Doctrine of Signatures


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Doctrine of Signatures,

the concept that the key to humanity's use of various plants was indicated by the form of the plant. The red sap of the bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis), for instance, was believed to cure diseases of the blood, while the fused leaves of boneset (Eupatorium perfoliatum) were used to heal broken bones. The concept was employed by the herbalists of the Renaissance, and was accepted until the latter part of the 19th cent.

Doctrine of Signatures

[¦däk·trən əv ′sig·nə·chərz]
(medicine)
An archaic concept that a medicinal plant was often stamped with some clear indication (signature) of its specific remedial power; for example, plants with yellow sap were said to cure jaundice.
References in periodicals archive ?
beans, peas, pine nuts); and sympathetic stimulation and the doctrine of signatures (e.
The Doctrine of Signatures was the medieval practice where plants were used to treat ailments of the organs they resemble and celandines were used as a cure for piles - a sort of pre-homeopathy.
She will host Matthew Wood as he explores Traditional Western Herbalism through Plant Energetics and the Doctrine of Signatures during a weekend workshop June 24th and 25th.

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