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  • Tuesday, October 27, 2020 4:12 PM | Wise Woman (Administrator)

    Yellow Dock Seed Vinegar
    Susun Weed



    Fill a jar about ¾ full of the seeds, then fill it to the top with vinegar.
    Cap with a plastic, rubber, or cork lid. Label.

    Wait six weeks and use.

    Tastes good and is good for you, too. Keeps you regular and helps you use iron in your system.

    (A jar filled with yellow dock seeds and vinegar may break as the seeds can absorb the vinegar and expand, so leave room!)


  • Tuesday, October 27, 2020 3:03 PM | Wise Woman (Administrator)

    Rosemary
    by Susun Weed


     

    Modern ladies praise rosemary's ability to make their scalp healthy and dander free, and their hair lush, thick, and dark. To make a rosemary hair rinse, brew a full ounce of dried rosemary in a quart of boiling water overnight. After you've washed your hair, pour the dark, sweet-smelling rosemary liquid over your head, rubbing well into the scalp. Leave it be; no need to rinse it out.

     

    If you have very bad dandruff, add a tablespoon of borax per half cup of rosemary hair rinse just before use. Lavaggio, a hair tonic made from an Italian folk recipe that is 99% rosemary, is available for sale for those who don't want to do it themselves.

     

    Recent research has found that the heart has memory cells just like the brain. No wonder rosemary is renowned as a heart tonic, too! The oldest recipes call for soaking several handfuls of fresh rosemary in a large glass of white wine for several days, then sipping the wine to ease palpitations, strengthen weak hearts, and heal broken hearts. Rosemary in capsules, or rosemary tincture in large doses, can raise blood pressure however, so I stick to tea or external applications.

     

    Rosemary infused oil or ointment (not the essential oil, which can cause poisoning) eases the pain of arthritis, improves flexibility of the joints, counters and sometimes cures eczema, and hastens wound healing. If you don't have the oil, rosemary tea can be used instead.

     

    Rosemary tea has a beneficial effect on the lungs and breathing. If you have a cold, rosemary tea is happy to help you feel better. Too tired and sick to do anything? Just throw a big handful of rosemary in canned chicken soup and heat. For best effect, let steep for an hour, then eat it. Ahhh. When imbibing rosemary tea, feel free to add honey, especially if your throat is scratchy and sore.

     

    Rosemary, like all its mint sisters, is antispasmodic, mildly so as a tea, more strongly in vinegar, and powerfully as a tincture. Not only does it relieve nervous pains and headaches, rosemary eases all digestive woes, from gas to gall bladder problems. A tablespoon or two of the vinegar on salad is an easy way to take this remedy. Because of the danger of kidney damage, I use small (1-5 drop) doses of rosemary tincture, and only occasionally.

     

    As a seasoning, rosemary feeds the brain and helps prevent cancer. As a medicine, rosemary restores memory and improves digestion. No wonder boxes made of rosemary wood are considered magical. As rosemary is only happy when commanded by a woman, its magic is most suited to the needs of women. Perhaps Pandora's box was made of rosemary wood. For sure, your life will be more magical when you remember rosemary.

  • Tuesday, September 29, 2020 1:44 PM | Wise Woman (Administrator)




    Did you know that black-eyed Susan roots can be used for the same purposes as echinacea root?

  • Tuesday, September 29, 2020 12:41 PM | Wise Woman (Administrator)

    Goldenrod Tonic
    Susun Weed



    Keeps the immune system strong all winter



    • Harvest goldenrod tops (flowers, some stalk and leaves) on a bright, sunny day.

    • Cut them up and fill any jar that has a plastic lid.

    • Fill the jar right to the top.

    • Now add pasteurized apple cider vinegar to the jar, again filling it right to the top. Screw on the lid. (Metal lids will corrode and ruin your tonic.)

    • Label.

    • Wait six weeks.


    Use on salads, beans, or in a glass of water, perhaps sweetened a bit with maple syrup, as a refreshing drink.


    Don’t like vinegar? Fill your jar with 100 proof vodka and make a goldenrod tincture, which is taken by the dropperful.



     

  • Tuesday, September 29, 2020 8:37 AM | Wise Woman (Administrator)

    Weed Walk
    with Susun Weed




    This week I want to introduce you to a multi-talented plant family, the Asters, also known as the daisy family or the sunflower family. This family includes many beautiful plants that are cultivated for their flowers, including daisies and sunflowers, black-eyed Susans and chrysanthemums, bachelor’s buttons and a colorful array of asters.

     

    It also includes delicious edible plants such as lettuce, artichoke, sunchoke, sunflowers, and dandelion; and even some flavoring plants like tarragon. There are plenty of weedy plants in the family, too, such as ragweeds, tickseeds, hawkweeds, knapweeds, goldenrods, and thistles, like bull thistle).

     

    And, of course, this family provides important medicinal plants, including chamomile, tansy, elecampane, cronewort, wormwood, echinacea, liferoot, burdock, chicory, yarrow, boneset, Joe-Pye-weed, and milk thistle.

     

    Now let’s met some more daisy-family plants, and see what they can do. I hope to so surprise you with interesting information about that maligned weed goldenrod, so that you will not only look on it with a smile, but also be motivated to harvest some for our recipe of the week: Goldenrod Tonic.



     

    Goldenrod (Solidago juncea)
    This photo shows a lovely example of early goldenrod, the first of the goldenrods come into bloom as the days shorten. Many others will follow it, for there are more than 60 species of goldenrod in my area, all used in the same ways. I think of goldenrods as fall tonics; they improve the functioning of the immune system and help protect us from colds and the flu. I harvest the flowering tops and use them fresh to make vinegar or tincture; I dry some and use them for tea, too. Goldenrods are unjustly accused of causing pollen allergies. Sit with a patch of goldenrod if you can, and watch. See all those flying, creeping, crawling creatures? Goldenrod is a great source of nectar for many insects. Since only plants that produce windblown pollen can cause allergic reactions, we can see that goldenrod is blameless. The culprit is a short plant with green flowers: ragweed.


    photo by G.U. Tolkiehn

     

    Ragweed (Ambrosia artemisifolia)
    This inconspicuous plant has pollen grains that look like torture devices. No wonder so many folks react to it. Since it is wind pollinated, it has no need for showy, colorful flowers, so it goes unnoticed, and goldenrod gets the blame for our sneezes and red eyes. Since it is wind pollinated, there are copious amounts of the pollen blowing about. The best defense is to make a tincture of the flowering tops. Then, next year, you will have a sovereign remedy against pollen allergies.



     














     






    Wild lettuce (Lactuca canadensis)
    This tall and stately plant is one of the many wild lettuces found springing up in the fall. We saw the basal rosette of this plant last spring when we were looking at plants with leaves that look like dandelion leaves. Like cultivated lettuces, the wild ones can be eaten before they flower, but become bitter when they send up their flower stalk. The white sap found in all lettuces contains alkaloids similar to those found in opium. It was collected and tinctured and used to ease the pain of terminal wounds by native peoples. Although the flowers of this wild lettuce are white and tight, the flowers of most wild lettuces are yellow and loose. (That is my arm in the photo. I had to bend the flowering stalk over in order to photograph it for you. I could have used three hands for doing that!

  • Tuesday, September 22, 2020 3:32 PM | Wise Woman (Administrator)

    Echinacea
    Echinacea purpurea, E. augustifloia



    Other Names: Purple Cornflower
    Type: Tonifying
    Found in: Praries of North America. E. purpureais easily cultivated, but retains little medicinal value when dried.
    Parts Used: Autumn dug, five-year-old roots; whole plant in flower.
    Actions & Uses: Anti-tumor, anti-cancer; enhances immune system (increases interferon, enhances macrophage activity); raises white blood cell count; relieves pain and swelling; counters all infections, especially antibiotic-resistant ones (e.g., wound infections, staph, strep, pneumonia, mastitis, blood poisoning, flu, colds, sinus/ tooth/ gum infections, abscesses); reduces side effects of chemo therapy.
    Important Constituents: Antioxidants, many alkaloids, carotenes, flavonoids, inulin, limonene, phenolic acid, pinenes, quercetin; selenium, zinc and many other minerals.

    Preparation & Daily Dose: Up to 6 months of daily use.
    Dried root infusion: 2 cups/500 ml
    Fresh or dried root tincture: A dose equal one drop for every 2 pounds/ 1 kilogram body weight.

    • For general immune strengthening: A dose once or twice a week.
    • For those with cancer or chronic infection: A dose 1-3 times a day.
    • For those with acute infection: A dose every two hours for 1-2 days (if I don't see results within 24 hours, I get help), then every three hours for 1-2 days, reducing to three times a day, then twice a day, then once a day for a week. If signs of infection return, I go back to a higher dose.
    Toxicity: None.
    Works Well With: Poke, burdock, cleavers.

    Results & Notes: Large doses of echinacea can raise white blood cell count dramatically and within hours. Recommended as an anti-cancer anti-infection herb for centuries, more than 200 pharmaceutical preparations made from echinacea are currently in use worldwide. Superb complementary medicine for women (or men) choosing surgery or chemotherapy. Echinacea may be used for months with continuing benefit, although many herbalists, myself included, previously suggested a break after two weeks. Echinacea and poke root combine to counter breast infections quickly and dramatically.


    Susun S. Weed

  • Tuesday, September 22, 2020 12:19 PM | Wise Woman (Administrator)

    People's Medicine: Herbs for Hags
    By Susun S. Weed

     

     

    I'm so glad I'm finally old. Sadly, many of my friends don't like me to use that word. They say they don't want to be "old.". I think what they really mean is they don't want to be the kind of old that's infirm and dependent. I agree.

     

    Vigorously old, excitingly old, sensuously old, daringly old --- those are the adjectives I like to apply to myself as an old woman.

     

    Toward the goal of remaining vigorous, exciting, sensuous, and daring for many more decades, I pay close attention to the food I eat and the medicines I use, and don't use. So you may be as vigorous, exciting, sensual, and daring as you wish to be, too, I'll share my thoughts and choices about health and nourishment with you.

     

    As you know, I love plants; I'm an herbalist. I use herbs to flavor my food, to provide optimum nourishment, and to prevent and deal with a variety of both minor and major ills. Of course, I'll be sharing lots of herbal lore with you. But I want to do much more than that. I want to share people's medicine with you. I want to help you make sense of medicine. I want to help guide you through the confusing, conflicting choices in health care. Simply. Safely. Effectively. And with joy.

    THE SEVEN MEDICINES
    Let's start with one of my three best ideas: The Seven Medicines. This sorting system for remedies helps me get a sense of the safety of any type of treatment.

     

    The safest medicine is Serenity Medicine, also called "Do Nothing.". It includes meditation, sleep, deep relaxation, even idleness. Rest cures, going fishing, and time away from responsibilities are also Serenity Medicine.

    The next safest medicine is Story Medicine, also called "Diagnosis.". Here we collect information. Ideally, figuring out the nature of our problem is done without dangerous hi-tech techniques such as x-rays, MRIs, CAT scans, and exploratory surgery. Remember that every story/diagnosis implies and leads to a treatment. The story (and the plan of action) you'll get from an acupuncturist will differ significantly from the story (and drugs) an MD will give you for the same problem.

     

    Only slightly more dangerous is Mind Medicine or Energy Medicine; some call this "Placebo Medicine.". Anything that engages our mental ability to heal is included here, from flower essences to psychic healing.

     

    Lifestyle Medicine speaks to the ways we "Nourish and Tonify" and, while generally quite safe, is more dangerous than the previous three Medicines. What we eat, what we wear, where we work, how we use our bodies, and how we amuse ourselves are all part of this Medicine.

     

    The first four Medicines build health, even if they don't cure; and they frequently do cure, while causing minimal harm. The last three Medicines always harm, even if only slightly, even if they can create miracles of healing.

     

    The fifth Medicine is Alternative Medicine; the action is "Stimulate and/or Sedate.". Alternative Medicine includes herbal medicine, naturopathic medicine, chiropractic, massage, acupuncture, and many more specialties. Unless used wisely, these medicines have the potential to do serious harm. At the least, they excite or depress us by using, but not replacing, our core energy.

     

    The sixth Medicine is Pharmaceutical Medicine. Drugs, as we are all aware, are fraught with problems and side-effects. In fact, one of the leading causes of death in the United States is reaction to prescribed drugs. Pharmaceutical Medicine is not limited to prescription drugs, nor to products of the pharmaceutical industry. Essential oils, supplements, and most encapsulated herbs are so drug-like in their actions that they share the dangers of drugs.

     

    The last, and most dangerous of the Seven Medicines, is Hi-Tech Medicine, or "Break and Enter.". While surgery and other hi-tech techniques can work miracles, the harm done by this last medicine can be fatal, permanent, and disfiguring. The amount of hi-tech diagnosis that is currently done is truly scary. Using the first four Medicines not only prevents the need for Hi-Tech Medicine in most instances, it also improves our ability to benefit from --- and protects us against the harms of --- Hi-Tech Medicine if we do choose it.

    Serenity Medicine, Story Medicine, Mind Medicine, and Lifestyle Medicine can be used daily to build health. Alternative Medicine, Pharmaceutical Medicine, and Hi-Tech Medicine are best reserved for acute, immediate emergencies.

    BONE HEALTH AND THE SEVEN MEDICINES
    Many postmenopausal women fear breaking a hip. This fear is promoted by Pharmaceutical Medicine, assisted by Hi-Tech Medicine, and disseminated by advertising which increases fear and claims safety comes from bone scans and drugs.

     

    In one ad, we are told that taking a certain drug will cut our risk of a hip fracture in half. Sounds good, unless you realize that the risk for most postmenopausal women is only two percent. Cutting that by fifty percent brings the risk to one percent --- only one percent lower than the risk of women who don't take the drug. And the drug does nothing to improve bone health.

     

    Women are frightened into agreeing to use Pharmaceutical Medicine to counter osteoporosis. But increasing bone mass does not reliably prevent fractures, nor does it improve health. In fact, postmenopausal women with high bone density are far more likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer. Drugs don't improve health, they improve test scores.

     

    Calcium supplements may sound like an alternative, but they are Pharmaceutical Medicine, too; and women who take them are actually more likely to break a bone than those who get their calcium from food.


    What can we do if we want healthy bones that flex instead of breaking? Don't begin with a Hi- Tech diagnosis, for starters. Instead, start with Serenity Medicine. A short daily meditative practice helps us be more alert to the inner and outer landscapes, improves our stability and gives us better grounding. Fewer falls definitely translates into fewer broken hips.

     

    Then engage Story Medicine. Change fear into action. Collect information about your bones without scans. How? The more flexible and toned the muscles are, the stronger and more flexible the bones they attach to are. Your overall flexibility is a window of insight into the health and flexibility of your bones.


    Mind Medicine offers us a shaman's playground of mind-over-matter techniques, including prayer, visualization, homeopathic remedies, and Reiki, to name but a few. Just imagining our bones as sturdy and strong actually helps make them so.

     

    And be sure to treat your bones to Lifestyle Medicine. To keep my bones healthy I: eat a quart of yogurt a week, drink a quart of nourishing herbal infusion each day, eat plenty of well-cooked greens from the cabbage family, regularly use mineral-rich herbal vinegars, practice yoga weekly, walking walk daily, do tai chi several times a week, and pump iron at the local gym for at least an hour a week. These Lifestyle Medicines don't just prevent a broken hip, they improve my overall health. They help make me a vigorous, exciting, sensuous, and daring old woman.

    REWEAVING THE HEALING CLOAK OF THE ANCIENTS
    I hope I have your ear, and your interest. I want to help you reclaim the power of your own health. In future issues we'll talk more about healthy bones, healthy hearts, healthy libidos, and Wise Woman Ways to make old age fun.

     

    Come with me. Let us sit at the feet of the old wise women and listen to their stories. Let us knit the yarns they spin into our own lives. Together, let us reweave the healing cloak of the Ancients.

     

  • Tuesday, September 15, 2020 5:10 PM | Wise Woman (Administrator)



    Many books call Artemisia vulgaris "mugwort," a name she despises. "I give you the dreams of wise old women," she told me, "not the drunken fantasies of those with their noses in mugs. Can't you see my silver hair on the underside of every leaf?"

    Tincture, vinegar (my favorite), or even a tea of cronewort can tonify and improve the urinary, digestive, hormonal, nervous, and circulatory systems. "I'm everything an old woman wants," she confides with a smile. "I comfort those who grieve; I stir those who are depressed. I remove irritability and ease burdened joints. I bring peace and sleep, rest and reassurance."

    Cronewort is also beloved by midwives for easing the pain of labor, quelling menstrual cramps, and effectively treating heavy bleeding and other uterine complaints. And don't forget her "supernatural" powers! This most common (that's what "vulgaris" means) Artemisia is a powerful witch who will spin a spiraling spell for you -- if you ask her nicely.


    © Susun Weed

  • Tuesday, September 15, 2020 4:53 PM | Wise Woman (Administrator)

    Anti-cancer Lifestyle
    by Susun Weed


    An anti-cancer lifestyle is not a rigid set of rules to follow, but a safe space to be filled with your favorite ways of nourishing health and discouraging cancer. Since cancer thrives in a too-ordered situation, relax and let chaos give a hand now and then in the execution of your plan. I include all the following elements in my anti-cancer lifestyle. Were I to be diagnosed with cancer, I would continue to do these things in addition to any other remedies I might choose.


    * Stay in touch with my own daily and seasonal rhythms.

    * Sleep in total darkness or moonlight; get into the sun daily.

    * Eat one meal at the same time each day.

    * Have emotional outlets.

    * Choose friends who support me and my truth.

    * Have artistic outlets.

    * Receive lots of appreciation and approval (a.k.a. love).

    * Exercise one hour three times a week.

    * Get a massage once a month or more.

    * Do my yoga practice once a week or more.

    * Have sexual outlets.

    * Take a quiet time of beingness daily.

    * Make full use of all sources of joy available to me.

    * Eat a Mediterranean-style diet of mostly organically grown foods including daily use of cabbage family plants, raw and cooked greens, whole grains, beans, sunflower seeds, soy products, olive oil, garlic, seasonal fresh fruit, seaweed, yogurt and cheese, herbal infusions, herbal vinegars, and antioxidant seasonings. Plus, at least four times a month, seafood, nuts, mushrooms, dried fruit, and eggs; and, less than four times a month, meat, alcohol, white sugar, and coffee.

    * And I avoid: Vitamin/mineral supplements, chlorine, nitrates, tobacco, prescription hormones, TV, white flour, processed foods, and non-organic animal products.


    Excerpt from

    Breast Cancer? Breast Health the Wise Woman Way.

  • Tuesday, September 15, 2020 11:50 AM | Wise Woman (Administrator)
    Mysterious Mushrooms

    by Susun Weed




    As summer nights lengthen into autumn, the forests of the Catskill Mountains in upstate New York fill with magical, mystical, medicinal mushrooms. "Toadstool" is a quaint name for the many mushrooms that spring forth between rains, while "fungi" is the more technical term.


    Fungi are plants, but plants without flowers, or roots, or chlorophyll (which makes plants green). Strange shapes (some quite sexually suggestive), the ability to grow (and glow) in the dark, and psychedelic colors make mushrooms an obvious addition to any witches' stew. But you will want some other reasons to make mushrooms a steady part of your diet. Is outwitting cancer a good enough reason?

    It's true. All edible fungi--including those ordinary white button mushrooms sold in supermarkets--are capable of preventing and reversing cancerous cellular changes. We aren't exactly sure why.

    Perhaps it's because fungi search out, concentrate, and share with us the trace minerals we need to build powerful, healthy immune systems. Or perhaps it's because of their wealth of polysaccarides, interesting complex sugars that appear to be all round health-promoters. It could be because mushrooms are excellent sources of protein and B vitamins with few calories and no sodium. Or we could single out the anti-cancer, anti-tumor, and anti-bacterial compounds found in the stalk, caps, gills, and even the underground structures (mycelia) of every edible mushroom.

    So be sure to cook your mushrooms through; avoid eating them raw. Scientists at the University of Nebraska Medical School found that mice who ate unlimited amounts of raw mushrooms (Agaricus bisporus) developed, over the course of their lifetimes, significantly more malignant tumors than a control group.

    Everywhere I go in August and September--whether walking barefoot on vibrant green mosses or stepping lightly across the deeply-scented fallen pine and hemlock needles, whether climbing rocky outcrops festooned with ferny whiskers or skirting swamps humming with mosquitoes, whether following the muddy bank of a meandering stream or balancing on old stone walls inhaling the scent of righteous rot--I am on the lookout for my fungal friends.

    My woods are especially generous to me with chanterelles, beautiful cornucopia-shaped mushrooms with a delectable taste. I find both the delicious little black ones--jokingly known as "trumpet of death" due to their eerie coloration--and the very-tasty and much bigger orange ones. Sometimes we return home naked from our mushrooms walks; if we find more 'shrooms than we have bags for, we have to use our shirts and pants as carriers to help haul dinner home.


    The bright orange tops and sulfur yellow undersides of sulphur shelf mushrooms (Polyporus sulphuroides) are easy to spot in the late summer forest. Growing only on recently-dead oaks, these overlapping shelves make a great-tasting immune-enhancing addition to dinner. I have harvested the "chicken of the woods" in oak forests around the world. In the Czech Republic, I saw a particularly large example as we drove a country lane. Stopping, I found a portion of it had been harvested. I took only a share, being careful to leave lots for other mushroom lovers who might come down the lane after me.

    You don't have to live in the woods and find your own mushrooms to enjoy their health-giving benefits. You can buy them: fresh or dried for use in cooking and medicine, and tinctured or powdered as well. Look for chanterelles, cepes, enoki, oyster mushrooms, portobellos, maitake, reishii, shiitake, chaga, and many other exotic and medicinal mushrooms in health food stores, supermarkets, specialty stores, and Oriental markets.

    Maitake (Grifolia frondosa), is more effective than any other fungi ever tested at inhibiting tumor growth. It is very effective when taken orally, whether by lab rats or humans dealing with cancer. The fruiting body of the maitake resembles the tail feathers of a small brown chicken, hence its popular name: "Hen of the Woods." If you buy maitake in pill form, be sure to get the fruiting body, not the mycelium.

    Reishii (Ganoderma lucidum) is one of the most respected immune tonics in the world. Reishii is adaptogenic, revitalizing, and regenerative, especially to the liver. Even occasional use builds powerful immunity and reduces the risk of cancer. In clinical studies, use of reishii increased T-cell and alpha interferon production, shrank and eliminated tumors, and improved the quality of life for terminal patients. Reishii and shiitake are great partners, the effects of one enhancing the effects of the other. Reishii is best taken as a tincture, 20-40 drops, 3 times daily.

    Shiitake (Lentinus edodes) is highly medicinal and tastes good enough to eat in quantity. I go to an oriental market and buy the big, big, big bag of dried shiitake mushrooms for a fraction of what I would pay for them in a health food store. To use, I just rehydrate them by pouring boiling water over them or by dropping pieces into soups. Those who make shiitake a regular part of their diets, increase their production of cancer-fighting alpha interferon, reduce inflammation throughout their bodies, prolong their lives, and improve their ability to produce and utilize vitamin D.

    Chaga (Inonotus obliquus) is a rather ugly and intensely hard fungi found on birch trees. Baba Yaga and other Russian herbalists favor it as an immune nourisher, cancer preventive, and an aid to those dealing with melanomas.

    Mushrooms are not just for food and medicine; they are renowned for their ability to alter our perceptions of reality. Psychoactive psilocybin mushrooms were used by the famous shaman/healer Maria Sabina in Mexico. The red-capped mushroom with white dots usually drawn next to the witch's house is the mind-altering Amanita muscaria, sometimes called manna, and widely used in Siberian shamanic rites.

    Whether you use fungi to make a mushroom soup or as a remedy for someone dealing with cancer, whether you stir them up in a witch's cauldron of spiraling power or sew them into a spirit bag, mushrooms offer magic and mystery, good health and good cheer.

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