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Healing Herb Series: The Doctrine of Signatures

My imagination always gets ahead of me, and I can actually scare myself simply by imagining far-fetched things. Case in point was when I asked my dad how I can survive if I am forced to live in the forest because there’s war going on in the city. He answered me nonchantly, saying that since it is a forest, there will be plenty of plants I can eat…or in case I get sick, I can heal myself anyways since there are herbs around.

Still, i am not satisfied.

I asked him how will I know if the plant is poisonous or not, I surely don’t want to poison myself accidentaly and die in the middle of the forest…to be eaten by beasts. Also, among the million plants around, how am I suppose to know what herb heals what. I made a mental note to bring with me a picture book of healing herbs while running towards the forest. Hihihi! My dad, who is more sensible than I am, said that God is actually more intelligent than I think. He said that God left us clues so we can easily distinguish good plants from bad plants, and what the good plants can actually do. He gave me two pointers:

1. Before putting any herb in your mouth, smell it.

Pick a fresh leaf and break it a little. Smell it. If it has a scent, then it is safe to eat. If the scent is quite strong, it can heal. For example, we have oregano, rosemary, malunggay, etc. Plants without scent are not for consumption;they are either poisonous or will give you discomfort. For example, we have “lipa”…a very popular herb used for witchcraft.

Quite easy to remember. I think I will not die of poisoning. Hihihi!

2. Remember the Doctrine of Signatures

I went blank when my dad said this. I thought he was referring to a church doctrine or something. I was relieved to know that this was an ancient European philosophy which believes that God has marked everything He created for the purpose that He intends them to have. This doctrine says that plants that resemble a body part can actually heal that particular part. Try to imagine the plant “lung wort”, which has several spots on its leaves which resembles a human lung in trouble, is said to cure…yup, lung diseases! Another example is “dandelion”, which has yellow flowers and bitter taste, is a popular cure for liver disorders (since it resembles the bile in the liver), and is known to be an excellent diuretic for those with kidney disorders (it resembles urine when its flowers are in juice form).  This doctrine is quite handy, don’t you think?

These two pointers are so great! I feel like I have a real good chance to survive in the wilderness. Now, if only i can outrun that hungry lion that shares the forest with me…hihihi!

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