THE DOCTRINE OF SIGNATURES: A WARFARE BETWEEN MYTH AND REALITY

  • D. A. PATIL THE DOCTRINE OF SIGNATURES: A WARFARE BETWEEN MYTH AND REALITY D. A. PATIL POST-GRADUATE DEPARTMENT OF BOTANY, S.S.V.P.S’S L.K.DR.P.R. GHOGREY SCIENCE COLLEGE, DHULE - 424005 (MAHARASHTRA, INDIA). Corresponding author’s e-mail: dapatil_10aug@yahoo.com
Keywords: Doctrine of signatures, History, Myth, Reality.

Abstract

ABSTRACT:

The plants and animals, from the very beginning of their existence, are being studied by two widely distinct standpoints viz., (i) the philosophical and (ii) the utilitarian. The plants especially from the latter standpoint were/are studied as a source of medicine and agriculture.  The science of medicine was/is based on ‘cause and effects’, apart from certain other theories and philosophies. One such philosophy is ‘the doctrine of signatures’. However, it has been criticized since its beginning. The present communication is the result of analysis of the knowledge of ancients and author’s own observations. It is aimed at inviting attention of intellectuals to revive  and point out relevance in its totality.

The paper sheds light on history and development of this doctrine, contributions of pioneers, types of signature, background of planetary influence, comparison of signatures from ethnomedicine to modern medicine, echo of doctrine of signatures on common plant names in various human societies, various views of proponents and opponents of the doctrine, etc. It is concluded that the drug sources based on the doctrine alongwith verification on scientific lines is a better way to human welfare.

KEY WORDS: Doctrine of signatures, History, Myth, Reality.

References

REFERENCES:
Ahirrao, Y.A., M.V.Patil and D.A.Patil (2011) Ethnomedicinal claims of some common botanicals sold by vendors in North Maharashtra (India). Journal of Ecobiotechnology 3(9):01-03.
Albertus Magnus (1560) The Booke of Secretes of Albertus Magnus of The Vertues of Herbes, Stones And Certain Beastes. Wyllyam Copland, London, UK.
Andrew, C.M. (1996) Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants Darlinig Kindersley, London, UK.
Arber, Agnes (1999) Herbal Plants & Drugs: Their Origin And Evolution. Mangal Deep Publications, Jaipur, India (Repr.Ed.)
Balee, William (1994) Footprints of The Forests. Columbia University Press, New York, USA. pp.103.
Ben-Maimon Moshe (1965) Sexual Life (Munter, S.Ed.) Geniza Publishing, Jerusalem.
Bhamare, P.B. (1998) Traditional knowledge of plants for skin ailments of Dhule and Nandurbar districts, Maharashtra (India). J.Phytol.Res. 11(2):195-196.
Boehme, J. (1912) The Signaturs of All Things With Other Writings. J.M. Dent, London, UK; E.P.Dutton & Co., New York, USA.
Cole, William (1656) The Art of Simpling. Nathiel Brook. London, U.K.
Cole, William (1657) Adam In Eden; Or Natures Paradise … National Broks, London, UK.
Culpeper, Nicholas (1649) A Physicall Directory or A translation of the London Dispensatory Made by the Colledge of Physicians in London… With many additions. Printed For Peter Cole, London.
Dau at Antaki (16th Century) Encyclopedia on Medicine, Natural History And Occult Sciences. In: International Congress of The History of Science (10th Ithaca) (Plessner, M. 1962). 26-VIII, 2-IX, pp.635-637.
Dioscorides, P. (A.D. 40-90) De Materia Medica. http://penelope.uchicago.edu/ ~grout/encyclopaedia_romana/romapage.html
Doctrine of Signatures. Available on: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doctrine_of_signatures.
Foucault, Michel (1970) The Order of Things. Tavistock Publications, London, UK. pp.28.
Galen (1826) De Simplicium Medicamentarum Temperamentis et Facultatibus. Leipzig (Kuehn Edition).
Geoffery, Grigson (1973) A Dictionary of English Plant Names. Allen Lane, London, UK.
Harris Ben Charles (1972) The Compleat Herbal. Barre Publishers, Barre M.A.
Ibn al-Baytar (1874) Kitab a-Jami II-Mufradal al-Adwiya we-7-Aghdhiya. Bulaq, Cairo.
Ibn Sina (1877) Kitab al-Quanum fi I-Tibb Beyrouth al-Muthanna.
Jadhav, Dinesh (2011) Ethnomedicinal survey of tribal inhabited localities of Rutlam District (M.P.) in the light of ‘doctrine of signatures’. Ethnobotany 23:121-124.
Jain, S.K. (1991) Dictionary of Indian Folk Medicine And Ethnobotany. Deep Publications, New Delhi, India.
Kocher, P. (1947) Paracelsan Medicine In England: The First Thirty Five Years. Journal of The History of Medicine And Allied Sciences (IT) 4:451-480.
Lev, Efram (2002) The doctrine of signatures in the Medieval and Ottoman Levant. Vesalius, VIII. 1:13-22.
Lewis, B. (1953) An Arabic Account of The Province of Safad-1. Bulletin of The School of Oriental And African Studies. 15:477-488.
Medicus, F. (1936 ) The Significance of Paracelsus. Bulletin of The Institute of The History of Medicine (IV) 5:353-366.
Nagendra, Prasad P. and Z. Abraham (1984) Ethnobotany of Nayada of North Kerala. J.Econ.Tax.Bot. 5:41-48.
Natura Sophia: The Wisdom of Nature. Available on: http://www.naturasophia.com
Pagel, Walter (1958) Paracelsus: An Introduction To Phylosophical Medicine In The Era of The Renainssance. S.Karger, Basle.
Paracelsus (1656) Supreme Mysteries of Nature. (Translated by R. turner) London, UK.
Patil M.V. and D.A.Patil (2005) Ethnomedicinal practices of Nasik District (Maharashtra). Indian J. Trad. Knowledge (CSIR) 4(3):287-290.
Patil, D.A. (2004) Origin of medicines vis-à-vis doctrine of signatures. Ethnobotany 16(1-2): 52-58.
Patil, D.A. (2005) Doctrine of signatures and ayurvedic medicines, Natl.J.Life.Sci. 2(Suppl.)535-539.
Patil, D.A. (2006) English names of common plants. J. Swamy Bot.Cl. 23:135-138.
Patil, D.A. (2007) Origins of medicines in the perspective of doctrine of signatures. J.Phytol. Res. 20(1):155-157.
Patil, D.A. (2007) Origins of Plant Names. Daya Publishing House, Delhi, India.
Patil, D.A. (2010) Medicinal Plants: History, Culture And Usage. Manglam Publications, Delhi, India.
Patil, D.A. (2010) Native phytomedicines in the perspective of doctrine of signatures in Buldhana district (Maharashtra: India). Deccan Current Science 3(II):104-111
Patil, D.A. and S.B.Shisode (2014) Significance of common plant names in philological and ethnobiological perspective. The Journal of Ethnobiology & Traditional Medicine (Photon) 122: 854-859.
Patil, D.A. and S.K.Tayade (2014) Sanskrit common plant names in philological and ethnobotanical context, The Journal of Biodiversity (Photon), 113:268-271.
Patil, D.A.(2014) Traditional phytomedicines in Dhule and Nandurbar districts (Maharashtra: India) vis-à-vis doctrine of signatures. The Journal of Ethnobiology And Traditional Medicine (Photon) 121:767-772.
Patil, M.V. and D.A. Patil (2006) Ethnobotany of Nasik District (Maharashtra), Daya Publishing House, Delhi, India.
Pawar Shubhangi and D.A.Patil (2012) Standardization in Ayurvedic medicine: Still a far cry. Journal of Experimental Sciences 3(2):01-03.
Pawar Subhangi and D.A. Patil (1999) The origin and utility of vernacular plant names in Khandesh region of Maharashtra. J.Swamy Bot.Cl 17:43-47.
Pawar, Shubhangi and D.A.Patil (2006) Ethnobotanical aspects of naturalised exotic plants of Jalgaon District. J.Non-Timber Forest Products 13(1):55-59.
Pearce, J.M.S. (2008) The Doctrine of Signatures (PDF). European Neurology (Karger.com) 60(1):51-2. doi:10.1159/00131714.PMID 18520149.
Porta, Jhannes Baptista (1588) Phytognomica… Neapoli, Apud Horatium Saluianum, Nepales.
Steiner, Roudolf (1975) Spiritual Science And Medicine. Rudolf Steiner Press, London, UK.
Tamsyn, Barton (1994) Ancient Astrology. Routledge, London (UK) and New York (USA). pp.103.
The Doctrine of Signature. Available on: http://familyhomeopathy.com/blog/page/61
The Doctrine of Signatures: A Guide To The Essence of Plant Properties. Available on: www.portlandherbal school.com/wp…/The_Doctrine_of_signatures.pdf.
Theophrastus (1529) Theophrasti de Historia Plantarums Libri Quindecim. Theodoro Gaza Interprete….. (Colophon) Excussum Luteciae, in aedibus Christani Wechel.
Tipp, O. and L.W.Stern (1977) Humanistic Botany. Norton, New york, USA. pp.47.
White, Andrew Dickson (1896) A History of The Warfare of Science With Theology In Christendom. Vol.2. New York: D. Applenton & Co.pp.38. http://www.archive.org/details/cu31924022599330.