Doctrine of Signature: when integrated completes the understanding of therapeutic agent



Doctrine of signature is a visual clue provided by God or just a superstition. It has been a debatable topic. Apart from the doctrine of signature, the natural behaviour, toxicological action and physiological action of the substance is also a part of the study to understand the hidden utility of the substance as a therapeutic agent. This article attempts to explore an integrated approach for the complete understanding of the therapeutic agent.



G.I tract- Gastro Intestinal Tract,

Na- Sodium,

Cl- Chloride,

NaCl- Sodium Chloride,

SOA- Sphere of Action



The Doctrine of signature, ‘signs of nature’, for long has been considered as visual clue provided by God to the hidden utility of the therapeutic substance. There is no scientific evidence that the shape and colour of plants help to discover its therapeutic utility. Thus, instead of considering only the doctrine of signature, the natural behaviour, physiological action and therapeutic action, gives a better understanding of the therapeutic agent. The final court to ascertain their medicinal powers are to observe those changes of health medicine is capable of producing in the healthy organism.


Integrated approach for complete understanding

To have a complete understanding of the therapeutic agent, an example from plant animal and the mineral kingdom is taken; its natural behaviour, physiological action and toxicological action are interpreted and co-related with the evidence available in source books


The following table represents remedies from plant, animal and mineral kingdom; in their natural behaviour, physiological action and toxicological action.


Tarantula hispanica

Sr. no Data

(biology- natural behaviour, physiology- physiological action, poisoning- toxicological action)

Interpretation derived from the data Evidence: Source- Book

(symptoms- from Materia Medica, Hering’s guiding symptom, Allen’s encyclopedia, Prisma)

A Natural Behaviour
1 Spider has 8 legs and is in constant motion,


Patients are always restless- rhythmic The restlessness of hands and legs;
2 Coloration Fascination for bright colour Colours dark desire for


Strategy for survival –trick and trap Patients are cunning and deceptive in their behaviour

Sensitive to being trapped



4 Sense organ sharp Patients hypersensitive – (pain/noise/ touch/ light /vibration) Hypersensitive
5 Web sticky, others do not come near/ touch Sensitive to interaction



Sensitive to touch
6 Fear of being preyed Fear- danger, fear- death Fear dark
B Toxicology
1 Local irritation-inflammation

Skin, G.I Tract

Pain, violent-stinging


Pain: violent-stinging





Pain-stinging type

Pain intense

2 Stimulant action

Mind and Nervous system-  melancholia, delirium, involuntary movements, hysteria, chorea, convulsion, hyperesthesia, Sexual desire++


Excitability- Mind and Nerves







Twitching- chorea



Sexual desire ++

3 Paralytic action Paresis, Paralysis Paretic condition, paralysis
4 Constriction

Circular, cardiac muscle fibre

Angina pectoris Heart region: pain, constriction, breathlessness
5 Necrosis Septic condition Evidence are directly available in source book
6 Destruction-Degeneration

Blood, Bone




Evidence is directly available in source book


Natrium muriaticum

Sr. no Data Interpretation Evidence : Source- Book
A Natural Behaviour
1 Na belongs to group IA and Cl (Halogen group).

Na has only one electron in the outermost shell, hence to complete the octate state it has to give away the electron or share 7 electrons, which it does with Cl to form a NaCl bond.

Na+ Cl [affinity towards Cl]

Independent and dependable.


Specific towards a person

Fear of being alone


One- to – one attachment


Company desire for, alone agg

B Physiological
1 Maintains Osmotic pressure, volume and composition of extracellular fluid compartments

Electrolyte  and fluid balance

Sphere of action (SOA)- intracellular and extracellular fluid, blood


Dryness of mucous membrane


2 Neuromuscular conductivity (SOA)Nerves
3 Cardiac rhythmicity and peripheral resistance of blood vessels (SOA)

Heart  & circulation

Palpitation, with faintness
4 Muscle relaxation and contraction (SOA) Muscles Contraction of muscles
C Toxicology
1 Electrolyte imbalance

(irritability, increased thirst)




Thirst increased

2 Depression of sensorium

(confusion, coma)





3 Paralytic action

(muscle spasticity , focal deficits)

Paralysis : muscle, tissue, organ Paretic condition


4 Laboured respiration Breathlessness Difficult respiration


Zincum metallicum

Sr. no Data Interpretation Evidence : Source- Book
A Physiological action
1 CNS and Mind Excitement


Hypersensitive – nervous system
2 Skin

Helps in protein synthesis and metabolism

Hair growth and wound healing Effectual in securing rapid healing
3 Blood

Increases oxygen affinity of haemoglobin





4 Eye :Uveal tract Deficiency- (keratitis) Deficiency-Inflammation
5 Ossification Impaired – growth retardation, osteoporosis Joint pain
6 Reproductive system

Development of secondary sexual character


Inhibits sexual maturation

Sexual neurasthenia
B Toxicology
1 Stimulant action

CNS and Mind

Excitability and Irritability Irritability, convulsion
2 Paralytic action Paresis, paralysis Paralysis , muscular incordination, imbalance

Irritation, Inflammation, ulceration

Nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, abdominal pain, gastric ulcer Nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, abdominal pain


Pulsatilla partensis

Sr. no Data Interpretation Evidence : Source- Book
A Natural Behaviour
1 Grows in dessert, needs less water Dryness of mouth and thirst less Dryness of mouth

thirst less

2 Flowers are drooping downwards Shyness Timid
3 Flowers are always in a group Company desires Company desire for
4 Flowers are delicate so they change direction with a draft of wind Sensitive



Mood changeable

5 The stem of the flower is delicate and covered with hair like structure

to protect it from wind in chilly phase

Sensitive to a draft of air

Needs covering in open air

< draft of air

Desire open air, covers in open air

B Toxicology
1 Local irritation

Skin, GI tract

Nausea, vomiting diarrhoea Nausea, Vomiting, Diarrhoea
2 Hypotension


Faintness attack




3 Female genitor-urinary tract

Induces abortion, uterine contraction


Dysmenorrhoea, Metrorrhagia

Abortion tendency to

Contraction hourglass


The doctrine of signature, natural behaviour, physiological action toxicological action and observation those changes of health the therapeutic agent is capable of producing in the healthy organism gives a complete understanding of the therapeutic agent. Thus, instead of evaluating their role separately and debating about it, an integrated approach must be used.



Studying each entity separately and debating about its usefulness might not help us in understanding the complete picture.

Thus, an integrated approach- doctrine of signature, natural behaviour, physiological action, toxicological action and drug proving together gives a complete understanding of the therapeutic agent.




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