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The Doctrine of Signatures in Present-Day Israel

Dafni Amots, Lev E.
Economic botany 2002 v.56 no.4 pp. 328-334
Alhagi maurorum, Astragalus, Briza maxima, Citrullus colocynthis, Cynoglossum, Ecballium elaterium, Heliotropium europaeum, Momordica charantia, Parietaria judaica, Rhamnus alaternus, Ruta chalepensis, Ruta graveolens, color, grasses, habitats, humans, traditional medicine, Israel
Some evidence of the existence of an ancient pharmacological theory—the Doctrine of Signatures—has been found in the folk medicine of Israel. The research reported 14 plants with folk medicinal uses based on the Doctrine of Signatures categories including: similarity of the plant or plant organ to the damaged human organ (Alhagi maurorum, camel thorn; Astragalus macrocarpus, milk-vetch; and Cynoglossum creticum, blue hound’s tongue), similarity to animal shape or behavior (Heliotropium europaeum, European tumsole; Asteriscus spinosus, starwort; and Briza maxima, large quaking grass), similarity of plant color to the color of the disease’s symptoms or the medical phenomena (Rhamnus alaternus, Italian buckthorn; Citrullus colocynthis, bitter gourd; and Ecballium elaterium, squirting cucumber), and similarity of plant habitat or characteristic to human features (Parietaria judaica, wall pellitory; and Ruta chalepensis, African rue).