What is the Doctrine of Signatures?

The Doctrine of Signatures is used around the world in pre-modern cultures where thought-by-association is accepted as a valid means of obtaining knowledge. 

The idea is that a plant looks like the disease, organ, or person it can heal.

For instance, Celandine (Chelidonium majus) has yellow/orange sap like bile. It was official in the U. S. Pharmacopeia until 1951 for “biliousness;” now they just remove the gallbladder. 

Horsetail (Equisetum arvensis) looks and feels like course horse hair, so it is good for the hair. Actually, it is beneficial for nearly all connective tissue. It also grows on wet sands, so it is a remedy for the kidneys.  

Thus, the shape, color, sensory impression, and habitat all can be used to determine the uses of a plant. 

The putrid smell and bad taste of Figwort (Scrophularia spp.) indicate that it is a remedy for putrefaction. Since it has gland-like or hemorrhoids-like flowers, it is called Figwort and Pilewort and used as a lymphatic and hemorrhoid remedy.    

You will learn and experience...

  • What is the Doctrine of Signatures

  • How to identify a signature in a plant

  • How to use the language of intuition, metaphor, and archetype to access plant signatures

  • A whole new view of the plant world and the greater environment!

  • A greater connection with and intuition about the plants and their amazing healing potential!

Free Introductory Class 

with Matthew Wood and Leigh Arnoldy

Matt and Leigh help you dive into the fascinating topic and study of the Doctrine of Signatures in this Free Intro Class. Enroll for free to access this class and access the extra resource materials.

Enjoy on-going exploratory and interactive classes lead by Leigh!

Each month Leigh will guide us in discovering the signatures of a new herb; encouraging and helping students to see this amazing plant world through new eyes, or perhaps simply with a new perspective.

Matthew will chime in on occasion too!

These classes are part of the unique and central concept of the Matthew Wood Institute of Herbalism curriculum: Nature Wisdom.


Facebook Group - Join here

MWIH CommunityJoin here

Leigh will be presenting the same content to each group. Experiences with each group will vary based on the participation. Join both groups to maximize on the insights and fun!

Summary Video - At the end of each month Leigh will present a summary of what the groups discovered along with her own studies and insights. Stay tuned to the newsletter and the above groups for announcements for how to view this video summary.

Video Recording - All video recordings will be available to subscribers of the Library (All of the DS class offerings are free except access to the catalog of summary recordings that come after the free intro.)

Leigh Arnoldy

Herbalist - B.M., Education

Leigh has a Bachelor’s degree in Music Education from the University of Minnesota, Duluth, and she has been teaching music for over 18 years. Along with her appreciation of the arts, Leigh has been in love with nature since she was young, spending time outdoors camping, hiking, and identifying.  At one point in her young life, Leigh fell into a pile of astrology books and hasn’t crawled out since.  Leigh returned to her nature-loving roots and brought with her love of mythology and the esoteric; in 2016, she became a student of the Matthew Wood Institute of Herbalism.  Leigh also teaches local herbalism classes, ranging from kitchen remedies to the power of myth represented in aphrodisiacs.  In her spare time, Leigh likes to create Spirit-based art, pick blackcap raspberries, make terrible puns, and sing to 80s tunes in the car.  Leigh’s website (and instagram) is www.owlandbadgerherbalism.com, where she writes about the signatures and connections in the natural world and explores those spiritual connections.  Leigh is a co-teacher in the Doctrine of Signatures class with Matthew Wood.

Who is this for?

This is for all experience levels, beginner to advanced. 

Do you love plants, herbalism, metaphor, being in wonder and awe of this vast world? This is for you!


  • 1


    • Welcome Message

  • 2

    Free Intro Class Recording

    • The Doctrine of Signatures Free Intro Class - Video

    • Doctrine of Signatures - Class 1 - Intro - Audio

    • The Doctrine of Signatures Free Intro Class - Webinar Chat Text and Transcript

    • Slide Show Images

    • Have questions? Want more? Get more of this FREE series here...

  • 3

    Doctrine of Signatures Manuscripts by Matthew Wood and additional resources

    • Introduction to the Doctrine of Signature by Matthew Wood

    • The Doctrine of Signatures by Matthew Wood

    • Intuitive Speech and Culture by Matthew Wood

    • Complementary Resources List

5 star rating

Long Time Reader & Student of Matthew Wood

Dakota Collins

My age is 34 and I began reading M.W. at the age of 19. I must express, that as an initial reader back then, the MWIH new videos have been a joyous gift from...

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My age is 34 and I began reading M.W. at the age of 19. I must express, that as an initial reader back then, the MWIH new videos have been a joyous gift from him and his colleagues. Ultimately, to anyone interested: buy all his books and read those, as you shall learn so much more. I can not attest to school, as I am not enrolled; but I own and have studied nearly everyone of his books, and I must say that my own experience has shown to me that his testaments and scholarly citations have inspired me more than any other herbalist. To all herbalist: grow and wildcraft herbs locally for the emerging renaissance of American herbalism. The fate of this knowledge is in our hands.

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5 star rating

Lead here on spiritual quest

Mango Moon

Amazing. You wrote the exact information and guideposts for me to follow on my Spirit quest. My whole life I've been mocked for how I lived in the world. Hea...

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Amazing. You wrote the exact information and guideposts for me to follow on my Spirit quest. My whole life I've been mocked for how I lived in the world. Head case after reading new age on the internet after avoiding. I have no religion. Just boons from guides gifted as I assisted with a pure heart in life and the world helps tell you your story as you meet other parts of yourself. Thank you!!!! Even the free course gave me incredible leads. Will get a membership soon.

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