What if the old adage “You are what you eat” could be taken a step further? The Doctrine of Signatures proposes just that. Dating back to the early 1600s, the writings of Jacob Böhme in his book The Signature of All Things (the doctrine’s namesake) advanced the belief that “God marked” objects with a sign, or “signature” for their purpose. Plants, their fruits, and roots that looked like human body parts were thought to be helpful to the organs they resembled in some way. Turns out, Böhme was on to something.
Let’s start with perhaps the most dramatic of food/ organ twins: the walnut. The walnut looks just like a miniature brain, right down to the left and right hemispheres and the wrinkles that echo theneo-cortex. Is it a coincidence that walnuts are packed with omega-3 acids that keep the brain functioning normally? Jacob Böhme would have you believe that it is by divine design. Whether it is indeed divine, or just a happy accident of Mother Nature, the similarities of foods and the organs they benefit cannot be ignored.
The human heart is red and has four chambers; its food double, the tomato, also has multiple chambers of red flesh. The lycopene in tomatoes has been proven to slow the progression and lessen the severity of atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries). Tomatoes are also a good source of potassium, niacin, vitamin B6, and folate – a powerful heart-healthy combination of nutrients.
Referred to as “ribs,” stalks of celery resemble the bones of our body. Funny bone coincidence: these leggy veggies and their osteo-clones both contain 23% sodium. In addition, they contain calcium, significant to our skeletal system, because when we lack calcium, the body draws it from the bones, gradually making them weak. Celery also contains silicon, which helps strengthen the bones.
The cross section of a carrot reveals a resemblance to the iris and pupil of the eye. Carrots are rich in beta-carotene, which the body converts to vitamin A that is essential for good vision.
Take an avocado and slice it in half and it bears a similarity to that of a woman’s womb, with the seed even vaguely looking like a baby in utero. Considered a “fertility fruit” by the Aztecs, avocados are a good source of the folic acid so important for pregnant women, helping protect against miscarriage and neural tube defects. Folate has also been found to reduce the risk for cervical dysplasia, a precancerous condition. The “alligator pear” also contains sterol that helps balance hormones. Eating one per week has even been shown to help shed excess baby weight. Another fun fact – the avocado needs exactly nine months to mature from blossom to fruit. All we can say is, bring on the guacamole!
GINGER = stomach
The root is a well-known cure for nausea
SWEET POTATO = pancreas
These spuds release sugars gradually into the blood, reducing pressure on the pancreas
ORANGES = breasts
Powerful phytonutrients help prevent breast cancer