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Doctrine of Signatures 1


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In the ancient days knowledge was passed on by word of mouth and hence the evolution of the doctrine as a practical way of  remembering  the properties of medicinal plants from their habitat, form, flowers and aspects of the physical structures in a time when books were not available and knowledge was passed down by word of mouth.
This was evident in the ancient Aztec Indians and the Indians of North America. The herbs of healing were held sacred by the peoples of the Earth Mother and were often given the names of their gods.
In a way, this was a spiritual practice as it was thought that God marked whatever he created with a sign. This sign was a clear indicator of the item's true purpose as intended by God.

This  practice was followed in the West with names like St Johns wort, Marigold and Rosemary.

.yarrow-blood system friend


Jacob Boehme was a shoemaker from a poor family just outside Goerlitz, In 1600, he was visited by a sudden illumination of the mind in which was made clear the doctrine published in his book Signatura Rerum; The Signature of all Things" he got into trouble with the church and left his village.

  Paracelsus, considered by modern scholars to be the father of modern chemistry did much in his lifetime to popularize the Doctrine of Signatures in its medical application.

He was a believer in the astrological signature system, which referred to the influence of the stars on the plant, and the part of the body affected by that astrological influence… Gerard and Culpeper borrowed plentifully from that era.

One could imagine that if apprenticed to a healer that the plant signature is a wonderful way of remembering the healing properties, especially when you have no manual.

Therefore, through symbols the apprentice could connect with the plant properties. Therefore, unlike the western tradition, memorizing of herbal properties was unnecessary and a field trip would connect with the healing nature of the plant.

Hollow stemmed herbs indicated as cleanser of the hollow tubes in the body--blood, intestines, and respiratory systems.
Plants with thorns indicate helping with sharp pains.

Bitter herbs indicate---bitter to the taste, sweet to the stomach--sweet to the taste, bitter to the stomach.

Groups of plants sharing the same signature would hint at having similar healing properties or healing similar parts of the body.

This is such a wonderful system because you have to apply your powers of observation to the world of nature.
Our common names often reflect this doctrine for e.g.--knit bone, lungwort, eyebright, heartsease pansy, pilewort etc.

The Indians had a different way of doing it--they labeled different parts of the plant or the plant according to use, taste, and origin

E.g. head medicine, arm medicine or bitter root, swamp root so you may get a plant labeled with its attributes and prefixed with the part of the plant used. Often a group of plants was given the same name since they had the same functions

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