The Doctrine of Signatures:
Before moving to Virginia in 2004, I started a series of classes at what is now called, The Botanical Medical Institute with Dr. Les Moore. He is one the world’s leaders of Integrative Medicine as well as a Naturopathic Doctor, Licensed Acupuncturist and Director of two Integrative Medicine Centers; one of them in Clifton Spring’s, NY.
While attending several classroom lectures and nature hikes under his teaching, Dr. Les Moore so passionately taught us about plants, their purpose and ways of healing the body. Most synthetic medicine is mimicked from the properties found in nature. Every day, we unknowingly walk by a blueprint for healing and protection of disease. The power of food and plants are so incredibly amazing.
The MOST remarkable thing I learned from Dr. Les Moore is the Doctrine of Signatures. The philosophy behind the Doctrine of Signatures is that the doctrine states that herbs and plants that resemble various parts of the body can be used to treat ailments of that part of the body.
For example, think of a beet. Its leaves are shaped as a heart, the beet itself is shaped like a heart, it is red and its juice so closely resembles blood. It is has been shown that the redness in beets fortifies the blood and also contains antioxidants that are protective specifically for the heart. The shape and appearance of walnuts resemble the brain and has been shown to nourish and support the brain and nervous system function. The kidney bean has been shown to strengthen and improve kidney function with the appropriate supportive nutrients. Lungwort, which is a flowering plant with spotted leaves resembling a diseased lung, is believed to be important for pulmonary problems. The hollow tube-like inside of garlic resembles our esophagus and throat and is known to be beneficial in throat and bronchial problems.
In addition to plants resembling or showing us what they may be intended for, you also find that certain plants grow near for reason. Plants that are natural cures for poisonous plants grow near each other. For example, when you see poison ivy you know that jewel weed is always close by. Jewel weed is a natural cure for poison ivy. These are just a few of so many examples of the Doctrine of Signatures and I encourage you to do your own research on this wonderful presentation around us.
When we study the appearance of plants, they show us what potential properties they may be used for. It is mostly fascinating and I suggest leaving it up to scientists or certified herbalist to take it any further, but rather to just appreciate the plant life among us and its amazing medicinal properties so much that modern medicine is mimicked after.