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  • Tuesday, June 25, 2019 5:45 PM | Wise Woman (Administrator)


    "I drink herbal brews, nourishing herbal infusions to be exact, instead of juice or water. Some herbs are powerhouses of nourishment, energy, and health-promoting factors. By choosing those herbs as my drink, I increase the amount of protein, vitamins, minerals, and micro-nutrients in my diet without consuming extra calories, and at a cost of only pennies a day. I'd rather drink nourishing herbal infusions than any other beverages. I drink infusions in the morning, throughout the day, and in the evening, too." ~~ Susun S. Weed


    Learn More

  • Tuesday, June 25, 2019 5:05 PM | Wise Woman (Administrator)

    Mammograms don't replace breast self-exams excerpt from Breast Cancer? Breast Health! the Wise Woman Way

    by Susun Weed

     

    Women find their own breast cancers most of the time. (Ninety percent of the time according to one English study.)

     

    Monthly breast self-exam (or breast self-massage) provides early detection at lower cost, with no danger-and more pleasure-than yearly screening mammograms.

     

    Most breast cancers (80 percent) are slow growing, taking between 42 and 300 days to double in size. A yearly mammogram could find these cancers 8-16 months before they could be felt, but this "early detection" does little to improve the already excellent longevity of women with slow-growing, non-metastasized breast cancers.

     

    The 20 percent of breast cancers that are fast growing are the trouble-makers. They can double in size in 21 days. Monthly breast self-exams are much more likely to find these aggressive cancers than are yearly mammograms. (A 21-day doubling cancer will be visible on a mammogram only 6 weeks before it can be felt.) If you massage or examine your breasts even six times a year, you can take action on fast-growing lumps. If you rely on mammograms exclusively, the cancer could grow undetected for months.

     

    In a recent look at 60,000 breast cancer diagnoses in the United States, 67 percent were found by the woman or her doctor -and over half of these were not visible on a mammogram-while 33 percent were discovered by mammogram. (This may seem like a substantial number of cancers found by mammography, but the majority of them were in situ cancers, a controversial type of cancer that may-but often does not-progress to invasive cancer.)

     

    Green Blessings.

    Susun Weed

  • Tuesday, June 25, 2019 4:26 PM | Wise Woman (Administrator)

    Herbal Adventures with St. Joan's Wort
    by Susun S. Weed



    It was a snowy winter night when my sweetheart brought home the brochure and said: "Let's take a horseback riding vacation."The Art of Suzanne Gray Despite the fact that I am only an occasional rider, I did grow up in Texas, and spending a week in the saddle didn't seem like a big deal to me. We looked at the pictures, read the descriptions of the trips, and began to fantasize ourselves in far-away places riding free and easy. Where would we ride? Ireland? France? Italy? England? Which trip would we take?

    It was the herbs of Provence that decided for me; and my sweetheart, good naturedly, went along. We would fly to Marseilles, France, and be driven from there to the ranch, where we would get our horses. Each day's ride, said the brochure, would take 8-9 hours and we would stay at a different country inn each evening. Of course, I just naturally assumed they were overstating the amount of time we would be on horseback. I mean, we couldn't actually ride for eight or more hours every day for a week, could we? Wouldn't that be impossible?

    Nearly.


    As the first day of riding stretched on and on, I realized with a growing horror that, in fact, they had under-estimated the time it would take us to get from one inn to the next. Our guide tried some off trail "shortcuts," which got us rather lost, so it took us nearly ten hours to find our inn. When we dismounted at last, I felt the muscles of my legs melt, refusing momentarily to keep me upright. I managed to get my luggage, upstairs to my room, and into the shower on legs of rubber. As I pulled off my riding breeches and sweat-stained shirt and gave myself to the hot water, I was certain that no human being could possibly be more sore than I was at that moment.

    I wasn't at all worried though. I knew the rest of the trip would be easy. Since I couldn't be in more pain than I was, there was no choice but to feel better as the days went on. And I did, with a little help from my herbal first aid kit.

    I take my herbal first aid kit with me where ever I go: in the car, on the airplane, on my backpacking and river rafting adventures, and on horseback, of course. I carry only ten remedies, but those few have helped me deal with every problem I've encountered in my travels. (Yes, I use the same remedies at home, too.)

    Of course, lots of wound remedies are ready to use right from the ground. One of my apprentices treated more than half of the injuries she saw in one week of working in a local emergency room safely (and successfully) with plants growing right outside the hospital!

    Such as plantain and burdock. Plantain (Plantago) leaf poultices stop pain and allergic reactions to bee stings, ease the itch of flea and mosquito bites, and help wounds heal without scaring. I simply chew a fresh leaf -- of any species -- and apply it to the problem area. Burdock (Arctium) leaves are too bitter to chew, so I soak them in vinegar. A jarful provides lots of instant poultices for soothing and healing bruises and other intact-skin injuries.

    When I am far from the ground or on unfamiliar turf, plantain ointment is a good second best. Even better is my lanolin-based comfrey (Symphytum) root ointment. What a blessed miracle comfrey is when it comes to treating blisters raised from too much walking (or riding). Many times I have applied the ointment to a blister every 5-10 minutes for 1-2 hours and watched as the blister reabsorbed and disappeared overnight. (A circular patch of dead skin would appear a week or so later.)

    Limited to my fannypack when I was riding, I carried only three remedies. Which ones? A bottle of infused St. Joan's/John's wort oil (Hypericum perforatum), a spray bottle of yarrow tincture (Achillea millefolium), and a tiny bottle of osha root tincture (Ligusticum porterii).

    (Each day a driver took our luggage, including my full first-aid kit, to the next inn by car, where they rested, awaiting our arrival that evening by horse.)

    I used the St. Joan's wort oil every day, in fact, several times a day, as sunscreen. When I forgot to apply it to my chest the day I wore a low-cut shirt, I used it to ease the pain of my sunburn, and to turn my skin from red to tan overnight. I don't go out in the sun without it! You may find that it takes your skin a week or more to learn how to use St. Joan's wort oil as a sunscreen. But once it learns, you will never go back to store-bought chemical sunscreens. (Some scientists actually believe that using currently available sunscreens increases your risk of skin cancer. And the statistics seem to agree: the increase in sunscreen usage over the past two decades is exactly paralleled by increases in skin cancer rates.)

    I also use St. Joan's wort oil to ease achy muscle. When I got to our inn each evening I used it lavishly on my upper inner thighs and "sit bones." (My friends were worried that I would get a sore butt riding so much, but the fleshy part of my bottom was the only place that didn't feel sore.) Applied after my hot shower, the ruby red oil (made from fresh blossoms infused in olive oil kept in a cool, dark place for at least six weeks) goes deep to help my muscles clear lactic acid -- easing soreness, releasing spasms, and helping muscle tone.

    The tincture of Hypericum is also red, and it also eliminates muscle pain. Better yet, it prevents the build-up of lactic acid in muscles, thus preventing pain. To ease my sore muscles that first night, I took a full dropperful every hour until bedtime. I felt remarkably fit the next morning, with virtually no residual soreness or stiffness. Each day thereafter, I took a full dropperful of the tincture when I awoke, another after breakfast, another before dinner and one more before bed. In addition, I put 2-3 dropperfuls into my water bottle, which I sipped throughout the day. So long as you use the tincture, there is no overdose. But beware of St. J's in capsules. In general, I strictly avoid all herbs in capsules, as they consistently produce strange, sometimes life- threatening, side-effects. 

  • Tuesday, June 25, 2019 3:44 PM | Wise Woman (Administrator)

    Grasses
    by Susun Weed





    A garden catalog (Heronwood) says it poetically: "No wonder visitors feel drawn to the grasses -- we were born in them. Grasses signify water and whisper, 'You're home," more than any other group of plants."


    Few people think of grass as a flowering plant; but it is. Many of us think of grass as a lawn or a golf course, not the sacred sustenance of human kind; but it is. Our ancestors had great respect for the grasses. They, in their multitude, are the beating heart of life on earth, the prime mover of agriculture, and the tuning fork of universal nourishment. The grass family -- the Poaceae -- is found in every habitat all over the world, and includes more than 10,000 plants, all of which bear edible seeds.

    Grass flowers, it is true, are not fancy. You'll need a magnifying lens to see them clearly . They don't have showy, colorful petals. They just have what's needed: male stamen for pollen, female pistil to capture the pollen and gestate the seed.

    And how we value those seeds. Whether it is wheat or rye, oats or barley, corn or millet or rice, almost every person on the planet bases their meals on grain, the seeds of grass. We honor the grain mother whose seeds support our lives: Corn Mother, Ceres (who gives us " cereal"), Demeter, Amaranth Grandmother. Her names are as numerous as Her nourishing seeds, as beautiful as Her seas of golden rippling grass. She sustains us with Her gracious bread of life: mana. "Corn," that is, grain, was the greatest of the Eleusinian mysteries.

    "Sedges have edges; rushes run round; grasses have joints," is the saying I learned to help me distinguish between three look-alike plant families. Sedges, fond of wet places, flower from the sides of stalks which have edges. Rushes, also fond of wet places, flower from the top and have round stalks, no edges, like grass. Grasses prefer dry places and flower from the top of round stalks which are jointed, like bamboo, a woody grass. Pluck a flowering stalk of grass and see if you can find the joints. Then, look at the leaves.

    Like the lily family, members of the grass family have flat, long, narrow leaves with parallel veins. Unlike lily leaves, grass leaves are micro-serrated along the edge. If you gently pull your fingers up the sides of a grass leaf you'll find it's as sharp as a razor. Careful! It can cut! That's one reason we eat the seeds of the grasses and leave the leaves to the animals (with the exception of those who drink wheat grass, a tasty juice which, unfortunately, lacks value as either a curative or a nutritive).

    Sally Fallon, author of Nourishing Traditions Cookbook and advocate of Weston Price, reminds us that grazing animals and grasses benefit each other. It's not a choice between plants and animals, grain or meat. Our planet, and our bodies, need both. Without cattle eating winter wheat shoots, we would lose more than half our grain crops. Why? Because, although grass roots and leaves are extremely cold hardy, the jointed flower/seed stalks are not. Most wheat is sown in the fall, when the soil is drier and easier to work, rather than in the spring when the soil is wet and likely to rot the seeds. If the late fall weather is not cold, however, the grass will start to flower too soon. Pasturing cattle on it prevents this, giving us healthy grass-fed meat and grain to eat as well.
     
    One of my favorite herbs -- oatstraw -- is a grass. Oatstraw is the dried leaves, or straw, of the plant that gives us the grain oats, found in most households as rolled oats. I use a full ounce (by weight) of dried oatstraw, with or without seeds, in a quart of boiling water, steeped at least four hours, to make a restorative tonic. Oatstraw is considered an herb of longevity in India. American herbalists value it as a strengthener and nourisher to the nerves. Like oats themselves, oatstraw infusion is heart healthy and cholesterol-lowering. Many a menopausal woman has praised oatstraw's cooling, calming ways.
     
    There are many stories of grasses. Listen to them; let them take you home. Let them take you back to your Ancestral, sacred self. Herbal medicine is people's medicine, heart medicine -- free, simple, and accessible, a gift of love from our Mother.


    Green Blessings.

  • Thursday, June 20, 2019 4:54 PM | Wise Woman (Administrator)

    Cholesterols and Heart Health




    Cholesterols connection to heart attacks has never been proven. And we have virtually no idea what healthy cholesterol is in a post-menopausal woman. Remember, my sweetheart incredibly high cholesterol but never had a heart attack. Inflammation has been shown, over and over, to lead to heart attacks. You may want to consider reducing inflammation instead of cholesterol. One of the best ways to do that is to stop eating oils are pressed from seeds, and to start eating olive oil, organic butter, and the natural fats from organically-raised, pastured animals.

    Canola oil, flax oil, hemp oil, evening primrose oil, soy oil, sesame oil, almond oil, corn oil -- all considered healthy, but examples of the oils I avoid when I want to avoid inflammation. And inflammation underlies and supports heart attack, joint pain, dementia, cancer.


  • Wednesday, June 12, 2019 12:32 PM | Wise Woman (Administrator)

    Burdock Vinegar Poultice




    Roll up some big green leaves. Soak them overnight or longer in apple cider vinegar. Use them as poultices to pain anywhere, but especially in the joints. Heat the vinegar soaked leaves, as warm as can be tolerated, before applying them to sore areas. Try heating them in the oven, out in the sun, by steam, or boiling in water. The vinegared leaves may be returned to the vinegar and reused if no infection is present.


  • Wednesday, June 12, 2019 11:52 AM | Wise Woman (Administrator)

    Wild Seed Condiment

     Susun Weed



    I am especially respectful when harvesting the seeds of annuals. Though annuals do their best to make lots and lots of seeds, they are nonetheless vulnerable to extinction if there are wide swings in weather patterns. I take no more than one-third of what is available from any one plant or patch of plants.


    To begin: Taste the leaves of any wild cabbage family plant. If they are tasty or peppery or cabbagy or mustardy, continue. If they taste bitter, find a different plant to harvest. (A few plants in this family have poisonous seeds. Those taste bitter. ) Shepherd’s purse seeds are the one mostly commonly used for food purposes. I also enjoy “poor person’s pepper” seeds prepared this way.


    Then: Harvest a small amount of seeds, just a spoonful, at first. After your first batch, if you like Wild Seed Condiment, you can harvest larger quantities of seeds.


    Most likely, you will have to separate the seeds from the inedible husks. Fortunately, there is no chaff, so separation can be done easily by hand.


    Toast the seeds in a cast iron frying pan or in a toaster oven until they start to pop.

    Crush seeds, using a pestle and a little sea salt, in a mortar.


    Put in a shaker top jar and use.

  • Monday, June 10, 2019 7:43 PM | Wise Woman (Administrator)

    Weed Walk with Susun




    Poison ivy (Rhus toxicodendron, new Rhus radicans) is leaping out of the ground and springing forth from its vines, ready to protect the earth yet again. Leaves in threes are shiny red when they first appear, but soon turn green and blend in with the foliage.





    Five-finger ivy, also called Virginia creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia) can be mistaken for poison ivy by those who do not count. This is one of the finest of summer’s salad greens. All of the leaves, from the babies to the old seniors, taste delicious. Each size has a somewhat different tart flavor.




    Red maple (Acer rubrus) seedlings are often mistaken for poison ivy too, but they have but two leaves. Like all tree leaves, maple leaves are astringent and mineral rich. 

  • Monday, June 10, 2019 7:28 PM | Wise Woman (Administrator)

    Stinging Nettle Hair Tonic
     
    Thickens hair texture, helps eliminate dandruff, aids in preventing hair loss during chemotherapy and in restoring hair growth afterwards.


     

    • 1/2 oz. dried nettle*
    • 2 cups boiling water
    • 1 Tbs. nettle root tincture

    * leaf, stalk, and/or seed
     
    Pour boiling water over nettle in jar, cover tightly and let sit overnight. Next morning, strain into a plastic bottle, and add tincture (optional). Keeps only a day or two. Use as a final rinse after shampoo and conditioner, leaving it in hair.

  • Monday, June 10, 2019 6:36 PM | Wise Woman (Administrator)
    NOURISHING THE LIVER
    THE WISE WOMAN WAY, Part Two

    by Susun S Weed


    Part One





    Use herbs that nourish the liver. Simple remedies such as dandelion, yellow dock, chicory, milk thistle, and nettle aid the liver and are safe to use. But many herbal remedies, especially those taken in capsules, are hard on the liver and need to be avoided or used with great care and caution when liver function is not strong.


    Avoid herbs that are rich in alkaloids and other natural chemicals that stress the liver: including golden seal, senna, celandine, chaparral, lobelia, licorice, valerian, rhubarb root, cayenne, and poke root. Some sensitive people may find aromatic herbs such as peppermint, lemon balm, rosemary, thyme, and lavender upsetting to their livers.


    Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) is probably the simplest, safest, most effective, and least expensive liver-nourishing herb known. All parts of the plant are medicinal: root, leaves, stalks, and flowers. Tincture of the root is most often used, but root vinegars, flower wine, cooked leaves, and stalk tea may be substituted. The greatest effect comes from eating or taking a dandelion remedy three times a day, but even once a day is useful. For more information on making and taking dandelion remedies, please see my book Healing Wise. The usual dose of the tincture is 10-30 drops diluted in some water and taken before meals. There is no known overdose.


    Yellow dock (Rumex crispus and other species) is another common weed widely used to improve liver functioning. The root is generally tinctured and taken in 20-30 drop doses with meals; but the leaves or seeds can be put up in apple cider vinegar, and 2-3 tablespoonfuls taken on salad, cooked greens, or in water. Yellow dock, like dandelion is simple and safe to use. There is no known overdose. It is a highly effective agent for promoting bowel regularity.


    Chicory (Cichorium intybus) flashes her brilliant blue flowers for months along roadsides here in the northeast. In the fall, we dig her roots to make a liver-strengthening tincture. The dose is usually 20-40 drops three times a day in some water. There is no known overdose. Some folks do drink chicory root tea, but it is very bitter. Roasted chicory roots are used as a coffee substitute; opinion is divided as to whether this preparation still has medicinal qualities.


    Milk thistle seed (Psylibum marianum or Carduus marianum) is the most famous liver tonic in the United States. It is widely recommended for anyone dealing with liver problems, whether it be jaundice, hepatitis, or multiple chemical sensitivities. It is not a wild plant, but it is relatively easy to grow from seed, and the seeds are available and not too expensive. A dose of the tincture is 1-2 dropperfuls 2-4 times a day. There is no known overdose.

    To tincture seeds that you buy, simply fill a jar one-third full of milk thistle seed. Then fill the jar to the top with 100 proof vodka (no, 80 proof won't work). Shake daily for a week, then sit back and wait for five more weeks. After six or more weeks, your tincture is ready to use. Leave the seeds in the vodka for as long as you wish, even after you start using your tincture.


    Milk thistle is most properly thought of as a liver protector. It functions best when taken before the liver encounters alcohol, chemicals, poisons, or other stressors. Those with chemical sensitivities find it helpful to take a large dose of milk thistle seed tincture before venturing into difficult environments.


    Nettle, also known as stinging nettle (Urtica dioica), is one of my favorite herbal remedies for everyone. I pour a quart of boiling water over an ounce of dried nettle (that's about one full cup) in a canning jar, screw a tight lid on the jar, and let it steep for at least four hours.

    The resulting brew, which is dark and rich, nourishes the kidneys and adrenals as well as the liver. Allergic reactions of all kinds, including sensitivities to natural and man-made chemicals, may have as much to do with the adrenals as with the liver. I drink 2-4 cups of nettle infusion daily for optimum health. There is no known overdose.


    Look for results from these Wise Woman ways within a month of beginning regular use. No need to use all the herbs mentioned. Consistent use of even one of them, along with anger work and a good diet, can bring results that border on the miraculous.


    Herbal medicine is people's medicine. It is here for all of us: simple, safe, and free. You don't have to be an herbalist to understand and use the herbs I have discussed. You can buy or make your own remedies, as you wish. Your children will be delighted to join you in exploring the green blessings that grow all around you.

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