Essence and Signature of the Medicinal Plants – Part 2

Essence and Signature of the Medicinal Plants – Part 2

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The healing principle of a plant is its archetype

Paracelsus said that the Arcanum is the essence of medicine, not that which our teeth can chew. With that he meant that the essence of a medicine is not its active substances, but a spiritual principle, which he called Arcanum. This spiritual, healing principle is then a plant’s archetype. This means that the archetype of a plant is the highest aspect that can become effective through an herbal preparation.

But how is this possible? Does this connection with the Arcanum, with the archetype, happen when we simply eat a plant or drink some tea? No, because the plant must go through a pharmaceutical process, which considers some essential alchemical principles. What does this mean? In the living (and also in the dried plant) the archetype has become ineffective since its whole energy has been used up to build its form. Since the form is practically complete in the grown plant, the archetype has used up its essential potency and is now in a latent phase. In order to reactivate the archetype, it must be “liberated”, or detached from its “imprisonment” in the physical form.

This is the goal of the alchemical manufacturing processes, which are also known as spagyric, as well as certain homeopathic procedures, which work with the dissolution of a form. The archetype is thereby liberated from its form and can now get into a resonant connection with the medicine, which can be transmitted to the psyche of a person during a therapy.

On the other hand, there are, on a lower effective level of the medicine, the material active principles, which are formed through the metabolism of the plant and which, therefore, have an influence on a person’s metabolism, i.e. on their physical functions.

Since neither the spirit (the archetype) nor the soul (the energetic bond) of the plant are “inside” the plant, but have an effect on it from the outside, a plant does not have a consciousness in the same way an animal or a human being does, although a plant does have perceptions, of course.

There is a very old saying:

God sleeps in the stone, breathes in the plant, dreams in the animal and awakens in the human being.

How is a therapy carried out through the herbal Arcanum?

When certain characteristics of a person cannot be manifested according to their nature due to a crisis, a blockade or a fateful constellation and this leads to a blockade in the life flow, a transformation process can be supported through a plant which embodies exactly these same characteristics. We emphasise the word “supported”, since the main work in a psychological transformation is always carried out by a person’s consciousness.

We want to describe this with the help of the signature and the essence of a well-known medicinal plant.

Example of a plant: the goldenrod


The goldenrod (Solidago virgaurea) belongs to the family of the composite plants, whose characteristic feature are its inflorescences which are held together like baskets. A seemingly “single” flower of a composite plant, i.e. the sunflower, consists of small single petals which grow densely on the receptacle and which are held together by rows of green bracts. The sunflower’s brown blooming disc is formed by numerous single flowers in its middle and each one of them engenders a sunflower seed. The unbroken wreath of yellow “petals”, which surrounds the flower disc like a crown, is formed by ray florets. Each “petal” of the sunflower is a single ray floret.

In the goldenrod we find a rare deviation from the layout of this family. The crown of its flower head is not completely formed, some ray florets are missing. It seems as if someone had torn out some ray florets on the edge. In its overall picture, however, the inflorescence does not leave you with an impression of anything missing. The petals form a picture of a harmonious whole with a strong radiation due, on one hand, to its radiant golden yellow colour and, on the other hand, to the tightness of the flower heads so that they are intermeshed, as it were, and the gaps can hardly be seen.


Our psychological shell is, above all, determined by our feelings. The positive emotional relationship to those who are closest to us – our parents, spouses, children and friends – or who we work with, form a psychological network in which we are embedded and that gives us a feeling of security. This network forms and strengthens our psychological shell.

A person’s psyche corresponds to a plant’s flowers. The flowers are analogous to the feelings and the spontaneous thoughts that have not yet matured and become actions. So, what does it mean that the flower corollas of the goldenrod are full of gaps and that we get the impression that someone has torn out some of the ray florets? Can we see the analogy to the loss of an important emotional relationship there?

When we read a plant’s signature, we can think of a golden rule:

When a certain part of a plant shows a deviation from the norm, a lack, a “mistake”, it always has the solution for it, since everything in nature strives for balance, for equilibrium, for compensation.

What does this mean with the goldenrod? Its inflorescence is so radiant, so perfect, that the gaps in the single flower heads cannot be seen. It seems that especially through the gaps an even more intimate connection of the flowers to the whole is possible.

Therefore, we can recognise an essence in this signature which gives a person consolation and psychological energy when an important relationship has been ended, be it through the death of a close person, a difficult crisis in a relationship or a divorce, the termination of a friendship or a job. In such cases a medicine that contains goldenrod can be supportive.

The information, which is shown in the signature of the goldenrod is combined in the human spirit with the corresponding information and it thereby unfolds a stimulating and healing effect.

We can also look at the signature from a further perspective, which leads to the same conclusion. The incomplete goes into a relationship with the fellow beings in a different way than the complete and the whole.

Something whole is self-contained and autonomous. The incomplete, on the other hand, depends on the supplement of the other, of a partner. Whatever is not “round”, not perfect, is dependent on the relationships with others. Only through the connection with them something whole and viable can develop. This is the real situation of the human being since perfection is only possible on the level of ideas and principles, but not in reality.


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Date: October 20, 2020
Author: Dr. Roger Kalbermatten (Switzerland)
Photo: Roger Kalbermatten

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