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doctrine of signatures, urtica dioica, stinging nettle, solar body

The Doctrine of Signatures as fingerprint of the Divine

Author: Anja Heij

Researching substances in laboratories is a modern way of trying to
understand the universe. The various components of a subject are taken apart,
isolated and carefully studied.
This is contrary to the old days, where
people would observe a complete plant, animal or mineral in its natural
surroundings, to gain information on its characteristics.
cultures from all over the world believe in the interconnectedness of all
things, as laid down in the wise saying “As above - so below”.

The basic idea is that every living thing has been blown in the same life
force or spirit, while its physical form is influenced by a certain form of this
universal energy.
The different forms of energy are symbolically represented
by the stars and planets. Another way of saying is that a certain planet ‘rules’
several plants, animals and minerals.
Therefore a Mars-plant shares
personality-treats with this solar body, and will be able to donate Mars-power
as healing force. The Mars-plant can be recognized by its physical appearance
and habitat.

A good example of a martial plant is the stinging nettle (Urtica dioica), a
strong growing herb with a clear defense system.
The stinging nettle shares
the strong life force and aggression of Mars. Therefore it is a useful herb for
people who need more vitality, courage and assertivity. According to medical
astrology Mars rules the blood, the stinging nettle has a reddish stem, and
indeed this plant is a good bloodcleanser and bloodbuilder.
This form of
cosmobiology is named the Doctrine of Signatures.
Modern chemistry has shown
that this Doctrine is right, because the stinging nettle contains certain
vitamines and a lot of minerals and other regenerative substances, what explains
the energy supportive and cleansing qualities of the plant.

The Doctrine of Signatures states that the physical form of a plant gives a
clue to its healing purposes.
Hereto one carefully observes the form, size
and texture of the leaves, the stem, the roots, taste and smell of the plant,
form and color of the flower, place of growing, and the way and time of
flowering. The sum of these details forms the pattern or personality of the
In herbology most of the time we work supportive and complimentary; so
the aggressive stinging nettle is a good choice to balance a too soft character,
but I would never give it to a fiery and irritable personality.

Here are the basics used in the Doctrine of Signatures:

The roots of the plant have their influence on the brains of a human
being; plants with impressive roots are good to ground airy people.
stem and leaves
represent the middle part in a human being; think of the
breast, heart and lungs. Further the stem is analogous to our
The flowers mostly work on the lower belly and the

Upward growing plants fully open up to the force of the sun, and
therefore bring optimism and enthusiasm.
Downward pointing plants with
hanging flowers
harmonize people who feel down or depressed; so here
Horizontally growing plants symbolize contact and
exchange and therewith promote the circulation of blood and lungs.

A round stem is associated with femininity, harmony and
A square stem points at the masculine qualities of immunity
and strength.
A hollow stem reveals that the plant may relief
complaints with the hollow organs in a human being, like the lungs or the
A hairy stem and dito leaves show action on the skin, hair and
mucous membranes.
Thorns and stings show that the plant promotes
regeneration and immunity.

Small and divided leaves show a contracting force in the plant, but
have a relaxing effect on a human being.
Large leaves on the other
hand have contracting power in a human being and may help stop profuse bleedings
or increase muscle contractions.
Dark-green leaves work calming and
Yellow-green leaves promote the metabolism.

Dark yellow flowers stimulate the life force and the liver
yellow flowers
are good for internal cleansing of the body.
work on the heart, bloodcirculation, energy and
Orange flowers work on the solar plexus and bring
Pink flowers work softening and harmonizing.
cool down heat complaints like feaver, inflammations or an irritable
Purple flowers Relax the nervous system and make a person
more introvert.
White flowers work soothing in inflammations and have
their special working area on the female organs.
The color brown
brings inner calm and strength, especially in case of exhaustion.

Sun-plants have long strong stems and upward flowers in the colors
white, yellow or orange.
Moon-plants are watery and have large
Mercury-plants grow horizontally and easily move along with
the wind.
Venus-plants are soft-colored and smell
Mars-plants have thorns and
Jupiter-plants are big and grow abundant, like in the
Saturnus-plants are the strong ones that survive scarce
conditions, like cactae.
Uranus-plants are the radio-active
Neptune-plants are poisonous in the bad case, or have purple
flowers and bring relaxation to the mind in the positive case. Can’t help it:
Neptune is both for the very high and the very low.
The plants of
are the toad-stools and mushrooms.

This is not a system one learns overnight, and to make use of it one also
needs his intuition.
I believe that, if we truly wish to understand the
healing riches of the vegetable world, it is most wise to combine the
traditional knowledge of the Doctrine of Signatures with the scientifically
derived conclusions of chemical tests with the plants.

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