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Culpeper's Complete Herbal - Notes

Updated: Jul 31, 2021

This is just general notes from reading Culpeper's Complete Herbal. For a list of herbs sorted by ruling planet, read this blog post.

This book is not up-to-date medical advice. Always talk to a doctor before playing with herbs.

These notes don't necessarily indicate what I believe, nor am I saying they are what you should believe. These are simply notes that I personally find helpful for understanding this book.

Illustration of herbs from Culpeper's Complete Herbal

Basic logic of the text

Culpeper assigns planets to each herb mentioned. He also assigns parts of the bottom and certain afflictions to planets. His philosophy seems to be that the planet an herb is ruled by indicates what that herb can treat, and that some planets are "opposites" of each other. (For example, an herb of Venus could treat an affliction of Mars.) An herb can treat afflictions that have the same planet (sympathy) or opposite planet (antipathy) to it.

Here are the sets of opposites that Culpeper lists:

Venus with Mars

Jupiter with Mercury

Saturn with "the luminaries" (meaning the sun and the moon)

The planets and what body parts/diseases they rule:

Sun and Moon - the eyes

Saturn - the spleen

Jupiter - the liver

Mars - the "gall and diseases of choler" (meaning the gallbladder)

Venus - diseases in the "instruments of Generation" (reproductive organs)

Mercury - not listed

A few select herbs

Each herb Culpeper lists has information regarding its description, the time and place it grows, and which planet rules it/what illness it treats. Given that this is a fairly old text (first written in the 1600s), I would not recommend the information here as genuine medical advice. I will be focusing on herbs that are easier to find/identify/purchase based on my own experience and locality.

Creeping Charlie - An herb of Venus, has a bitter taste. "Hot and dry." Eardrops were made for treating tinnitus.

Dead Nettle - "Hot and dry." Ruled by Venus.

Asparagus - Under Jupiter. Diuretic.

Holly - Saturn. Branches protect houses from lightning and men from witchcraft.

Mistletoe - Sun. Has attributes of Jupiter when growing on an oak tree. If grown on a peach tree, can remedy witchcraft when worn around the neck.

Periwinkle - Venus. If a husband and wife eat the leaves together, it will strengthen their love.

Stay safe!

- me

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