Welcome!

Wise Woman Herbal Ezine

Click here to read the Ezine Archives



  • Tuesday, July 30, 2019 5:13 PM | Wise Woman (Administrator)

    Lammas

    by Susun Weed





    The least known of the eight major Pagan holy days is Lammas, celebrated on the first of August. (The other primary holy days are the Summer and Winter Solstices, the Spring and Fall Equinoxes, and the Cross Quarter Days of Imbolc and Beltane.)

     

    Lammas, or "Loaf Mass," is the Feast of the First Harvest, the Feast of Bread. This Holy Day honors the women who created agriculture and bred the crops we cultivate, especially the grains, or corn. In the British Isles, celebrants make corn dollies from the last of the newly-harvested wheat. The corn dolly holds the energy of the grain Goddess and, when placed above the door or the mantle, will bring good luck to the household all year.

    When we think of corn, we think of succulent cobs of crisp, sweet, buttery yellow or white kernels: immature Zea mays, Indian corn. You know, corn. As in sweet corn, popcorn, blue corn, decorative corn, corn bread and corn chowder. Corn!

     

    But, did you ever wonder why it's corn? "Korn" is an old Greek word for "grain." Wheat and oats, barley and even rice, are korn. This usage is preserved in the song "John Barleycorn must die." When Europeans crossed the Atlantic and were introduced to the beautiful grain the Native Americans grew, they, of course, called it "corn." And nowadays we think of corn as only that, but corn is Kore (pronounced "core-a"), the Great Mother of us all.

     

    Her name, in its many forms -- Ker, Car, Q're, Kher, Kirn, Kern, Ceres, Core, Kore, Kaur, Kauri, Kali -- is the oldest of all Goddess names. From it we derive the English words corn, kernel, carnal, core, and cardiac. "Kern" is Ancient Greek for "sacred womb-vase in which grain is reborn."

     

    The Goddess of Grain is the mother of civilization, of cultivation, of endless fertility and fecundity. To the Romans she was Ceres, whose name becomes "cereal." To the Greeks, she was Kore, the daughter, and Demeter (de/dea/goddess, meter/mater/mother) as well. To the peoples of the Americas, she is Corn Mother, she-who-gave-herself-that-the-People-may-live. She is one of the three sister crops: corn, beans and squash. In the British Isles she was celebrated almost to the present day as "Cerealia, the source of all food."


    Honoring grain as the staff of our life dates at least as far back as Ancient Greece. Nearly four thousand years ago, the Eleusinian mysteries, which were regarded as ancient mysteries even then, centered on the sacred corn and the story of Demeter and her daughter Kore or Persephone. Initiates, after many days of ceremony, were at last shown the great mystery: an ear of Korn. Korn dies and is reborn, traditionally after being buried for three days. Corn and grain are magic. The one becomes many. That which dies is reborn.

     

    Many Native American stories repeat this theme of death and rebirth, but with a special twist. In some origin of corn stories a woman is brutally murdered, in others she demands to be killed. No matter. Once she is dead, she is cut into pieces and planted. From her dismembered body, corn grows. Again and again, everywhere around the world, the story of grain is the story of humanity. The sacred symbolism of grain speaks loudly to the human psyche. To the Ancients, the light in our lights is the Kore, the core, the soul, the seed, of each being.

     

    Real, whole grains sustain us. Real, whole grains are sacred. Real, whole grains reconnect us with our human lineage. When we eat them, we feel satisfied in a deep and fundamental way. When we eat them, we ground ourselves, we nourish ourselves in multiple ways.

     

    But bleached and enriched grains do not sustain life, nor are they inherently sacred. Grains that have had the bran and the germ stripped away do last longer, but have little to offer us physically or spiritually. When we eat them, we feel empty. Thus, many of us have come to equate bad news weight gain with carbohydrates, specifically, grains. Grains are the Goddess who sacrificed for us; they aren't to blame. It's the processing that does us in.

    August is a good time to make peace with the Corn Mother. Switch to organic corn chips; some supermarkets carry them. Explore millet, kasha, quinoa, teff, kamut, spelt, wild rice, brown basmati, and my dietary mainstay: Lundberg organic short-grain brown rice. Cheer Ceres. Throw your own whole-grain Carnaval!

     

    Grains are medicine, too. Corn silk is an important remedy to help bladder woes. A handful of rice or barley boiled in several quarts of water is a folk remedy for anyone who lacks appetite or who has digestive woes. We're all familiar with the heart-healthy effects of eating oats. And oat straw infusion, made from the grass of the oat plant, is considered a longevity tonic in India.


    Celebrate the Corn Mother any way you can. Invite Her into your life as food, as medicine, as decoration. And don't be surprised if you feel happier and healthier than ever before. The green blessings of the grains are special blessings indeed.

     

  • Tuesday, July 30, 2019 5:08 PM | Wise Woman (Administrator)

    Nutrition, Part One

    by Susun Weed





    The biochemical and energetic nutrients which we digest, absorb, and metabolize from foodstuffs are the foundation of all cellular activity in the body, including growth, repair, reproduction, resistance to disease, and maintenance. Good nutrition is critically important to every form of life we know. Finding, growing, preparing, and storing food has been women's work and women's genius since time out of mind.

     

    The Spirit of the Food
    Nutrition begins with milk from mother's breast, from the breast of the Great Goddess. In earth-centered cultures, the harvesting and gathering of food is interwound with sacred threads, and the consumption of the food is a sacrament. This aspect of nutrition is invisible, unmeasurable, undiscussed, but of utmost importance to the health of the individual and the ecology.

     

    Healthy Diets
    When food choices are limited, women eat whatever is available. As long as adequate carbohydrates, protein, fats, vitamins, and minerals are consumed and clean water is available, health is easily maintained.(1) Restricted diets (vegan, vegetarian, impoverished) generally fail to provide adequately for women, and the addition of milk products, eggs, or meat to these diets optimizes health. When the food supply is abundant and foods are highly refined, as is the case in most Western countries, food choices may adversely affect health. This is due in part to an innate (healthy) craving for sweet, salt, and fat (which are scarce in nature but commercially abundant, leading to overconsumption) and in part to the degradation of the foodstuffs themselves.

     

    Protein
    After water, protein is the most plentiful substance in our bodies. Without protein we cannot create enzymes, antibodies, milk, menses, skin, hair, nails, muscle, brain, heart, or organs. We require twenty-two different amino acids (building blocks of protein), of which eight are considered essential nutrients. Animal foods contain all essential amino acids. No one food of vegetable origin contains them all, but combinations (such as corn and beans) do. Each and every amino acid must be present at once in the body, and in the correct proportions, for protein synthesis. If even one essential amino acid is low or missing, even temporarily, protein production slows or stops altogether.(2) Adult women can be healthy on low protein diets; however children, pregnant, lactating, and menopausal women require high levels of protein.

     

    Fats
    Fat is the most concentrated source of energy in the diet. Found in vegetable seeds, beans, and nuts, fruits such as olives and avocados, and in all animal products, fat is vital to women's health. Unfortunately, many American women avoid fat. A recent study (1999) found 26 percent of women deficient in vitamin E due to low-fat diets.

     

    Linoleic, linolenic, and arachidonic fats are the essential fatty acids, but all fats, especially cholesterol, are vital for the formation of sex hormones (especially postmenopausally), adrenal hormones, vitamin D (for strong bones), and bile. Low cholesterol diets make women's skin and vaginal tissues dry and impede the functioning of the brain and nervous system.


    The belief that saturated fats elevate blood cholesterol, causing blocked blood vessels, s-trokes and heart attacks has prevailed since the mid-1960s. Yet most researchers consider this idea simplistic and without scientific justification. In the Framingham Heart Study (USA), the greater a person's intake of total fat, saturated fat, and monounsaturated fat, the lower their risk of stroke. And, while high blood cholesterol levels were a risk factor for heart disease, fat and cholesterol intake in the diet were inversely correlated with blood cholesterol. Swedish studies confirm that saturated fats promote breast health, while vegetable oils (such as canola, safflower, corn, cottonseed, and sunflower oils) promote breast cancer.

     

    Animal fats are more stable than vegetable oils, which become rancid within days after press-ing. (Rancid fats promote cancer and heart disease.) Hydrogenation and partial-hydrogenation slow rancidity but create trans-fatty acids that create deposits on the blood vessels. Even unhydrogenated vegetable oils are unhealthy: They flood the body with omega-6 fatty acids (the primary fat component of arterial plaque), and contribute large amounts of free radicals that damage the arteries and initiate plaque deposits. (3)

     

    ~ Part Two ~
  • Wednesday, July 17, 2019 11:49 AM | Wise Woman (Administrator)

    Yarrow Toilette
    Susun Weed




    My bottle of yarrow tincture is so handy when I travel. I use it as a dentifrice, a mouthwash, a skin cleanser and freshener, a toothache remedy, a blemish treatment, an insect repellant, and a wound dressing. I won’t leave home without it.

    Fill a jar of any size with freshly-picked white yarrow flowers, stalk and leaves. If you do not have access to flowering yarrow, the leaves are an acceptable substitute. I do not use dried yarrow, as it creates a finished product that is harsh, bitter, and not as effective. Brightly-colored yarrows are richer in volatile oils, and so, unsafe to use.

    Chop the yarrow before putting it in the jar. Put in a lot. Really fill the jar, without jamming or bruising the plant material.

    Add 100 proof vodka, filling the jar to the brim. Higher proof alcohols are harsh and drying on the skin, as well as being more carcinogenic on the oral tissues. Lower proof alcohols do not do a good job of drawing yarrow’s compounds into solution. Any liquor in North America can order one hundred proof vodka for you if it is not on the shelf.

    Cap tightly and label with date.

    Decant after a minimum of six weeks. I prefer a spray bottle, but have, on occasion, carried a sprayer full of yarrow as well as two ounces of the tincture.

    Green Blessings,
    Susun Weed


    excerpt from Your Healthy Heart Online Course the Complete Series

  • Tuesday, July 16, 2019 6:53 PM | Wise Woman (Administrator)

    Herbs for those with Stomach Aches, Ulcers and Heartburn, Part 2
    by Susun S Weed





    2C. STOMACH ACHE?

    To me, this means gas pain. Herbs that relieve gas pain are called "carminatives" because they make you "sing" (carmen). Many aromatic herbs are carminatives, especially the seeds of members of the Apiaceae family including dill seed, caraway seeds, fennel seeds, anise seeds, coriander seeds, and cumin seeds. Just put a big spoonful in a cup, cover well with boiling water, steep five minutes, sweeten if you like, and drink.

    Ginger is another readily-available carminative. Especially warming to the guts. You can make a tea with powdered ginger, or use up to a tablespoon of fresh ginger per cup of water for a strong brew. Ginger works best sweetened with honey. NASA found it would counter the nausea of space-sickness. You can also buy crystallized or candied ginger to take traveling with you.

    The fastest remedy for gas pain is two capsules of acidophilus. I expect pain relief in 5-10 minutes. And I don't pay much attention to the expiration date on it. I keep mine in the refrigerator, and use them so rarely that I often have a bottle for ten years - and they still work.

    Eating yogurt helps prevent gas pain, and can be used as a remedy, but it is not as fast as the acidophilus. A quart of yogurt a week is a good goal. And buy plain yogurt. No need to pay a fancy price for white sugar and poor quality fruit. Add maple syrup or honey and fruit of your choice, fresh or frozen at home. Make your own fantasy yogurt creation.

    And the bitter tonic herbs mentioned above are also excellent allies to take long-term if you have frequent gas pains.

    When I was in Spain I often had to eat late at night. Then I would take a sip of their very strong coffee, served in tiny cups. It had just the right amount of push to get that food into my digestive tract and still allow me to fall asleep at a reasonable time.

    But most people in America drink coffee in the morning on an empty stomach. Might this be one reason so many are in such digestive distress? Instead of coffee, try this:

    ~ Put one ounce by weight of dried peppermint leaf in a quart jar and fill to the top with boiling water.
    ~ Cap tightly and allow to steep for 4-8 hours. (OK to let it steep while you sleep.)
    ~ Strain the plant material out after the allotted time, squeezing it well.
    ~ Then drink the liquid: hot or cold, salty or sweetened, with milk or whiskey or what have you.
    ~ Refrigerate what you don't drink then. This will stay good in the refrigerator for up to three weeks.

    Peppermint helps move the intestines and make you feel really awake, just like coffee. I would not use it if someone were feeling nauseated, as it tastes vile on the way back out.

    3. CAN PEOPLE EXPECT QUICK RELIEF FROM THESE REMEDIES?

    (See above)
    With dandelion, you often see results in the first 24 hours.

    4. HOW OFTEN WOULD YOU HAVE TO TAKE THESE REMEDIES?
    (See above)

    5. DO YOU THINK THE PUBLIC DISMISSES HERBAL REMEDIES AS A LAST RESORT?

    The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that 90% of the health care given on any day is given in the home by the woman of the home. Just by cooking dinner a woman can heal her family and keep them healthy. She can protect her husband's heart by using lots of garlic. And protect his libido by serving less soy.

    Many Americans have food phobias. Think about how many people are frightened of drinking milk. How many won't eat bread. I go into the health food store to get bread and there are loaves with no flour, and those with no yeast, and those without wheat, and I wonder where all the bread has gone.

    We have a national history of food phobias, starting with Graham (inventor of the healthy graham cracker), continuing with Kellogg (of breakfast flake fame), and right into the modern day's current fads (no fat? no carbs? all protein? all raw?). Not too much has really changed. More and more people are learning about herbal medicine, but I am sure many of them think it is difficult and arcane. They may be unaware that herbal medicine is the medicine for the people, of the people, and by the people.

    6. ARE THERE ANY WARNINGS ABOUT ANY OF THE HERBAL REMEDIES TAKEN TO RELIEVE STOMACH ACHE?

    I specialize in safe, food-like herbs. I prefer them to drug-like herbs. The remedies I have suggested here are as safe as foods, taken in food-like quantities. When herbs are powdered and encapsulated, they can be dangerous. They are more like a drug and you have to be more careful. I use herbs because they aren't drugs.

    7. ARE THERE FOODS THAT CAN INITIATE A STOMACH ACHE?

    Beans! The magical fruit. So good for us, but so hard on the guts. And even worse when they are soy beans. The gas people get from tofu and tempe and soy beverage is outrageous.

    From regular beans, try this simple five-step approach - guaranteed to reduce how much you "toot"

    (i) Soak your beans overnight in a generous amount of cold water. Add a piece of wakame or kombu if desired.
    (ii) Rinse beans thoroughly in cold water (retain seaweed).
    (iii) Cover beans with fresh cold water, add retained seaweed, and cook until tender.
    (iv) Cool.
    (v) Reheat beans to serve.

    8. IS THERE ANYTHING ELSE YOU WOULD LIKE TO ADD?

    Yes, I believe all peppers are upsetting to the digestive tract. I suggest avoiding black pepper and cayenne, jalapeno and all others if you are prone to heartburn, have frequent gas pain, or suffer from irritable bowel or even simple diarrhea.


    ~ Part 1~

  • Thursday, July 11, 2019 5:10 PM | Wise Woman (Administrator)

    Herbs for those with Stomach Aches, Ulcers and Heartburn, Part 1
    by Susun S Weed




    1. WHAT IS THE BIGGEST MISTAKE PEOPLE MAKE ABOUT STOMACH ACHE?
    Calling it stomach ache. The stomach (fortunately) does not ache. Usually when people say their stomach aches, they mean they have a gas pain. Gas pain can be severe pain. My friends who work in emergency rooms say you wouldn't believe how many people come in for what turns out to be gas pain.


    2. WHAT HERBAL ALLIES WOULD YOU RECOMMEND FOR THOSE DEALING WITH:


    2A. HEARTBURN?
    Herbalists, myself included, see heartburn as a lack of HCL (hydrochloric acid) in the stomach, instead of the prevalent opinion, that it is caused by too much acid. So instead of trying to turn off production of HCL (as drugs attempt to do), herbalists seek herbs that increase HCL, such as dandelion (Taraxacum officinale). In my book Healing Wise I devote an entire chapter to dandelion, with lots of recipes and ideas on how to use it.


    You can use any part of dandelion: the flowers make dandelion wine, you can cook the greens, or eat them in salad, you can even cook the root, or make a vinegar with it (my favorite), or tincture it. Some people make a coffee substitute from roasted dandelion root. Any way you take it seems to work. (A standard dose would be 10-20 drops of the root tincture taken at the beginning of the meal.) Dandelion, and its friend chicory (Cichorium intybus), which is a fine substitute should you have access to one and not the other, are true tonics. That is, the more you take them, the less you need them. You don't have to keep taking this remedy forever. After 3-6 weeks you'll find you need it less and less.


    In Europe it is customary to take bitters before a big meal. Most mild bitters, such as yellow dock (Rumex crispus), cronewort/mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris), gentian (Gentiana lutea), barberry (Berberis vulgaris), and Oregon grape are liver tonics and digestives. They aid in digestion, and decrease risk of heartburn, by increasing production of both HCL and bile.


    A few more tips for those who suffer from heartburn:
    ~ Eat less at each meal
    ~ Stay upright after eating; no lounging around or sleeping
    ~ Avoid eating late at night
    ~ Reduce the amount of coffee you drink
    ~ Don't overdo it with the orange juice, either
    ~ Use slippery elm lozenges (available in health food stores) for immediate relief from heartburn

    2B. ULCERS?
    The herbs that increase HCL in the stomach, such as dandelion, also decrease ulcers, which are the result of a bacterial infection. When stomach acid is increased, that bacteria has a harder time of it and is less likely to cause ulcers.
    Amusing isn't it that medical science says "OK, there must be a mind/body connection, because gastrointestinal ulcers are caused by stress"; only to find out what my herbal teachers taught me long ago: bacteria cause ulcers.


    Here's one way to kill that bacteria (besides taking drugs): Get a food grater with a very fine grating side. Grate a large potato as finely as possible. Into another bowl, grate ¼ to ½ of a cabbage. Let them sit for 10-15 minutes, until liquid starts to collect in the bottom of the bowls. Use your hand, or something hard, to press and squeeze the potato until it is dry. Throw away the pulp and keep the liquid. Repeat with the cabbage. Don't use a juicer. There are plant starches that you don't get when you use a juicer. A food processor is ok.


    Put the liquids in separate jars in the refrigerator, taking 1-3 tablespoonfuls 2-3 times a day. The more severe the symptoms, the larger and more frequent the dose would be. I expect symptomatic relief within 36-48 hours. But this remedy is safe to take for weeks at a time if needed.


    If you can't make the potato liquid, you can buy potato starch and mix it with water. Instead of the cabbage liquid, you could buy coleslaw. It isn't the same as grating the potato and the cabbage, but it is better than nothing. And even if it doesn't work as fast, if that is what is available to you, use it.


    To Be Continued

  • Thursday, July 11, 2019 4:27 PM | Wise Woman (Administrator)

    Ten Tips for Women with PMS
    by Susun S Weed



    Water retention, mood swings, sore breasts, and indigestion are problems experienced by many women in the week preceding menstruation. Here are a few tips from Susun Weed's best-selling book, NEW Menopausal Years the Wise Woman Way (Alternatives for Women 30-90) to help ease these discomforts.

    To relieve water retention

    1) 10-20 drops of dandelion root tincture in a cup of water with meals and before bed.

    2) A strong infusion (one ounce of dried herb in a quart of boiling water, brewed overnight) of the common weed, stinging nettle, not only relieves, but also helps prevent further episodes of water retention. Weed says she drinks a cup or more of this infusion daily whenever she wants to nourish her kidneys and adrenals.

    To moderate mood swings

    3) Tincture of the flowering tops of fresh motherwort is a favorite calmative of herbalist Weed. She uses 5-10 drops in a small amount of water as a dose, which she repeats as needed, sometimes as frequently as 3-4 times an hour, until the desired effect is achieved. "I never feel drugged or groggy or out-of-it when I use motherwort to help me calm down," she says.

    4) For women who consistently feel premenstrual rage, use 20-30 drops of motherwort tincture twice a day for a month to help stabilize mood swings. Make it a priority to take a moon day -- one day right before or at the start of the menstrual flow which is set aside for you and you alone.

    5) One or more cups of an infusion of the herb oatstraw (the grass of the plant that gives us oatmeal) helps the nerves calm down and provides a rich source of minerals known to soothe frazzeled emotions.

    To relieve congestion and tenderness in the breasts

    6) 20-30 drops of the tincture of cleavers, another common weed, works wonders. This plant, also called "goose grass" was used as a black tea substitute by the colonists. The dose may be repeated every hour or up to 6 times a day.

    7) Women who get a lot of calcium and magnesium from their diet (leafy greens, yogurt, and many herbs are rich in these minerals) have less breast tenderness. Increase the minerals in your diet with a cup or more of red clover/mint infusion daily.

    8) Large cabbage leaves, steamed whole until soft, and applied as warm as tolerable, can be used as a soothing compress on breasts which are sore and swollen.

    To relieve digestive distress

    9) A daily doses of 1 teaspoonful/5ml yellow dock root vinegar.

    10) A cup of yogurt in the morning (buy it plain and add fruit at home) replaces gut flora and insures easy digestion all day long.


    ********************************


    Water retention, mood swings, sore breasts, and indigestion are problems experienced by many women in the week preceding menstruation. Here are a few tips from Susun Weed's best-selling book, NEW Menopausal Years the Wise Woman Way (Alternatives for Women 30-90) to help ease these discomforts.

  • Wednesday, July 10, 2019 12:38 PM | Wise Woman (Administrator)

    Herbal and Home Remedies That Prevent Memory Loss
    by Susun S. Weed


     


    Even a single family member who is senile or afflicted with Alzheimer's is enough to make anyone dread the possibility. Since women have always lived longer than men, the Ancient Grandmothers have a thing or two to tell us about how to keep our memory sharp until the day we die (at 100+). These remedies are taken from my book New Menopausal Years the Wise Woman Way. They are arranged in order of safety, with the safest first and the most dangerous last.

    “Touch my face, granddaughter,” murmurs Grandmother Growth. “Feel the lines that time has worn. Each line tells a story. Feel the lines in my palms. Every line is a memory. Close your eyes and travel with me to your ovaries, real or energetic. They are your memory baskets. When you feel forgetful, close your eyes and journey to the place of memories. Touch your face, your palms, return to this place, and retrieve the memory you want.”

    “And, dearest,” Grandmother's voice sighs with the wind, “Remember yourself.”


    Improve your memory fast with meditation. Start with five minutes a day. You can do it! Breathe out.


    Researchers doing double-blind studies on treatments for those with memory loss, dementia, or Alzheimer’s, consistently note that placebos generate a very strong response. In one instance, those on the placebo did so well that it was suspected that they did not have sufficient impairment at the beginning of the study. So get a bottle, label it “Memory Pills,” fill it with candy or nuts, and take one every time you forget to.

    Ginkgo biloba tincture has been well studied for the treatment of those dealing with Alzheimer’s and dementia. In one study, those taking the leaf extract, 27 percent maintained cognitive functioning and memory, while 86 percent of the placebo group lost functioning. CAUTION: Ginkgo increases aspirin’s blood-thinning effects.

    Mental exercise (word puzzles, reading, writing) and physical exercise are important aspects of nourishing and tonifying the brain and memory. Memorize poetry and recite it for friends. Volunteer for community theater and memorize your part. The more you use your memory, the stronger it will be.

    Lower your blood pressure and improve your memory. In a study of 200 men and women, those with even moderately high blood pressure (164/89) had more memory problems than those with normal blood pressures. A dropperful of motherwort tincture (Leonurus cardiaca) daily dependably lowers blood pressure and can generally be used safely with drugs if desired. (Do not use capsules of any herb while you are taking a drug.)
      

    Think taking estrogen will save your memory? Think again. The largest (120 women) scientifically rigorous study (Journal of the American Medical Association, January 23, 2000), found 80 percent of the women taking estrogen replacement (and 74 percent of the women taking a placebo) had less memory, less ability to perform daily tasks, and less cognitive functioning after fifteen months of treatment.

  • 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." 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. 

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software