What the Heck is the Doctrine of Signatures?

Plants resembling the human hand and teeth.   Image source: Giambattista della Porta,  Phytognomonica (1588).

The Doctrine of Signatures is an ancient philosophy that states that the specific pattern of certain plants and herbs mirror different parts of the human body, and so therefore help with their healing and support. It was best developed by medieval Swiss physician and alchemist Paracelsus -- making a splash in the West in the 16th and 17th centuries. Later on in the 19th century, American historian and novelist Edward Eggleston stated, “The wild woods were full of creatures (flora and fauna) whose value was written on each of them in the language of signatures … considerately tagged at the creation.” This may seem like a load of hoopla, but this ancient wisdom is confirmed time and time again by modern science!

It's hard to imagine being the very first person that looks at a walnut that has fallen from a cracked shell and eating it just because it has the same shape as a human brain. Or a furry textured plant and thinking "This must be used to help treat organs that are covered with hair-like cilia, like the lungs or intestines. Let's eat a piece!" But that's exactly what happened. After a lot of trial and error of course...

Below are the top 5 that not only have shocking similarities, but have intrinsic relationships that have years of research and studies:

1. Carrot -- If you slice a carrot diagonally, it's the spitting image of the human eye with the pupil, iris, and radiating line resemblance. Carrots are known to be beneficial for good eyesight as they contain high levels of vitamin A (beta-carotene).

Image source:  The Tribune.

Image source: The Tribune.


2. Walnut -- This is one of the most widely known DOC examples in modern day society. Look at how the walnut is divided into two halves just like the left and right hemispheres of the brain. The texture and folds too. The resemblance is absolutely uncanny! If you read my blog post on brain boosters, you know that omega-3s are essential for cognitive function and that walnuts contain high levels of them.

Image source:  The Tribune.

Image source: The Tribune.


3. Ginger -- Ginger root has been known to cure stomach ailments for centuries  -- and a wide variety of them, from bloating to motion sickness. 

Image source:  The Tribune.

Image source: The Tribune.


4. Celery -- Celery stalks look like our bones. You guessed it...they are known to help strengthen our bones. But there's more! Both celery and human bones contain roughly 23% sodium! Our body pulls sodium from the bones when there isn't enough supplied from our diet -- leading to osteoporosis. By eating more celery, you can reduce the likelihood of this issue.  

Image source:  The Tribune.

Image source: The Tribune.


5. Avocado -- I've saved the best for last; this one is mind-blowing! Not only do avocados resemble the womb, but they take exactly 9 months to ripen from a tiny flower. One avocado has nearly 50% of the recommended daily intake of folate, which is an eszsential vitamin during pregnancy.


I'm not suggesting that you go out into the wild and start eating heart-shaped leaves and bright red mushrooms for heart health -- oh no no no! What I am suggesting is that you get more in tune with holistic health and start using the gifts of Mother Nature as methods of prevention. Try to become less reliant on conventional drugs, on methods similar to slapping on a Band-Aid, and on asking Google for quick remedies. The Doctrine of Signatures has been tested for hundreds of years by various tribes worldwide, so the work has already been done for us. Try to broaden your scope of knowledge and learn about something that is new and exciting. It's easy to dismiss something right away, especially if it's far beyond your current beliefs -- but the true magic always comes in that area of discomfort. 

Just something to "digest".


Peace, self-love, and kale,

Monica Elena