The Zodiac Dispatch: Charting your horoscope through the art of astro-herbalism
In this month’s column, astrologer and member Clarisse Monahan explores how linking herbalism to astrology can offer a cosmic life hack
By Clarisse Monahan Illustration by Steven Fritters
Herbal astrology is a vast field of study that looks at the correlation between plants, planets, zodiac signs, and the elements (fire, air, water, and earth). The practice of astro-herbalism, which has ancient roots in both Western and Eastern medicine, operates according to the basic principle ‘as above, so below’. This means that the starry sky influences not just our bodies, but also plants and herbs in order to supplement, enhance, and invigorate one’s health.
Connecting our zodiac sign to the healing properties offered through herbalism is therefore a useful method to explore and aid in deeper self-care rituals. In this horoscope special, discover which plants or herbs astrologically connect to your sign, and how you can draw on its properties to bring a greater sense of balance, insight, energy, and prosperity.
Ruled by the kingly sun, Aries is associated with the head. One of its corresponding herbs is rosemary, which energises a dull mind. If you want to be quick and on it, like a fiery Aries, anoint your forehead with it. Or, if you need to meet a deadline, burn it to purify the air while stimulating thought. Rosemary has also been shown to reinvigorate hair growth for a more regal crown.
Earthy Taurus is ruled by Venus, the planet of beauty. Though Venus rules the complexion, Venusian herbs aren’t just for looking good; they also help enhance happiness and attune us to love. Catnip is a known love elixir for accessing and increasing harmony that’s perfect for this Venus-ruled sign. Drink it hot or cold as catnip tea. Extra points if you do it on a Friday, the day she rules over.
Ruled by Mercury, the planet of commerce and communication, Gemini’s nature can be quite frenetic. Mercury’s fenugreek, known as the banker’s herb, is meant to increase prosperity. Engaging with fenugreek can help ground Gemini’s up in the air energy into something tangible (like money). In old lore, a dried eggshell filled with fenugreek and sprinkled with sugar will draw success to any business enterprise (especially if performed when the moon is waxing).
Cancer: milky oats
Milky oats are ruled by the moon, which reigns over Cancer. However, they’re great for anyone who’s looking to invite more lunar energy into their life. The moon’s qualities are shown in the milky white latex excreted in seeds. The empathetic crab has a sensitive lunar nature, sometimes taking things very personally. Milky oats help bridge overly emotional reactions with objectivity, encouraging a consonance between the two.
Leo: St John’s Wort
Leo season is the time when herbs of the sun’s dominion are best used. St John’s Wort – a yellow, five-petaled flower – abounds right now. Its colour and structure correspond to the fiery lion’s mane, and its petals are associated with the fifth house, which Leo rules. The Latin name for St John’s Wort, hypericum, is derived from a Greek word that means ‘over an apparition’. In today’s world, many people use it to ward off what’s considered a modern-day ghostly spirit – melancholia.
Fennel belongs to Mercury, Virgo’s ruling planet. This herb is said to calm down the nervous system and bring mental stability to the overthinking, detailed-oriented, and ever analytical Virgo. You can make pretty delicious tea just by steeping some seeds in hot water. And chewing the seeds is said to bolster a weak memory.
Libra: Lady’s Mantle
The Latin name for Lady’s Mantle is alchemilla, derived from alchemy, and has long been believed to harbour healing energies. Associated with Venus, Libra’s ruling planet, this herb is best known for helping with menstrual problems. But it also has a lot of beautifying properties, too. The infused dried leaves make a good clarifying facial toner.
Scorpio: cayenne pepper
All peppers fall under the domain of Mars, Scorpio’s ruling planet. If you’re feeling like vibing with your planetary ruler, indulge in something spicy. Capsicum is the main ingredient in cayenne, and it’s what gives it its kick. Cayenne properties are similar to Mars – red hot. Mars herbs also help cultivate a sense of courage, assertiveness and motivation, so they’re helpful to use when you’re about to ask for a raise, or a hand in marriage.
Jupiter rules the Archer and is the largest of all the planets. Tending to give off more energy than it receives, Jupiter energy amplifies what comes into contact with it. Ashwagandha is an adaptogenic herb meant to help us get in touch with higher wisdom, success, and expansiveness – perfect for the idealistic and the truth-seeking Archer.
Capricorn: red beets
Saturn, the ruling planet of Capricorn, sometimes gets a bad rap. It’s known as the taskmaster and strict chaperone of the zodiac, but it can also help us with boundaries. One way to do this is to make friends with Saturnal roots such as red beets (white beets belong to Jupiter). In addition to promoting structure, the juice can also be used as a tonic for congestion.
Aquarius: Queen Anne’s lace
Ruled by cold and dry Saturn, Aquarians have to be particularly mindful of their circulation. Queen Anne’s lace has a warming effect on the body due to its pungent and bitter qualities. This heat aids in oxygenation, helping prevent problems such as varicose veins that the Water-bearer can be prone to. Queen Anne’s lace can sometimes be mistaken for her toxic cousin Hemlock, so make sure you get a correct ID.
Pisces: rose oil
Pisceans tend to get overly emotional at times, but soothing rose oil helps bring the upheavals back in place. Use this oil with a gentle massage before bedtime to alleviate stress. Pisces is associated with the whole process of sleep and the unconsciousness. Engaging with this Jupiter-ruled oil allows them to drift into dreamworld in an enhanced relaxed state, ensuring a deep restorative slumber.