The natural medicine of
Hildegard von Bingen

Saint Hildegard von Bingen (1098-1179) was educated in a Benedictine monastery and was later herself abbess in Rupertsberg monastery near Bingen. Even as a child she had visions. At the age of about 43 the mystic recognized it as God's commission to write them down. In addition to theological, philosophical and musical works, medical writings were also created in this way. The extensive knowledge contained therein has lost none of its topicality to this day.

As a holistic healing system, the medicine of the saints is based on the Christian image of man. It regards the human body, mind and soul as an inseparable unit and part of the divine creation. Hildegard knew how to combine the medical knowledge of the time with folk medicine. Her work “Physika” contains almost 2000 prescriptions, on the basis of which the Austrian doctor Dr. Gottfried Hertzka developed Hildegard medicine.

The five pillars of health according to Hildegard von Bingen

The holistic approach of Saint Hildegard von Bingen is based on these five pillars of health:

  • Nourishing the soul
    According to Hildegard, prayer, meditation and a balanced daily routine should harmonize the soul and bring it into balance.
  • Healthy eating
    According to the Saints, all foods have natural healing properties. This has to be used in a targeted manner.
  • Strengthening the mental defenses
    To this end, Hildegard von Bingen defines 35 virtues and vices. If the person has recognized this, he can work with it and purify his soul.
  • Detoxification of the body
    In order to mitigate the consequences of poor nutrition and negative environmental influences, Hildegard von Bingen relies on detoxification of the body. To do this, she uses proven elimination procedures such as cupping, bloodletting or treatment with leeches. Fasting also plays a central role here.
  • Regularity in lifestyle
    According to Hildegard, a balanced rhythm between waking and sleeping as well as between work and relaxation also makes a decisive contribution to health.

Four juices and four elements

Four juices played an essential role in ancient medicine:

  • Blut
  • Phlegm
  • yellow bile
  • black bile

In the medicine of Saint Hildegard von Bingen, too, these four juices are responsible for a person's condition and disposition. When they are out of balance, the person gets sick. Hildegard names various remedies to restore the balance between the juices.

At the same time, the great scholar also includes the system of the four elements (fire, water, air and earth) in her diagnosis. For her, both systems are inextricably linked.

Healing with plants and precious stones

Hildegard von Bingen works with natural remedies. Whether in plants, animals or precious stones - she sees valuable divine healing powers in all of creation. Medicinal plants that influence the hormonal system and metabolism are particularly important to her. She divides these into different groups based on their properties. There are cold, hot, warming or neutral plants. There are those who withdraw energy and there are those who add energy.

According to Hildegard, these properties are crucial for the treatment of diseases. For example, a disease that involves a lot of heat must be treated with cooling medicinal herbs. Conversely, to cure diseases that cause coldness and lack of energy, warming medicinal plants are required.

Hildegard von Bingen also attributes healing properties to gemstones. She regards them as God-given natural treasures whose properties we should make use of.

Original recipes according to Hildegard von Bingen



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