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If you read the fairy tale of Sleeping Beauty as a child, you will remember that she drank from a potion made by an evil witch that caused her to fall into a deep sleep for many long years. Finally, the handsome prince came and kissed her on the lips, restoring her from her long slumber.

Fairy tales are replete with images of a hero or heroine going through a difficult and harrowing experience and then finally emerging victorious over the forces of darkness. In astrology, Pluto signifies these transformative processes in our own lives. Though we may not need to slay dragons or battle monsters, we can go through hard times in our lives when life gets very difficult. These stressful times can affect our physical health and can leave us feeling depleted, fatigued and depressed.

In my earlier article on Pluto and the psyche, I described activities that would help to explore and understand the meaning behind these difficult experiences. In this article, I will describe ways of working with nutrition and herbs to reduce the stress that goes along with “Plutonic” transformations. In medical astrology, Pluto is linked to the reproductive, sexual and eliminative functions of the body. If Pluto or Scorpio (the sign it rules) is highly accented in your chart,* then these areas of the body may be vulnerable from time to time. The nutritional and herbal advice I give will address concerns in these areas as well.

Diet in Times of Metamorphosis

What we eat and how we eat our food is especially important in times of transition and stress. If possible, it is helpful to clear the mind of stress and worry when sitting down to a meal. Taking a few minutes before eating to meditate, breathe a little slower and give thanks for the blessings in life can be supremely beneficial for helping to digest food properly.

When making a meal, avoid consuming an excessive amount of foods that are clogging or tend to stagnate, like dairy products, fried food and red meats. When we are stressed out, it is more difficult to assimilate foods like these, and they can have an adverse affect on our health. Stagnating foods lead to stuck and frustrated emotions, and it can become more difficult to process and release stress from the body. Also, if a meal is eaten too quickly, larger particles of food arrive in the digestive tract, and valuable energy is used up in breaking down the food. This can also lead to fatigue and indigestion.

Rejuvenate With Blue-Green Algae

To help strengthen the body to adapt to stressful situations, it is helpful to avoid processed foods that leave toxic residue in the liver and kidneys. It is also helpful to supplement the diet with certain beneficial nutrients.

One of the most powerful sources of nutrients and minerals comes from micro-algae such as spirulina and chlorella. These green food products are high in chlorophyll, which has the power to purify, quell inflammations and rejuvenate the body. In general, spirulina is highly nourishing and strengthening to the system and will help restore the body in times of stress and disease.

Chlorella is especially cleansing and will help to remove toxins such as heavy metals and pesticides from the body. Chlorella is gentler in its affect than spirulina and is more helpful for those who are very deficient and weak. Like spirulina, chlorella is tremendously nourishing and regenerative. By taking these supplements, stress can be reduced and the digestive and eliminative functions are strengthened.

The Healing Power of Herbs

Along with eating a healthy diet supplemented with strengthening nutrients, it can be very helpful to take some herbs when Pluto’s affect is strong in your life. Herbs increase the natural self-healing power of the body. These herbs can be taken in tea or tincture form.

Ginseng and astragalus: These roots have long been known in China for their strengthening and rejuvenating properties. Known as adaptogens, these herbs help us to adapt to stress. When there is depletion and fatigue due to stress, ginseng and astragalus help to balance and enliven the body and prevent illness. Both these herbs help strengthen the digestive and eliminative functions, as well as reduce inflammations such as ulcers and sores that develop from stress.

Raspberry leaf and dong quai: These herbs are known for being supremely nourishing and tonifying for the female reproductive system. Both help to regulate the menstrual cycle as well as reduce the pain from cramps during labor. Dong quai is also known for being a blood purifier and helps to detoxify the body of pollutants.

Cascara and senna: Stress can sometimes lead to constipation in the eliminative system. These herbs are profoundly effective at bringing on a laxative effect as they stimulate the peristaltic movements in the intestines. Both are also tonifying and nourishing to that part of the body as well. Avoid prolonged use of these herbs as they can be depleting over time.


Though Pluto has only been known for about 70 years, astrologers quickly linked this small planet with the process of intense emotional transformation. Though we may tend to avoid these types of experiences, valuable insight and meaning can be garnered from them which help us to become more whole and complete people.

During these times of stressful transition, it can be helpful to take nutritional and herbal supplements to ease the difficulty of transformation. By maintaining health and clarity, the deeper meaning of the process can then become more transparent. By taking the twin approaches of both diving into the experience in an effort to understand it, as well as strengthening one’s health in order to avoid the extremes of Pluto’s effect, one can develop a relationship with this planet that is positive and beneficial. Good health to you!


*A chart is said to be strongly influenced by Pluto if it has one or more of the following factors: 1) The Sun, Moon or a group of planets in the sign Scorpio; 2) several planets in the Eighth House, which is associated with Scorpio and Pluto; 3) The planet Pluto “angular” in their charts, meaning close to the cusp of the First, Fourth, Seventh or Tenth House or 4) Pluto in a significant planetary configuration (conjunction, trine, square or opposition) with the Sun, Moon or other planets.



Jonathan Keyes, B.S., is an astrologer, herbalist and plant spirit medicine practitioner. His writing has appeared in The Mountain Astrologer and in numerous Llewellyn almanacs. Jon has written a book entitled 'Guide to Natural Health, The Horoscope as a key to Ancient Healing Practices'. Jon is available for readings and can be contacted at Go to Jon's web site at

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For more information about Jonathan Keyes, click here.

Other StarIQ articles by Jonathan Keyes:

  • Pluto and Your Psyche   10/26/2013
  • Astrology and Stones   2/25/2012
  • Your Health and Saturn   2/4/2012
  • Lunar Health Cycles   3/13/2002
  • Lunar Health Cycles   2/27/2002
  • Lunar Health Cycles   1/26/2002
  • Lunar Health Cycles   11/14/2001
  • Lunar Health Cycles   10/31/2001
  • Lunar Health Cycles   10/15/2001
  • Lunar Health Cycles   10/1/2001
  • Lunar Health Cycles   9/14/2001
  • Lunar Health Cycles   8/31/2001
  • Lunar Health Cycles   8/16/2001
  • Lunar Health Cycles   8/2/2001
  • Lunar Health Cycles   7/18/2001
  • Lunar Health Cycles   7/4/2001
  • Lunar Health Cycles   6/17/2001
  • Lunar Health Cycles   6/4/2001
  • Your Health and Neptune Part 2   3/12/2001
  • Your Health and Saturn Part 2   11/13/2000
  • Michael Stipe Shuns the Spotlight   9/16/2000
  • Michael J. Fox   8/21/2000
  • Animals and Astrology Part Two   7/3/2000
  • Animals and Astrology   6/12/2000
  • The Astrology of Stones Part 2   5/15/2000

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