Leo: The Astroherbology Profile

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It's time to explore the sign of Leo! You're getting a snapshot into the ever expanding astroherbology magick of the Lunar Apothecary - amazing! 

I will be exploring all twelve signs from a medical astrology perspective with an emphasis on herbal healing. Learn more about the series and what all the correspondences mean check out the introduction to The Introduction to Astroherbology Zodiac Series. Missed the other signs of the Zodiac? Find out about the astroherbology wisdom of AriesTaurusGemini, and Cancer!

Element: Fire
Mode: Fixed
Guardian Planet: Sun
Direction: Southwest
Season: Summer
House: 5th House / Succedent
Lunar Mansions: 10th Mansion, 11th Mansion, + 12th Mansion
Solar Gemstone: Citrine
Tarot: Strength, The Sun, 5 of Wands (7/22 - 8/1), 6 of Wands (8/2 - 8/11), 7 of Wands (8/12 - 8/22), Knight of Wands
Tissue State: Hot/Excitation, Dry/Atrophy

Body Systems: Chest, spine, and upper back. Dorsal region of the back and spine including nerves and specifically the second dorsal vertebra. Marrow of the spine. Heart, vena cava, and aorta. Myelin sheaths. Cardiac system. Circulation and distribution of nutrients and vital energy through the blood. Radius, ulna, wrists, and forearm. Constructive forces of the body.

Imbalances + Diseases: Cardiac complaints including palpitations, heart disease, enlargement of the heart, hypertension, weak circulation, and a nervous heart. Heartburn. Painful and violent fevers. Vertigo and dizziness during fevers. Convulsions. Plagues and jaundice. Eye strain, inflammation, soreness, and diseases. Backache, spine complaints, scoliosis, diseases of the spine and myelin sheaths. Injuries to the back and spine. Pain in the ribs. Heatstroke and sunburn. Dehydration. Stroke. Alcoholism. Anaemia, thin blood, and blood disorders. Eruptive skin complaints. Epidemic and plague diseases. Hardening of the arteries (particularly due to dryness). Measles, shingles, and meningitis. Diseases arising from excess pleasure, indulgence, and amusement.  Overexertion and overstimulation. Fear of love and being loved in return. Taking up too much space. Excess or overbearing passion. Patronizing, dogmatic, and arrogant. Inability to perform their stories truthfully. Fixity and stubbornness.

Disease Degrees: 1 degree: left coronary artery; 2 degrees: aorta; 3 degrees: right coronary artery; 4 degrees: left carotid artery; 5 degrees: right carotid artery, hair; 6 degrees: entrance of pulmonary artery, eyesight; 7 degrees: anemia, fevers, left coronary vein; 8 degrees: inferior vena cava, hearing, anemia, fevers, burns; 9 degrees: superior vena cava, alcoholism, burns, bladder imbalances; 10 degrees: jugular vein, bladder imbalances; 11 degrees: subclavian veins; 12 degrees: vertebral column; 13 degrees: right ventricle of the heart, rheumatic fever; 14 degrees: left ventricle of the heart; 15 degrees: right atrium; 16 degrees: left atrium; 17 degrees: right auricle; 18 degrees: right cardiac activity, azimene; 19 degrees: ventricular septum, spine; 20 degrees: mitral valve; 21 degrees: left atrium; 22 degrees: left auricle, appendicitis; 23 degrees: left auricle, appendicitis, rheumatism; 24 degrees: papillary muscles, rheumatism; 25 degrees: pericardium, abscess, alcoholism, poisoning, drowning, asphyxiation; 26 degrees: myocardium, poisoning, drowning, asphyxiation, goiter; 27 degrees: chordae tendinae, azimene, goiter, poisoning, drowning, asphyxiation, goiter; 28 degrees: chordae tendinae, azimene, neuritis, poisoning, drowning, asphyxiation; 29 degrees: neuritis; 30 degrees: back.

Remedies for Imbalanced and/or Weakened Leo: Learning before doing or assuming leadership. Sharing and creating supportive space for others. Cooling and moistening herbs. Cooling sedatives. Water-rich herbs. Cardiotonics. Water therapy.

Gifts of Leo: Willpower and the ability to say what you need. Confidence and charisma. An enthusiastic generosity that is contagious. Strengthening and taking care of inherent vitality.

Rituals of Leo: Sacred theatre and performance. Success and prosperity charms. Promotion and acknowledgement. Fire and sun rituals. 

Leo Guardian Herbs: Sunflower (Helianthus annuus), Calendula (Calendula officinalis), St. Joan’s Wort (Hypericum perforatum), Rue (Ruta graveolens), Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis), Angelica (Angelica archangelica), Linden (Tilia europea).

Leo Remedy Herbs: Hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna), Hyssop (Hyssopus officinalis), Mullein (Verbascum thapsus), Black Cohosh (Cimicifuga racemosa), Valerian (Valeriana officinalis), Cleavers (Galium aparine), Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis), Rose (Rosa damascena), Lemon (Citrus x limon).

Flower + Gem Essences: St. Joan’s Wort, Vervain, Aloe Vera, Goldenrod, Gold.

The Sun in Leo

Leo Suns are bright and radiant! Which makes a lot of sense considering that Leo’s Guardian “planet” is the Sun. Self-expression and the recognition of their expression is a central to their identity. They know themselves through their performance and when wisely attuned, the gift of Leo is revealing that we are all performing, so why not choose what role we want to play? It’s time to write your own lines, the lion tells us. Bigger is often better in the world of Leo and they don’t always have an inner voice nagging them about “too much of a good thing.” What is that, the lion asks.

Where Leo folk fall into trouble is when they allow their pride to trip them up. When they mistake confidence for competence. Many a lion can get carried away with the need for being the center of attention that they forgo the effort it might take to earn being paid attention to in the ways they want. Sometimes Leo folk are perceived to lack emotional maturity. While there are Leo folk who do need to spend time developing themselves emotionally, many possess a child-like enthusiasm and emotional clarity that resists overcomplicating everything. If you’re in love, be in love! If you’re angry, be angry! Yet, emotionally complicated situations are a fact of life and can become confusing, aggravating, and defeating to Leo folk and their companions. Understanding that embracing complexity does not mean they will jeopardize their purity of expression is an important lesson for Leo folk to learn. Then, their theatre begins to take on the gifts of sacred expression and their stories become timeless.

Within a medical astrology perspective, Leo are one of the most inherently vital signs of the zodiac. Yet, it is very important for Leo folk to not spend all of their energy in the wildness of youth, but learn how to temper their energetic output in a way that will keep them vital until the end of their days. They are a fixed fire sign which means that they burn hot which can very easily lead to burnout. Physically, Leo folk need to be very mindful of drinking lots of pure, fresh water to keep their inner heat from burning them up from the inside out (and prevent the all too common imbalance of dehydration). The gifts of Leo is a spirit of generosity so big that is might just change the world. Leo folk help us to connect with our innate will, our truest desires, and to find the confidence we need to actually go after our dreams.

Leo Guardian Herbs

Rue by Kurt Stüber

Rue (Ruta graveolens)

The name Rue is derived from the Greek rueo which means “to set free” which tells us about Rue’s ability to set us free from disease as well as magickal crossings. The traditional cimaruta charm of Italy is shaped like the Rue plant and protects against the evil eye. The herb is hot and dry, embodying the Leo qualities of Sun. It moves stagnation in the body, especially of a vascular and venous variety and when connected to suppression of “unpleasant emotions (anger, frustration, helplessness).”(1) Leo values emotional expression and Rue can be a helpful herb for those who struggle to express emotions that they feel are volatile, such as anger and frustration. 

Rue is an herb that should be used with respect and is a step beyond some of the more accessible herbs of the western herbal tradition. It is an herb best used at low doses as higher doses can cause unpleasant side effects such as dizziness, nausea, and cramping. Rue should be used in moderation and those who are especially sensitive-skinned should be mindful of touching the fresh plant with bare skin or ingesting the herb in remedies as it can cause blistering. In general, excessive handling of the fresh plant with bare skin should be avoided. It is an herb of the Sun and it’s heat should be respected.

While it was an herb used widely in the ancient world of traditional western herbalism, its use has decline during the modern era. Yet, one of the continued uses of Rue is as an emmenagogue and anti-fertility herb. It can help to bring on menses, ease premenstrual tension, and prevent pregnancy. Rue is used widely in Latinx communities as an abortifacient. The herb also has a traditional use for cancer, especially uterine cancer, which may stem from its cleansing qualities of the uterus.

Rue is also used for eyestrain and imbalances, helping sooth overworked eyes whether taken internally or topically as a an oil. Look for signs of wateriness and sensitivity. Digestive congestion, colic, and a cold digestion may be aided by Rue’s drying, warming, and stimulating qualities. It’s Sun powers also make it effective in the relief of arthritis especially when the condition is made worse during times of damp and cold.

I use the herb most often in my practice in magickal charms and as a flower essence. It is an herb of protection, bringing luck, steadfast will, and the abundance of love. I also use the flower essence for helping folks return to a state of grace (one of the Rue’s folk names is Herb of Grace). It is especially useful for folks who feel like they lack support in their life and they are having to deal with all of their problems on their own. Rue can help folks who may feel paranoid that they are always under attack - the herb helps them release a victim-mentality and find their strength. 

Leo Remedy Herbs

Hawthorn flower by Eugene Zelenko

Hawthorn flower by Eugene Zelenko

Hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna)

Hawthorn is heart medicine of the most nourishing variety. The herb strengthens the heart, improved blood flow, dilates the blood vessels, and increases nutrient absorption. It is an excellent herb to take after a period of illness or physical strain to protect the heart from further upset. For our lion-hearted Leo folk, Hawthorn is cooling, without dampening, helping Leo folk to return to their center. It is a calming herb, excellent for cases of attention-deficit, nervousness, and anxiety. Drink Hawthorn tea before bed in cases of insomnia caused by excess of agitating heat in the system. An added bonus, is Hawthorn’s ability to help us ride the hedge or travel purposefully in our dreams between the worlds.

As a digestive tonic, Hawthorn clears the gut of toxicity and build-up as well as helping with metabolizing of fat. Look for excess heat and fluids. The flower can be used in steams for acne and a lack of lustre in the complexion, while the berry can be used in a gargle for sore throats and bleeding gums. The herb has a long association with the Good Folk and magick within Celtic cultures. Use it in your magickal workings for trance and journey work, as well as connecting with the liminal spaces between.

Sun in Leo Flower Essence

image via wikipedia

image via wikipedia

Vervain is the flower essence for Leo folk who let their enthusiasm get the best of them. They take up too much space, whether dominating conversations or trying to always take the lead, and can end up trying to convince everyone that their opinion is the best way forward. Now often their need for everyone to get on board their enthusiasm train is driven from a belief that everyone will benefit, they need to learn how to share space effectively. Vervain helps Leo folk realize that commonality of purpose is more important than everyone having the same opinion as them. The essence helps Leo folk take a step back, relax, and become a better team player.


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Footnotes:

  1. Wood, Matthew. The Earthwise Herbal: A Complete Guide to Old World Medicinal Plants. Berkeley, CA: North Atlantic, 2008, p. 445.

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