The doctrine of signatures is the age-old belief that plants resemble the very body physician Paracelsus () was a notable advocate of the doctrine of. Key Words: Doctrine of signatures, medicinal plant selection, medicinal plants, organoleptic properties, transmission of knowledge, Paracelsus, signatures. The Doctrine of Signatures may have been a medical concept of the ancient was revived by “Paracelsus” (Theophrastus Bombastus von Hohenheim), a.

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So the Platonists and the Aristotelians had different interpretations — I adhere to the former group. Yet power here is paired with delicacy of form. Horsetail Equisetum arvensis looks like horse hair, so it is good for the hair. The poet fell silent; his majestic eye, having regained its old, sun-like power, roamed thoughtfully, in contemplation, as though over distant fields where it beheld what cannot be expressed in words. Opposite leaves, the look like the two kidneys opposite each other, are also a signature, as seen in ground ivy.

Arnica is a somewhat toxic plant. Young leaves of the plant are suitable for salads or cooked like spinach. Throughout this the archetype, i. Scrophularia, a very powerful lymphatic alterative, has little round gland-like flowers that are purple and smell bad a signature for putridity. Those herbs with sharp thorns or prickles signify their application in cases of pain.

Thus, Steiner associated it with the nervous system in animals, the next development beyond the plant level. The Signatures likewise are taken notice of, they being as it were the Books out of which the Ancients first learned the Vertues of Herbes; Nature or rather the God of nature, having stamped on divers of them legible Characters to discover their uses.

Valerian, catnip, hops, crampbark. That property belongs only to humanity.

Thus, when a plant looks like an animal or is strongly associated with an animal — especially if the docrine uses it paracelsua a medicine — then the plant has extra powers. Thus, the Fire element is associated specifically with people, as opposed to animals, plants, or minerals.

One analogy Steiner did not make, which I would like to introduce, is that between the elements and the four psychological functions of Dr. However, I prefer boneset, which has a bone-white flower.


We signztures for green skgnatures leaves that are intensely green, like spinach, nettle, horsetail, and comfrey. Brown-red astringence and black belong to the dry, cold, malefic Saturn, white the color of sugar and carbohydrates to the nutritive Moon, and relaxing blue, blue-green, and green for Venus.

Agrimony looks like it has hair-standing-on-end: The concept of signatures is reflected in the common names of some plants whose shapes and colors reminded herbalists of the parts of the body where they were thought to do good, as for instance:. English Translation of the German edition v.

Doctrine of signatures

Even the sound an herb makes is used as a signature in American Indian medicine. The signatures or hints given by certain characteristics of plants can be easily broken down into categories.

I’ve read the original account in Hebrew and it is hard to construe the story any other way, though if a person has never heard of the idea of archetypes or correspondences, or that around the world names are associated with identifying the essence, one would miss the point of the story. It is, rather, as if the Earth is a living organism, which consciously takes care of itself.

Doctrine of signatures

There are, of course, a few remedies that look like the hair on the head. In fact, a resonate, velvety voice, indicating inflammation in the surface of the lungs, is a good indicator for mullein. Paraceleus kidney remedies have a signature that is quite rational. I would put coltsfoot at the head of the que — and it is a good remedy for tenacious mucus.

The elements of grandeur that reign in those regions find in the plant a form of life that is in accord with them, formed wholly out of them, receiving them in the way that is possible for plants, and giving expression to them at a higher level, in color and scent.

Their functions are simple, with a basic emphasis on sustenance and reproduction. It is rooted in the moist freshness of alpine meadows, and utterly belongs to spring and early summer, to the pure atmosphere and the forces of morning.

Wild iris, which is blue, slightly purple, and yellow, is generally considered a blood-purifier. Generally, yellowness and bitterness are the best signatures for the liver, while yellowness and sweetness are indicators for the spleen. Bone remedies are usually white and sometimes look like bones.


The Fire element is associated with upward movement towards the heavens, and therefore with the spiritual aspirations within people for the heavenly realms.

Calendula, with its bright orange flower, looks like ‘herbal sunshine. You are commenting using your Facebook account.

Eventually these signatuures became the basis of homeopathy, which also added the doctrine of the dimunition of the dose. Notify me of new comments via email. This is now the basis of modern scientific study. The corn or crop dies and by late summer the ‘hole’ in the field is filled with smartweed.

Gravel root Eupatorium spp. The appearance of hairs all over the plant also resembles the hair on our heads. Wolf medicine acts on the gallbladder, tendons, ligaments, and joints, and intermittent chills and fever. I asked Carlos how the virtues of the signxtures plant had been discovered.

Onion and garlic have hollow tubes, like the bronchial tubes, while calamus looks like a trachea and is a great remedy for tracheitis. Black cohosh Cimicifuga racemosa and wild indigo Baptisia tinctoria have been pointed out to me as Snake Medicines by American Indians because the seeds in the seedpod produce a rattling sound. Plants whose leaves are soft in texture are to be used to ease the pain of paracelsjs diseased or painful area.

Harris42 recommends that the first signature one look for is the habitat of an herb: Referring to the above doctrihe, someone once asked the author what Goethe’s description might have sounded like, and he then wrote the following, putting it the way Goethe might have put it.

Rounding the corner of the color spectrum into blue, we find that this color is the antispasmodic. Fire stimulates the nerves and awakens consciousness. Antidotes to poisons that are marked with a black spot or turn black quickly after death: Behold the flower, how it melts into light, into the blaze of the sun.

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