The studies of Rudolph Steiner (1861-1925) have brought to light other interesting complementary aspects of the relationship between plants and human beings. One of these aspects is the three-part structure: human beings are made of three systems and these systems have their counterparts in plants.
1. The Rhythmic System: Consisting of the respiratory and the circulatory system in human beings, it corresponds to the foliage of plants since this is where breathing and photosynthesis occur. The leaves and the essential oils extracted from them are particularly suited for respiratory, circulatory and heart complaints. A further analogy should be mentioned here: chlorophyll acts as a catalyst for photosynthesis and colors the leaves green. The color green is the color complimentary to red. Green is the fluorescent color for the red in our blood, and red is the florescent color for green. It has been discovered that chlorophyll acts as a potent blood-regenerating substance (especially because it activates the production of red blood corpuscles) and a heart stimulant.
2. The Neuro-Sensory System: The human head corresponds to the roots of the plants. Many root extracts have a considerable effect on the brain and nervous system.
3. The Metabolism: The functions of digestion, assimilation, excretion and reproduction in human beings correspond to the flowers and fruit of the plants. Seeds and blossoms generally have a beneficial effect on our digestion and metabolism.
The following diagram illustrates the interactions between human beings and plants:
The diagram of the three-part structure of plants and human beings offers interesting perspectives from various vantage points. Although we will limit ourselves here to just one aspect, it provides an abundance of information and further suggestions for research.
The middle system (which is the foliage in plants and the rhythmic system in humans) is one of equilibrium and connection. It creates the relationship between the other two systems and can subdue or stimulate them as required. It connects what is above with what is below, terrestrial influences with cosmic influences, and gaseous states with solid and liquid states.
It is indeed our blood circulation and breathing that distribute life in our bodies, making exchanges possible, bringing energy and removing waste products. Breathing in particular is an excellent regulative system and an important element in the state of our health. We can consciously experience and influence it. Through breathing we can also come into contact with the invigorating aromas of the essential oils.