What is the Doctrine of Signature
When you look at your favorite foods, you may notice a resemblance to certain parts of your body. The Doctrine of Signature is the concept of foods being the most beneficial to the organs they resemble. Examples include walnuts being beneficial for your brain and tomatoes helping keep your heart in good shape.
Who Discovered the Doctrine of Signature?
While there are thoughts that the concept originated in Eastern medicine, the first known scientist to put it into words was Philippus Aureolus Theophrastus Bombastus von Hohenheim, or Paracelsus. In addition to this discovery, he is also considered by some to be the founder of toxicology.
How Was the Doctrine Discovered?
The Doctrine of Signature was discovered during a time when medicine wasn’t very advanced. There were also questions of food safety, as our ancestors were still hunters and gatherers. Paracelsus claimed that nature puts signs on certain plants to highlight its properties, both good and bad. While this theory wasn’t foolproof, it gave scientists and physicians at the time a place to start.
Is the Doctrine of Signature Accurate?
While the concept may seem simple and easy to interpret, it may sometimes be too good to be true. There are examples of the Doctrine being accurate as well as dangerously inaccurate. Plants which may resemble or show signs of healing properties but are not helpful may include hallucinogens or be toxic.
There are some clear examples of accuracy, such as carrots and avocados. Carrots resemble the eye when sliced open. It is no surprise to know that they are good for the eye. Avocados resemble the shape of a woman’s uterus and is known to provide nutrients which are critical for a healthy pregnancy. Tomatoes are red and have four chambers, just like the heart which it benefits.
Examples of plants which may not be as beneficial as they appear are mushrooms. A sliced mushroom may be shaped like an ear, but it is not helpful for the organ. In fact, if the wrong mushroom is used, you may see and hear things which are not real for a day. Kidney beans may be shaped like your kidney, but their high phosphate levels can cause damage to bones as well as cause kidney damage.
Are There Benefits to Using the Doctrine?
While some of the examples of the Signature Doctrine are not accurate, the concept can be used as a simple method of remembering good foods to eat. For example, fruits and vegetables like carrots, tomatoes, ginger, and avocados are simple foods which provide benefits to the organs they resemble. Liverwort is good for keeping your liver healthy, and lungwort can be helpful for your lungs. Eyebright may help clear up conjunctivitis.
What Other Applications can you use the Doctrine?
In addition to using plants for health, some use the Doctrine of Signature for applications such as healing and magic. An example of this includes Bay leaves, which are thought to keep negative energy at bay. Angelica is named for the angel Michael and is used in order to enhance healing and protect the user spiritually.
Overall, while the Signature Doctrine is not a tool to use exclusively, the key to using the Doctrine of Signature is to use it as one of many tools for staying healthy. While using the concept, you can also use other tools as well, such as staying up-to-date on modern knowledge. As scientists, homeopathic physicians, and others discover more about our natural world, we may discover even more non-pharmaceutical methods of maintaining our health.