The Origins and Availability of the Enigmatic Ingredients: “Eye of Newt” and “Bat’s Wing”

When it comes to the world of magic and witchcraft, few ingredients are as iconic as “eye of newt” and “bat’s wing”. These enigmatic ingredients have been referenced in countless books, movies, and TV shows, often used by witches and wizards to concoct powerful potions and spells. But where did these clichés originate, and is it actually possible to acquire an “eye of newt” or a “bat’s wing”? Let’s delve into the fascinating history and availability of these mystical ingredients.

The Origins of “Eye of Newt” and “Bat’s Wing”

The phrases “eye of newt” and “bat’s wing” are most famously associated with William Shakespeare’s play “Macbeth”. In Act 4, Scene 1, the witches are seen brewing a potion, adding in “eye of newt and toe of frog, wool of bat and tongue of dog”. This scene has since become one of the most well-known depictions of witchcraft in literature.

However, these ingredients are not as gruesome as they first appear. In fact, they are believed to be euphemisms for more common, and less macabre, ingredients. “Eye of newt” is thought to refer to mustard seeds, while “bat’s wing” is believed to represent holly leaves. This interpretation comes from an old tradition of referring to herbs and plants by unusual names in order to keep their medicinal properties a secret.

Availability of “Eye of Newt” and “Bat’s Wing”

Given that “eye of newt” and “bat’s wing” are likely euphemisms for mustard seeds and holly leaves, acquiring these ingredients is much easier than one might initially think. Mustard seeds are widely available in grocery stores and online, often used in cooking for their pungent flavor. Holly leaves, on the other hand, can be found on holly trees, which are common in many parts of the world.

However, if you’re looking for actual newt eyes or bat wings, you’re likely to be disappointed. Newts are protected species in many countries, making it illegal to harm them. As for bats, they are also protected by law in many places due to their importance in maintaining ecosystems. Therefore, it’s best to stick to the metaphorical versions of these ingredients.


While the phrases “eye of newt” and “bat’s wing” may conjure up images of witches hunched over bubbling cauldrons, the reality is far less sinister. These ingredients are likely references to common plants, used in a time when the knowledge of herbs and their properties was closely guarded. So next time you hear these phrases, remember that they’re not as macabre as they seem – and much easier to acquire than you might think!