Keywords: Doctrine of signatures, History, Myth, Reality.



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.


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