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It was once believed, for key example, that Hepatica or Lungwort was a useful herb in treating liver disorders. There was no basis for this medicinal use beyond notions of sympathetic magic as encompassed by the cult of the "Doctrine of Signatures." Hepatica had no observable effect on the liver & is incapable of reversing or preventing liver dysfunction, yet this belief persisted for centuries.
Another early flower harbinger of spring is the Hepatica or Spring Beauty. Small colonies of these tiny pink and white flowers can be seen in the parks, fields, and woods nestled in the lush spring grass.
The genus name, Hepatica, is from the Greek word heper, for liver, because of the shape of the plant's lobed leaves. The Doctrine of Signatures advocated the use of this plant to "cool and cleanse" the liver as well as to cure yellow Jaundice. An old laxative called Sal Hepatica was once widely used, but it only borrowed the plant's name--not the plant itself. Native Americans used the hepatica as a tea for a variety of medical complaints and for the curing of bad dreams.
In the language of flowers the spring beauty represents confidence.