Barbara Roberts, Homeopath

Doctrine of Signatures

If you have been floating around the homeopathic or natural therapies world for a while you may have heard the term Doctrine of signatures. This is actually an ancient theory, dating back to Dioscorides, a Greek physician in the first century who wrote a Materia Medica that was used for over 1500 years.

The theory behind this is that you look at the appearance of a substance and it will give you clues about what it will help heal. Sounds a bit medieval- and as you read above, it’s even older than that. Certainly in herbal medicine some of the doctrine of signatures have been disproved, some are even highly toxic.

Homeopathically however things may be different. Homeopathy is an energy medicine, so appearances and preferences of a substance all show up in a remedy. When we look at a new remedy we look at the substance it came from – does this plant grow in places with high prevailing winds – in the remedy picture they may be aggravated or ameliorated by wind. Does the animal live in a group or pack – we would expect the person needing this remedy to need or want company.

My eldest was in tears a couple of weeks ago because she had to light a match in science and she was afraid. She had the same problem again last week and her science teacher told her her homework was to light matches so that she can get her Bunsen burner license.

She was completely hysterical. She managed to light a couple but would drop it (into water) before it had even finished flaring. Nothing I said was helping and she was working herself up into a state.

So we went inside. I gave her some rescue remedy, and some Phosphorus (fears, anxiety and phosphorus is also found on match heads).

Then she was able to go out and light it and hold onto the match, then light some candles without any problems, even saying “this is fun!”

Often in Homeopathy you will find us talking about the substance as well as the symptoms, and sometimes the substance provides the clue, like in this case with the phosphorus on the match head.

This story has been published with the consent of my daughter.

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