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  • 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.

  • Tuesday, June 04, 2019 7:01 PM | Wise Woman (Administrator)



    Fresh Cleavers tincture


    Dropperful doses of this tincture relieve PMS, ease tender breasts, and encourage the lymphatic system to work harder, thus relieving edema. Its antispasmodic actions are concentrated in the mucus surfaces of the urinary and digestive systems, make it an ideal ally for those dealing with IC and IBS.

     

    Have a jar, some sharp plant scissors, and 100 proof vodka at hand before you harvest your cleavers.

     

    • Cut the stalks into 1-2 inch pieces and fill a jar totally full with these cut pieces of leaf, flower, stalk, and even seeds.
    • Fill jar with vodka. Lid and label.

    For the first two weeks, I leave my tincture on a table where I can watch it and add more vodka if necessary. Then I put it away.

     

    Like most tinctures made from fresh plant material, this one will be ready
    to use in six weeks.

  • Tuesday, June 04, 2019 5:48 PM | Wise Woman (Administrator)



    Bluets or Quaker ladies (Houstonia caerulea) are abundant, long-lasting, smile-makers. Enjoy.





    Blue cohosh (Caulophyllum thalictroides) has already flowered and is starting to set seeds. The early plant has a soft blue haze to it, still visible a bit in the photo. It is not related to blue cohosh. (Wait until the early winter to dig roots, if at all. This plant is in danger of overharvesting.)





    Goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis) is a rare woodland plant. I planted roots gifted to me by United Plant Savers between the black and blue cohoshes and a lovely patch is forming with little daughter plants springing up.

  • Tuesday, June 04, 2019 5:06 PM | Wise Woman (Administrator)
    NOURISHING THE LIVER
    THE WISE WOMAN WAY, Part One

    by Susun S Weed





    The liver is one of the most important organs in the body. Commonly referred to as a "filter," the liver is actually more subtle and sophisticated than a passive filter. Every drop of blood in your body moves through your liver every hour of every day you are alive - not to be filtered, but to be restored.


    Think of the liver as a recycling center. As the blood moves through the intricate network of cells that make up the liver, it is carefully examined. Metabolic by-products, hormones, cholesterol, vitamins, minerals, enzymes, bacteria, viral particles, and all the chemical detritus of living that are in the blood are judged: some are allowed to stay, others dismantled for recycling, and some tagged for removal.


    The liver stores very little. It produces bile, which is stored in the gall bladder. With the kidneys, it creates vitamins A and D, and stores those fat soluble products. And, of course, the liver caches unused energy from food in the form of sugar.


    Chemicals, however, do not build up in the liver, despite what you may have read. The liver sends unneeded water-soluble chemicals, such as ammonia, to the kidneys to be excreted. (To get a sense of how quickly this happens, eat some asparagus, which contains a harmful natural chemical, and notice the smell of your urine, and how quickly you have to "go.") The liver incarcerates oil-soluble chemicals by locking them up in fat cells, or sending them to be excreted in breast milk, ejaculations, ovulations, and tears. (Chemicals are not excreted by sweating.)


    The liver can be damaged. Alcohol can kill liver cells. Viruses, especially hepatitis viruses, can destroy liver cells. And cancer can take over the liver and quickly render it dysfunctional. But the liver is amazingly regenerative. Cellular turnover is quite fast. Every cell in a healthy liver is replaced every forty days. Only substances that can keep up with the ever-changing liver are preserved (such as vitamins and sugars); chemical toxins are made homeless.


    To regain and maintain good liver health is reasonably easy if the liver is not too badly damaged. I follow these guidelines to nourish and protect my liver:


    * Avoid liver cleanses. Herbal and other products and regimes which claim to cleanse the liver can damage and destroy cells. The liver cannot be dirty; and it does not need to be cleansed.


    * Eat well and regularly. Fasting reduces liver efficiency quickly.


    * Eat cooked food. Raw food may contain bacterial, viral, and enzymatic substances that create more work for, and may even cause an infection in, the liver. Fruits and vegetables need to be well cooked; steaming may not be enough to kill pathogens.


    * Eat enough fat. But not vegetable oils, which can cause inflammation and increase chemical sensitivities and auto-immune problems. Instead, I use olive oil, butter, and full-fat dairy products. I believe that diets containing 30-35% non-vegetable fats promote both liver and heart health. An article in Science News, May 28, 2005, observes: "In the absence dietary fat [there is] a marked decline in the metabolism of glucose, fatty acids, and cholesterol."


    * Avoid ingesting chemicals. Remember that chemicals are stored in fat and excreted in milk, eggs, and sperm. To avoid chemicals in your food, focus your organic expenditures on organic butter, oil, cheese, full-fat milk, eggs, meat, nuts, seeds, beans, and grains. The amount of agricultural chemicals in one pound of non-organic butter is equivalent to eating non-organic produce for ten years. With the exception of apricots, cherries, peaches, strawberries, melons, cucumbers, green beans, and bell peppers - the most heavily "dosed" produce - I often buy locally-grown non-organic produce since the cost is usually far less.


    * Get angry. The liver is the storehouse of unexpressed rage. And, yes, we are all angry about "life as it is" as one of my teachers puts it. My mentor, Elizabeth Kubler Ross, favored a Manhattan phone book and a rubber radiator hose as a way to "wake up and work out" anger. A rolled-up newspaper and a cushion, a tennis racket and a bed, or even boxing gloves and a "heavy bag" will also work. Don't wait until you are angry. Make it a part of your routine, just like brushing your teeth. Set aside at least thirty minutes a week to bring your anger to the surface. You will be shocked at the rapid benefits this brings your liver and your health.


    * Avoid essential oils. Even natural essential oils can impair liver function. Look for them hidden in natural and organic products such as soaps, toothpaste, mouthwash, skin lotions, deodorants and antiperspirants, and candles. And avoid antibacterial soaps, too.


    To be continued...

      
  • Wednesday, May 29, 2019 2:05 PM | Wise Woman (Administrator)

    Linden

    by Susun Weed




    Linden is one of my favorite trees. It goes by many names: basswood, lime blossom, and tille. To the botanist it is Tillia; and this is the name most of the world knows it by. It thrives in many places and is harvested from China to France for commercial sale.
    When linden blooms, its fragrance is so sweet that the bees flock to it. Their buzzing is the sound one must tune in to if identifying linden by sound. (I usually find them by smell!) When I harvest linden blossoms, I am careful to wait until after the bee has left the flower, so I don’t get stung.


    “I smell fairies at my feet, I’m sitting under a linden tree;
    Bees abuzz and birds atweet, linden blossoms sure smell sweet.
    Linden, linden heal my heart,
    You can bring me a brand new start.”


    Linden blossoms hang from a green strap-like structure that looks a little like a leaf, but isn’t. The green structure is part of the remedy and needs to be harvested along with the cluster of flowers dangling under it.


    I reach for linden when I want to quell inflammation. A student lowered her C-reactive protein (C-rP) levels, and her risk of suffering a heart attack, by drinking linden infusion for three weeks. C-reactive protein is a measure of the amount of inflammation in the blood vessels specifically and the overall body in general. With the licensing of a drug (Crestor, rosuvastatin calcium) to lower C-rP levels, we are going to be hearing lots more about this substance in the near future.


    Lowering inflammation is key to achieving a happy, healthy old age. Toward that end, I drink at least two quarts of linden infusion a week. I believe that most chronic diseases are the end result of inflammation. Joint pain is inflammation. Dementia is inflammation. Blood vessel disease is inflammation. And adult-onset diabetes is inflammation. It seems to me that many cancers are a response to inflammation too. A recent study found women who taken NSAIDs regularly are less likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer.


    Linden is the world’s leading anti-cold and anti-flu herb. It prevents and heals all respiratory distresses (but is not an anti-infective). It is a cooling and strengthening herb. Linden is considered safe for children and elders.


    Linden is primarily used as a tea, though I prefer the curative powers of a strong infusion. I use one-half ounce of linden blossoms to a quart of water and steep for four hours. I strain off the first brew and refrigerate it, then rebrew the wet linden flowers by adding two cups of cold water to them in a saucepan. I bring this rebrew to a boil, cover, and let sit for four hours to extract the healing mucilage that is triggered by the cold water.


    Linden flowers are the usual medicine, but the leaves are medicinal as well. They are heart-shaped and even more mucilaginous and anti-inflammatory than the blossoms.. A student who had been kicked by a horse found relief from a nasty wound (already more than a week old) by applying chewed up linden leaf. If I didn’t have so much plantain at hand, I am sure I would use more linden leaf poultices.
    Linden grows well in cities; I have rarely been in a city in North America or Europe that does not a Linden Avenue. A highlight of my love affair with linden come with a visit to Linderhof in Bavaria. The day I got there, the three-hundred-year-old linden tree was blooming and buzzing and throwing off a scent that made me swoon with delight. My local lindens are tall at fifty feet. This giant was over a hundred feet.

  • Monday, May 27, 2019 6:54 PM | Wise Woman (Administrator)

    Weed Walk with Susun -
    Cresses and More




    Couldn't resist this lovely little cress (Cardamime species).
    After I photographed it, I ate it.




    Sheep sorrel (Rumex acetosella) gives a sour twist to salad greens.




    Wild madder (Galium mollugo) is related to sweet woodruff, the flavoring for
    May wine. I put tender tips in salads.




    Plantain (Plantago major) can be found in protected places and
    used to heal wounds.




    Snip up wild chives for salads; snap them up for vinegars.

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