I have seen the following claim a couple of times before (all in Russian popular science type sources). However, I was never able to find historical OR scientific/technology research directly backing the claims up.
The claim was that old time blacksmiths used specific flowers/plants in their work process that were, at the time, considered magic/ritual; but later on have proven to provide material benefit by introducing doping elements like tungsten/molybdenum into their iron.
I wasn't able to find any references, though tungsten specifically is highly unlikely to have been the case as it is not known to be contained in any biologicals except some rare bacteria. Molybdenum seems to have been doped in by Japanese sword-makers by means of Molybdenum-rich sand, based on some info on the Wiki.
Is there any research supporting or refuting such claims?