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    Astrology and Health
    the herb: dandelion

    Dandelion: part 1 | part 2Herbs & Symbolism
    A Jovial Herb
    Of the rulership of dandelion, Culpeper states: It is under dominion of Jupiter.1 Jupiter frequently rules plants that grow abundantly and dandelion is a particularly good example. Such is its power to multiply that a single dandelion root flowering in the spring is capable of propagating five new generations by the end of a good English summer!

    It even has the ability to set seed asexually when there are too few insects to pollinate the flowers, due to the weather being too cold for them to be active (the hot and moist nature of Jupiter countering the cold and dryness of the climate). The leaves of Jovial herbs are soft and smooth, in contrast to the stiff and hairy leaves of Saturnine herbs, such as comfrey.

    The flowers of Jovial herbs are graceful, pleasing and bright. Dandelion fulfils this description, but the aspect of the herb that most satisfies the Jovial signature is shown with the setting of seed.

    dandelion, a jovial herb
    The Dandelion, from Gerard's Herbal,  1633.
    Little Hairy Parachutes
    The distinctive orb of the dandelion clock surely must have been seen to be analogous to the halos of saints as depicted in medieval art, capturing the link between Jupiter and the spiritual world. With Jupiter ruling the Air Element, it is most appropriate that the seeds with their little hairy parachutes should be dispersed by wind. One of the most enchanting sights of the English countryside is seeing a field of dandelions in seed, wafted by a gust of wind sending myriads of them into the air, as thick as smoke. Who too has not as a child picked a dandelion clock and blown away the seeds while making a wish? - an interesting little ritual in the light of its Jovial rulership.

    Jovial herbs were regarded as strengthening to the liver, thereby enhancing the Sanguine humour which, in turn, maintains the balance of the other humours - Choler, Flegm, and Melancholy - within the blood.3  Jovial herbs, in nourishing the blood and assisting the flow of the vital force, also strengthen the patient's judgement.

    As Culpeper describes the herb:
    It is of an opening and cleansing quality, and therefore very effectual for obstructions of the liver, gall and spleen, and the diseases that arise from them, as the jaundice and hypochondriac 1
    The Hypochondriac...
    Today herbalists still regard dandelion root as one of the finest and safest herbs for treating liver and gall bladder problems, such as hepatitis, jaundice, gall-stones and sluggish digestion associated with constipation (Jupiter in ruling the digestive virtue is opposite in nature to Saturn, which rules the retentive virtue).Dandelion leaves are well known as a powerful diuretic, as testified in the French name of the herb - pis en lit!  The diuretic action of the herb is particularly useful for removing fluid from the body in patients with high blood pressure.  This action is perhaps reflected in the sympathy between Jupiter and Venus, the natural ruler of the kidneys, Jupiter being dignified in Pisces where Venus is exalted.
    However perhaps the most interesting detail from Culpeper's description of the herb is its use for treating the hypochondriac. Today the term hypochondria has inappropriately come to describe an abnormal concern about health due to an erroneous belief of suffering from some disease. In Culpeper's day, the term hypochondriac was more precisely used, since when translated from Greek it means the "diseased condition below the cartilage". The liver is located in the abdomen in the right hypochondrium, underneath the cartilage that joins the lower ribs to the sternum or chest bone.

    Liver and gall bladder disease frequently gives rises to tenderness and pain below the ribs on the right hand side, especially after eating rich or fatty foods. Liver problems generally make a person feel tired and unwell, which can occur in the absence of any abdominal pain in the right hypochondrium or yellowness to the skin. The absence of any other physical symptoms has lead doctors to believe that there is nothing wrong with the patient and they are just making it up. Hence the term has unkindly come to describe a malingerer.

    dandelion flowers
    The dandelion in flower
    However in Culpeper's day if a person felt unwell and was low in spirits, then it was a sign that Jupiter was not doing his job properly.  What better than to prescribe a Jovial herb such as dandelion to balance their humours and to fortify their spirits.2
    Read more on the Dandelion
    About the Vital Force
    Back to Health by the Stars
    Dandelion: part 1 | part 2Herbs and Symbolism
    Astrology and Health:
    A Beginner's Guide by Dylan Warren-Davis.
    Published by Headway: Hodder & Stoughton
    ISBN 034070518 3   84 pages
    To order your copy - click here!



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    Updated: Saturday, 11 June 2011

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