breath. If this 
        root is laid in the house, Vineyards, or in Gardens 
        it will grow in abundance; the root is good and 
        useful to all who raises grapes and trees. Children, 
        who carry it with them, are easy to raise, love all 
        good arts, and are of a joyfull disposition.     

   1856 edition printed by Scheffer
     A Safe Remedy for Various Ulcers, Biles, and other Defects
        Take the root of iron-weed, and tie it around the neck: 
        it cures running ulcers; it also serves against 
        obstructions in the bladder (strangury), and cures 
        the piles, if the roots are boiled in water with honey, 
        and drank; it cleans and heals the lungs and effects a 
        good breath. If this root is planted among grape vines 
        or fruit trees, it promotes the growth very much. 
        Children who carry it, are educated without any 
        difficulty; they become foond of all useful arts 
        and sciences, and grow up joyfully and cheerfully. 

Notice that in 1856 -- out of nowhere! -- Hohman's Varvaine Veneris root
(Verbena hastata, American Vervain, or Verbana officinalis, European
Vervain) is now iron-weed root (Veronica angustifolia) and is to be tied
around the neck! It also no longer cures scrofula. 

Which is correct --  Vervain or Iron-weed? 

Well, i don't have a German edition for comparison, but American Vervain
is listed in Nickell's Botanical Ready-Reference, an 1880s herbal
pharmacopaeia, as an expectorant (a substance that promotes coughing and
clearing of the lungs), but Iron-weed is not. Since Hohman says that the
root in question will "clear the lungs of all bad stuff," it seems that
his original translation of his own writing, crude as it was, was more

I could go on like this page after page, but you get the picture... 

Happy Memorial Day -- this one is for all the dead folks! 

cat yronwode

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