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  • Monday, June 04, 2018 8:20 PM | Wise Woman (Administrator)

    Letting Nature Grow Your Garden,
    Page 1


    Dancing with the Fairies




    Your garden. What fun -- and frustration -- await you there! The best mentor you can choose, as far as I'm concerned is Nature herself. Nature likes life everywhere. Have an open field and plants magically appear! This is the way plants grow when left to themselves. We don't have to struggle so much.

    It is wisest to let Nature have Her way. Nature has her own agenda, and your life as a gardener will be easier if you bow to Her desires. Better to dance with the fairies than struggle with eliminating "weeds". What herbs already grow around you that you can use as teas and seasonings? Most areas are rich in such plants, both native and introduced. Many of them will be happy to grace your garden with very little effort on your part. Some will appear, others may want to be transplanted. Still others are simply there, waiting for you to notice.

    For instance, pine trees. Pine needle vinegar is an exquisite treat that is easy to make. I call it homemade "balsamic" vinegar. Fill a jar with pine needles. (I prefer white pine, and pinyon pine is even better, but the needles of any pine are fine.) Cover needles completely with apple cider vinegar, filling the jar to the top and capping with a plastic lid or a piece of plastic wrap held in place with a rubber band. This vinegar, like most that I make, is ready to use in six weeks. Pine vinegar is rich in flavonoids, vitamins, and minerals. It helps keep the immune system strong, and strengthens the lungs as well. I love it on salads.

    Your home, like mine in the Catskills, offers rose hips and sumac berries for vitamin-C rich teas; spice bush leaves and berries to suggest the flavors of bay and allspice; and the roots of sweet clover to use as a vanilla substitute.

    Grab a local field guide and go looking for all the plants that are native to your area. For example, if you live in the northern states like Minnesota, a great book is "How Indians Use Wild Plants for Food, Medicine, and Crafts", written in 1926 by Frances Densmore who collected information from the Minnesota Chippewa. There are many similar guides available.

    Why use native plants? They are often hardy survivors and naturally adapted to the area, sometimes requiring less watering and care. Whether in the wilds or in your garden, Nature is ever-ready to provide you with all you need with little or no input from you. An abundance of edible and medicinal plants covers every inch of my garden -- and I didn't plant any of them. With only a little help from me (I spread compost several inches deep on my gardens spring and fall, and keep them fenced against my goats and the marauding deer), my gardens grow: garlic mustard, chickweed, violets, dandelion, curly dock, nettles, burdock, wild madder, crone(mug)wort, wild chives, poke, catnip, malva, wild mint, bergamot, cleavers, motherwort, chicory, raspberry, goldenrod, creeping jenny, barbara's cress, evening primrose, milk weed.


    ~ Page 2 ~

  • Monday, June 04, 2018 7:31 PM | Wise Woman (Administrator)

    THE YOGA OF MENOPAUSE, PART 3


    Herbal Allies to Prevent Problems Caused by Taking Hormones

    Breast cancer risk is increased 20% in women who use ERT for five or more years. Use of HRT for five or more years increases breast cancer risk by 40%. Each five years of continued use increases the risk. In addition, women who take ERT are far more likely to get uterine or endometrial cancers. All women on hormones increase their risks of lung and ovarian cancer, too. Nourishing herbs such as red clover, and foods such as beans and yogurt, offer easy ways to stay cancer-free.

    Red clover blossoms (Trifolium pratense), when dried and brewed into a strong infusion (one ounce herb steeped an a quart of boiling water for at least four hours) prevent cancer by providing phytoestrogens that counter the cancer-promoting effects of oral hormones. Usual dose is 2-4 cups a day. The infusion tastes like black tea and can be flavored with mint if you like.

    Since uncooked beans and unfermented soy contain anti-nutritional factors that may promote bone loss and dementia, soy "milk" and tofu are not recommended. Miso and tamari definitely help to prevent breast cancer but soy isoflavones may promote it.

    Yogurt helps build powerful immunity. Women who eat a quart of yogurt a week have 700% less cancer than women who eat no yogurt.

    Dry eyes afflict more than 9% of women using ERT and over 7% of those on HRT. Risk increases by 70% for every year of continued use. And the longer a woman uses hormones, the greater her risk. Herbs such as oatstraw, chamomile, and chickweed can help relieve and prevent this problem.

    Oatstraw infusion (Avena sativa) cools and moistens your eyes from the inside out, builds strong bones too. Use one ounce of dried herb in a quart jar; fill to the top with boiling water and cap tightly. Let steep four or more hours. Dose is 2-4 cups a day. Refrigerate after straining.

    Cucumber slices ease dry eyes; so do chamomile tea bags.

    The ultimate ally for women with dry eyes is fresh chickweed (Stellaria media), applied as a poultice to the closed eyes. Leave on for five minutes, or until the plant material feels warm (it will heat up). Repeat as needed.

  • Monday, June 04, 2018 6:26 PM | Wise Woman (Administrator)

    Remedies for Stings



    The basis for successful treatment of stings is immediate action. Do not let stings and bites from insects and animals stay untreated, to inflame and swell.

                1. Ants. Pulp up some cloves of garlic or take slices of raw onion and apply
                at once. Further soothe the irritated parts with cucumber juice or pulped
                parsley or garlic in vinegar.

                2. Bees and Wasps. First remove the sting, ten press out the poison from the
                skin. Soothe the fire of the sting with a paste of whitewash. After an hour,
                wash off, as whitewash itself lightly burns the skin. Then soothe with herbal
                oil, and bind over with leaves of dock or plantain. Or apply parsley or
                garlic in vinegar, as above for ant bites.

                3. Scorpions, Poisonous Spiders, Medusae (jellyfish). If first-aid is
                necessary, cut the place with the point of a sharp knife and press or suck
                out (of course, not swallowing) all the surface poison. Then apply pulped
                leaves of wormwood, rue, and sage, as available. Preferably heat the leaves
                for a few minutes in hot water to make their volatile oils more easily
                available to the human skin. Bind in place with cotton bandages soaked in a
                mixture of hot water and vinegar, equal parts. Even more effective is an
                application of extracted oils of wormwood, rue and rosemary (see pages 7-8),
                if available, likewise covering with bandages soaked in hot vinegar water. (I
                have cured numerous cases of severe bites, several being from the giant
                species of scorpion, considered fatal, using this treatment.) The most
                effective and the speediest remedies are the essential oils of these herbs
                applied on swabs of cotton wool first dampened in hot water.

                4. Mosquitoes and Midges. To keep away when spending evenings out of    doors:

    Gather some of the aromatic herbs, such as sage, southernwood, rue, rosemary, elecampane and others, add some dry paper or dry grass, place in quite large open cans, sprinkle the herbs with paraffin and ignite. The pungent smoke will clear the air of mosquitoes and kindred biting insects. The Mexican Indians burn thuja pine.




    An excerpt from Common Herbs for Natural Health
    by Juliette de Bairacli Levy.

  • Wednesday, May 30, 2018 6:27 PM | Wise Woman (Administrator)
    HERBALISM
    by Susun S. Weed




    Herbalism, the use of plants for health and healing, is as old as humanity, if not older. In hunting/gathering societies, women are naturally the herbalists. This connection between women and herbs continues today. At the turn of the Century, herbalism in America is undergoing a renaissance. Throughout most of the rest of the world, especially in countries where women's wisdom has traditionally been honored, herbalism remains, as ever, the treatment of choice for many acute and most chronic health problems. Herbal medicine is a complex and daunting study; yet it is the medicine of the people and so simple that children safely apply it.

    THE WISE WOMAN TRADITION
    The earliest known herbalism is the Wise Woman Way: the way of our foremothers out of Africa, our ancient female ancestors. Herbalism is still used and respected in many places, especially the Orient, the mid-East, and India.
    Wise women view herbs as spiritual allies and intrinsically important foodstuffs as well as medicines. Psychoactive plants are both teachers and healers, and are used, under the guidance of the herbalist/shaman, by all members of the community. Compassion, connection, community, and honor for the Earth characterize Wise Woman herbalism. The nourishing herbal infusions, mineral-rich vinegars, and edible herbs favored by wise women are generally considered safe, even in quantity, for all women, including those pregnant and lactating.

    Favorite herbs include nourishing tonics such as nettle, red clover, oatstraw, comfrey leaf, linden, dandelion, seaweed, and burdock.

    THE HEROIC TRADITION
    In Europe, and then in the Americas, the Inquisition targeted Wise Woman herbalists/midwives and (often through torture and murder) replaced them with male Heroes, who used herbs to drive out the devils of illness from the hated body. Herbs that caused catharsis and purging were elevated, as was blood-letting.

    The Heroic tradition, despising all things female, licensed only men as healers. Anyone who practiced without a license (women) was persecuted. Some escaped to the Americas, learned Native American herbal medicine, and served their communities - only to be vilified and replaced by school-trained male physicians from England several generations later. The Heroic tradition is still popular in Europe and in Latin and Black communities throughout the Americas. Domination, mentation, isolation, and distrust of the Earth (who is female and therefore considered sinful and dirty) characterize Heroic medicine.

    Favorite herbs include powerful stimulants and sedatives such as cayenne, lobelia, valerian, ephedra, golden seal, cascara sagrada, turkey rhubarb, and aloes. Most Heroic herbs are dangerous to women, especially if pregnant or lactating.


    THE SCIENTIFIC TRADITION
    Where the practice of medicine becomes dominated by linear, either/or thinking, the Scientific tradition replaces the Heroic. Women and their connection to herbs are again vilified, as quacks, rather than as witches. The quest for powerful drugs brings plants to the laboratory, where active ingredients are extracted, concentrated, isolated, standardized, sanitized, and ultimately synthesized. Plants are raw materials, crude, inexact, and unpredictable.

    Approximately 85 percent of the hundreds of thousands of drugs currently used are directly or indirectly derived from plants; eg foxglove (digitalis compounds), Pacific yew (cancer drug), wild yam (cortisone, birth control pills), and chinchona (quinine). Drugs and drug-like herbs cause severe side effects and should not be self-administered by pregnant and lactating women.



    EXPLORING HERBAL MEDICINE: RESOURCES
            Achterberg, Jeanne. Woman As Healer: A panoramic survey of the healing activities of women from prehistoric times to the present. Shambala (Boston), 1990.


            Benedetti, Maria Dolores. Earth and Spirit: Medicinal Plants and Healing Lore from Puerto Rico. Verde Luz (Orocovis, Puerto Rico), 1998.


            Bennett, Jennifer. Lilies of the Hearth: The Historical Relationship Between Women & Plants. Firefly (Willowdale, Ontario, Canada), 1991.


            Brooke, Elisabeth. Medicine Women: A Pictorial History of Women Healers. Quest Books (Wheaton, Illinois & Madras, India), 1997.


            Women Healers: Portraits of Herbalists, Physicians, and Midwives. Healing Arts Press (Rochester, Vermont), 1995.


            Chamberlain, Mary. Old Wives Tales: Their History, Remedies and Spells. Virago (London), 1981


            Christopher, Dr. John R. School of Natural Healing: The Reference Volume on Heroic Herbal Therapy for the Teacher, Student, or Practitioner. Christopher Publications, 1976.


            Griggs, Barbara. Green Pharmacy: The History and Evolution of Western Medicine. Healing Arts Press (Rochester, Vermont), 1997.


            McClain, Carol Shepherd. Women As Healers: Cross Cultural Perspectives. Rutgers University Press (New Brunswick and London), 1989.


            Vogel, Virgil J. American Indian Medicine. University of Oklahoma Press (Norman & London), 1970.


            Weed, Susun S. Healing Wise: The Second Wise Woman Herbal. Ash Tree Publishing (Woodstock, New York), 1989.


            Wichtl, Max (edited and translated from the German by Norman Grainger Bisset). Herbal Drugs and Phytopharmaceuticals: A handbook for practice on a scientific basis. Medpharm Verlag (Stuttgart) & CRC Press (Boca Raton, Ann Arbor, London, Tokyo), 1994

            Note: These resources are but a fraction of what is available. My emphasis is on the history of herbalism and the Wise Woman tradition, but I have included one Heroic (Christopher) and one Scientific (Wichtl) reference.

  • Monday, May 28, 2018 6:41 PM | Wise Woman (Administrator)

    8 Keys to Healthy Bones



         1. Good nutrition for your mother while pregnant with you.


         2. Good nutrition for you during the formation of your bones.


         3. Monthly menses throughout your fertile years, especially before 30.

      
         4. Special attention to maintaining high levels of protein, fat, minerals,
             and vitamins from herbs and foods in your diet when menses cease
             during pregnancy, lactation, or after menopause.    


         5. Regular rhythmical movement, the faster the better, daily. 

     
         6. Consistent practice of yoga, tai chi, or any strengthening, opening,
             flexibility-building discipline.
                           
         7. Chop wood, carry water.    


         8. Eat yogurt.   


  • Monday, May 28, 2018 6:28 PM | Wise Woman (Administrator)


    THE YOGA OF MENOPAUSE, Part 2

    ALTERNATIVES TO HORMONE THERAPY

    by Susun Weed




    TAKING HORMONES? THESE HERBS ARE FOR YOU

    More and more American women are using herbal remedies to help them with menopausal problems. Those who do take ERT (estrogen replacement) or HRT (hormone replacement) may be surprised to discover that herbal medicine has a lot to offer them as well.

    Herbs for women on ERT/HRT include those that alleviate side-effects as well as those that counter problems caused by the hormones.

    Herbal Helpers Counter Side-Effects

    Water retention is the symptom most often cited for dissatisfaction with hormone replacement. Herbal tinctures and tea, such as dandelion or cleavers, and ordinary foods can not only relieve the distress, they will go to the root of the problem and help prevent recurrences.

    Dandelion root tincture (Taraxacum officinale) strengthens the liver and helps it process out the excess hormones you are taking. When the liver works well, the kidneys work better, and tissues no longer bloat. A dose is 10-20 drops in several ounces of water or juice 2-3 three times a day. If you have any digestion problems, take your dandelion before meals; otherwise, anytime is fine. You can safely take dandelion daily for months or years if you need or want to.

    Cleavers herb tincture (Galium molluga) tells the lymphatic tissues to get moving. Relief from edema is usually rapid when 20-30 drops are taken in several ounces of water or juice. Repeat up to six times at hourly intervals if needed. Cleavers is especially helpful for easing swollen, sore breasts.

    Foods that relieve water retention include (in order of effectiveness): asparagus, nettles, corn (and corn silk tea), grapes, cucumbers, watermelon (and watermelon seed tea), parsley, celery, black tea, and green tea.

    Headaches are the second most common side-effect of hormone use. Unfortunately, they are common among menopausal women not taking hormones, too. Herbs that help relieve headache without a drug-like action - such as dandelion, yellow dock, milk thistle, burdock, garden sage, skullcap, and St. John's/Joan's wort - are generally considered safe to take with hormones.

    Chinese herbalists say headaches are caused by liver stress. My favorite liver-strengthening herbs are dandelion, yellow dock, milk thistle seed, and burdock. I use one at a time, a 15-25 drops of the tincture several times a day, for two weeks. If symptoms continue, I switch to a different herb.

    A strong tea of garden sage leaves (Salvia officinalis) offers immediate relief from headaches and helps prevent future ones. It also reduces night sweats. Tinctures of skullcap (Scutellaria lateriflora) and St. Joan's/John's wort (Hypericum perforatum) ease pain and relieve muscle spasms. Use 5-20 drops of skullcap and a dropperful of St.J's at the very first sign - no, the very first thought - of a headache. Repeat the doses every five minutes until pain free. Skullcap can be quite sedative, especially in large doses.

  • Tuesday, May 22, 2018 1:42 PM | Wise Woman (Administrator)

    Dear Susun,


    I live in Finland, and am trying to find a herbal/alternative remedy for the serious migraine attacks that my wife suffers from. This is a bit of a hinterland when it comes to alternatives, so was wondering whether you could recommend something herbal/botanical that may help, and if so, where one could purchase your recommendation(s) from.?

    In anticipation of your help -many thanks
    Stephan


    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


    Dear Stephan,

    Three possibilities, both may be hard to get there, but who knows, and I will add one you can do at home at the end.


    First, a live plant of feverfew. Eat a leaf a day. This is a sure remedy.


    Second, tincture of St. Joan's wort (hypericum perforatum; a dose is 25-30 drops) and tincture of skullcap (scutellaria lateriflora; a dose is 10-30 drops.) Take both together as soon as she thinks she might be getting a headache. The earlier it is taken, the better it works.


    Dose can be repeated as needed.


    Or you can get some clothes pins and pin them onto the very tips of the toes for 10-15 minutes when in pain. Or try the acupressure point in the web between the thumb and the first finger. Press hard for a full minute.


    Hope this helps.


    Green Blessings,
    Susun


  • Tuesday, May 22, 2018 10:22 AM | Wise Woman (Administrator)

    THE YOGA OF MENOPAUSE, Part 1

    ALTERNATIVES TO HORMONE THERAPY

    by Susun Weed



    MENOPAUSE IS ENLIGHTENMENT


    The energy aspects of menopause are of special interest to me.


    As a long-time student of yoga, I was struck by the many similarities between menopausal symptoms and the well-known esoteric goal of "awakening of the kundalini." Though the ideas presented in this section may seem strange or difficult to comprehend, they contain powerful messages about menopause, which lie at the heart of the Wise Woman approach.


    Kundalini [is] the root [of] all spiritual experiences ...


    Kundalini is a special kind of energy known in many cultures, including Tibetan, Indian, Sumerian, Chinese, Irish, Aztec, and Greek. Kundalini is said to be hot, fast, powerful, and large. It exists within the earth, within all life, and within each person.


    Psychoanalyst Carl G. Jung called kundalini anima. Kundalini is usually represented as a serpent coiled at the base of the spine, but women's mystery stories locate it in the uterus - or the area where the uterus was, if a hysterectomy has occurred. During both puberty and menopause, a woman's kundalini is difficult to control and may cause a great number of symptoms.


    East Indian yogis spend lifetimes learning to activate, or wake up, their kundalini. This is also called "achieving enlightenment". When they succeed, a surge of super-heated energy goes up the spine, throughout the nerves, dilating blood vessels, and fueling itself with hormones.


    As kundalini continues to travel up the spine, it changes the functioning of the endocrine, cardiovascular, and nervous systems. Not just in yogis, but in any woman who allows herself to become aware of it. Menopause is a kind of enlightenment. Hot flashes are kundalini training sessions.


  • Tuesday, May 22, 2018 9:51 AM | Wise Woman (Administrator)

    CAN FOODS PREVENT CANCER?

    by Susun S. Weed

    Excerpt from Susun Weed's book

    Breast Cancer? Breast Health! The Wise Woman Way






    Can Foods Prevent Cancer?


    Absolutely, without a doubt, eating certain foods can prevent breast cancer. Analysis of 156 studies linking diet and cancer found extraordinarily consistent evidence that some foods actively protect cells from undergoing cancerous changes, especially breast, cervical, ovarian, and prostate cells. While these foods don’t guarantee freedom from cancer, they are vital elements of an anti-cancer lifestyle.


    The United States National Research Council states that 35-70 percent of all U.S. cancer deaths are related to diet and that 60 percent of the cancer incidence in women is related to diet. Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and beans contain phytochemicals that are active against cancer initiation in many direct and indirect ways. They neutralize carcinogenic compounds. They capture and neutralize free radicals. They protect DNA from environmental damage. They prevent the activation of oncogenes. They nourish anti-cancer enzymes in the digestive tract and strengthen the immune system cells which search out and eliminate cancer cells.


    If cancer has already begun to grow, phytochemicals can disrupt the processes necessary for the growth and spread of the tumor. They block metastasis by checking the growth of blood vessels to the tumor. Some foods can even reverse damage to the DNA and turn oncogenes off.


    Here’s the rub: It doesn’t work as well if it isn’t organic.  An apple a day may even promote breast cancer if it’s been heavily sprayed with pesticides. Eating anti-cancer foods as the mainstay of your diet will improve your chances of living a long life even if they aren’t organic, but choosing organic foods pays the extra dividend of knowing you’re investing in the health of future generations as well as your own.


  • Wednesday, May 09, 2018 4:36 PM | Wise Woman (Administrator)

    Evergreen Oil
    There are so many uses for an antiseptic, antibacterial, anti-tumor oil.




    Collect needles and twigs of any aromatic evergreen: cedar, juniper, hemlock (tree), spruce, pine. You will also need a bone dry jar, some olive oil, and a label or two.


    Fill the jar very full of evergreen needles and twigs. You may leave them whole or cut them. Make sure their uppermost tips are well below the top of the jar.


    Fill the jar to the top with pure olive oil (or other oil of your choice). It is best if there is a “head” of oil floating over the evergreen. Cap well.


    Label, including date, on front and top. Place jar in a bowl to catch overflow. Ready to use in six weeks.


    Edit Note: For External use Only. ....

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