Doctrine of Signatures / Medicinal Uses

Pelargonium sidoides – more than just a medicine for upper respiratory problems?

p sidoides flos

Pelargonium sidoides DC.

Geraniaceae (Cranesbill or Storksbill Family)

Kalwerbossie. Rabassam. “Umckaloabo”.

This plant has a basal rosette of more-or-less heart-shaped greyish green leaves that are gently hairy. It produces small sweet-scented typical Pelargonium-shaped flowers that are unusually dark purple, almost blackish in colour. The plant produces elongated, swollen roots that are reddish-brown internally. Herbal medicines are usually produced from the roots.

Results of a Contemplative (Goethean) Study

Old persons or broken-down constitutions with respiratory and /or musculoskeletal pathology.

The flowering plant gives the impression of an old person, bent over, walking with a cane.

The plant may help to move secretions up and out of a damp, stagnant respiratory system.

The colour of the flowers suggests stagnant blood – perhaps some effect on slow, dark, passive haemorrhages.

Some affinity for the long bones, particularly the femur. The nodes of the flowering stem suggesting the knee joint.

Cf.: Damp, stagnant tissue state

Cf.: TCM ‘stagnant blood’.

If this is the case, then P. sidoides may be a medicine to consider in uterine fibroids with dark menses

Perhaps of use in Osteoporosis, Dowager’s hump and deforming arthritides such as Ankylosing Spondylitis and Rheumatoid Arthritis.

The flower stalk-to-stem angle gives an impression of arthritic hands, such as those seen in RA patients. Inflammation may be slow and smouldering rather than active and bright red.

Seeds reminiscent of spermatozoa, especially with curling action and movement once they are released which resembles sperm motility; cf. astringency in Ayurveda thought to decrease fertility etc.

The swollen and red roots may, using Anthroposophical thinking, be indicated for ‘damp’, foggy, confused, inflamed or irritated mental states or, from a more conventional signatures approach, suggest damp, watery and inflamed abdominal (sub-diaphragmatic) processes e.g. such as the diarrhoeas and dysentery that this plant is used to treat in traditional medicine systems.

Contraction; Drawing together: may be a strong theme; cf. astringency

I find this root useful for damp, chronic inflammation, slow healing lung tissues, secretions that are stuck in the lungs, blood congestion in the lung tissues.” (Gagnon, D. (2010) pers. comm..)

P. sidoides may be worth considering as an adaptogen. It is a root-storage plant (cf. Panax spp., Rhodiola, Eleutherococcus) that is fire adapted. It has immunomodulatory effects and positively affects malaise (Brendler & van Wyk 2008). The plant bears some resemblance to Rhodiola with its red roots, reddish tincture, astringency and P. sidoides also has a faint rose-like scent (although not to the same extent as Rhodiola).

I find this plant to be a fantastic medicine for upper respiratory tract infections, tonsillitis, sinusitis and even coughs and bronchitis, either in the early or late stages of the infection. However, I do think we should be using it more in digestive, rheumatic and arthritis complaints as well as a general tonic and restorative.

more information about this plant can be found at here

Pelargonium sidoides

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