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  • Tuesday, March 27, 2018 3:51 PM | Wise Woman (Administrator)

    What is a Simple?. Page Two

    by Susun Weed



    Simples Are Intimate


    When we use one herb at a time, we come to know that herb, we become intimate with that herb. Just as we become intimate with each other by spending time one-on-one, tete-a-tete, simply together, we become closer to the herbs when we use them as simples.


    Becoming intimate with an herb or a person helps us build trust. How reliable is the effect of this herb? When? How? Where does it fail? Using simples helps us build a web of green allies that we trust deeply. Simples help us feel more powerful. They help abate our fears, simply, safely.


    Simples Are Subtle


    Using one herb at a time gives us unparalleled opportunities to observe and make use of the subtle differences that are at the heart of herbal medicine. When we use simples we are more likely to notice the many variables that affect each herb: including where it grows, the years's weather, how we harvest it, our preparation, and the dosage.1 The many variables within one plant insure that our simple remedy nonetheless touches many aspects of a person and heals deeply.


    One apprentice tinctured motherwort flowering tops weekly through its blooming period. She reported that the tinctures made from the younger flower stalks had a stronger effect on the uterus; while those made from the older flower stalks, when the plant was going to seed, had a stronger effect on the heart.


    Simples Give Me Power


    Using one herb at a time helps me feel more certain that my remedy has an active value, not just a placebo value. Using one plant at a time, and local ones at that, reassures me that my herbal medicine cannot be legislated away. Using one plant at a time allows me to build trust in my remedies. Using one plant at a time is a subversive act, a reclaiming of simple health care.


    Combinations erode my power, activate my "victim persona," and lead me to believe that herbal medicine is best left to the experts.


    From Complex to Simple


    Take the challenge! Use simples instead of complex formulae. Let's rework some herbal remedies and get a sense of how simple it can be.


    The anti-cancer formula Essiac contains Arctium lappa (burdock), Rheum palmatum (rhubarb), Ulmus fulva (slippery elm), and Rumex acetosella (sheep sorrel). Rhubarb root has no possible use against cancer; it is a purgative whose repeated use can "aggravate constipation." Slippery elm bark also has no possible anti-cancer properties and has no doubt been added to counter some of the detrimental effects of the rhubarb. Sheep sorrel juice is so caustic that it has been used to burn off skin cancers, but it would likely do more harm to the kidneys than to any cancer if ingested regularly. Leaving us with a great anti-cancer simple: burdock root. One that I have found superbly effective in reversing dysplasias and precancerous conditions.


    A John Lust formula for relief of coughs (2) contains Agropyron repens (witch grass), Pimpinella anisum (aniseed), Glycyrrhiza glabra (licorice), Inula helenium (elecampane root), Pulmonaria officinalis (lungwort), Thymus species (thyme herb), (murillo bark) (3), Chondrus crispus (irish moss), Lobelia inflata (lobelia herb). Witch grass has little or no effect on coughs; it is an emollient diuretic whose dismissal from this group would leave no hole. Anise seeds are also not known to have an anti-pertussive effect; although they do taste good, we can do without them. Lobelia can bring more oxygen to the blood, but is certainly not an herb I would ever add to a cough mixture, so I will leave it out here.


    Licorice is a demulcent expectorant that can be most helpful for those with a dry cough; however, I do use it for a variety of reasons, among them its exotic origins and its cloyingly sweet taste. Lungwort is, as its name implies, a pectoral, but its effect is rather mild, and its place in the Boraginaceae family gives me pause. How much pyrrolizidine alkaloid might it contain? Thyme, and its more common anti-cough cousin garden sage, contains essential oils that could both quiet a cough and counter infection in the throat. A strong tea or a tincture of either could be our simple. Irish moss is, a specific to soothe coughs and a nutritive in addition, would also make an excellent simple. But it is elecampane that I would crown. It is not only a specific to curb coughing, it counters infection well, and tonifies lung tissues. Several small doses of a tincture of elecampane root should quiet a cough in a few hours.


    Simples are fun. Give them a try.


    Footnotes:


    1. Among the many variables, I have especially noticed that the tinctures that I make with fresh plants are many times more effective than tinctures made from dried plants. My elders tell me that preparations of common plants growing in uncommon places will be stronger as well. Many herbalists are aware of certain areas of their land that nurture plants that are particularly potent medicines.


    2. John Lust. The Herb Book. 1974. Bantam.


    3. Note that this formula, as is frequently the case, contains an "exotic" herb which Mr. Lust does not include in the 500+ herbs in his book, nor does he give us a botanical name for the plant, leaving us literally unable to prepare his formula as presented.

  • Tuesday, March 27, 2018 3:49 PM | Wise Woman (Administrator)

    What is a Simple?

    by Susun Weed



    A "simple" is one herb used at a time. A "simpler" is an herbalist who generally uses herbs one at a time, rather than in combinations.


    Why Use Simples?


    Most herbalists I have met -- whether from China or Japan, Eastern or Western Europe, Australia or North America -- use herbs in combinations. Simplers, like myself, don't. Why?


    Because I believe that herbal medicine is people's medicine, I seek to make herbal medicine simple: as simple as one herb at a time. Because people worry about interactions between the drugs they take and herbs, I keep it simple: with simples, interactions are simple to observe, and simpler to avoid. Because empowerment in health care is difficult, I want to offer others easy, safe herbal remedies: and what could be easier, or safer, than a simple?


    Simples Make Me Think


    When I was just getting started with herbs, one thing that confounded me was the many choices I had when I began to match symptoms to the herbs that relieved them. If someone had a cough should I use garden sage or wild cherry bark or pine sap or mullein or coltsfoot (to name only a few of the many choices)? One way out of this dilemma was to use them all. I made many cough syrups that contained every anti-cough herb that I could collect. And they all worked.


    As I got more sophisticated in my herbal usage, and especially after I completed a course on homeopathy, I began to see that each herb had a specific personality, a specific way of acting. I realized I couldn't notice the individual actions of the herbs when they were combined.


    It felt daring at first to use just one herb. Would wild cherry bark tincture all by itself be enough to quell that child's cough? Yes! Would mullein infusion alone really reduce a person's asthmatic and allergic reactions? Yes! Would sage soaked in honey for six weeks ease a sore throat? Yes! Each herb that I tried as a simple was successful. They all worked, not just together, but by themselves.


    The more I used individual herbs the more I came to know them as individuals. The more I used simples, the simpler and more successful my remedies became. The more I used one herb at a time, the more I learned about how that herb worked, and didn't work.


    ~ Page Two ~

  • Tuesday, March 27, 2018 10:13 AM | Wise Woman (Administrator)

    SEAWEED IS AN ALLY IN WOMEN’S MYSTERIES


    Seaweed flows and shifts like the energy of a woman. Saline solutions of ocean and uterus rock in rhythm. Pulses of tide, menstruation, heartbeat, and fertility join seaweeds and wombs. Nourishing breast milk merges with waves of green fronds.


    Seaweed eaten daily is a powerful ally to a wise woman for, prevention and healing herself or others with osteoporosis, breast cancer, mastitis, uterine cancer, irregular menstrual cycles, ovarian cancer, fibroids, ovarian cysts, infertility, fibro-cystic breast distress, and pre-menstrual / menopausal problems such as water retention, emotional freak-outs, chills and hot flashes, fatigue, lack of lubrication, loss of calcium and general irritability.


    SEAWEED IS A GREAT WAY TO STAY IN SHAPE


    By providing optimum nourishment to the thyroid, helping to regulate metabolism, and increasing the effectiveness of the digestive system, seaweed helps you get in shape and stay that way.



    SEAWEED PROPERTIES AND USES


    ~ Protective: anti-radiation, anti-cancer, anti-oxidant, anti-toxic, anti-rheumatic, antibiotic, antibacterial, alterative.

    ~ Nutritive: trace mineral supplement, cardio-tonic, rejuvenative, aphrodisiac.

    ~ Mucilaginous: Emollient, demulcent, aperient, anti-constipative, diuretic.

    ~ Anti-stress: Analgesic, calmative, anti-pyretic.


  • Tuesday, March 20, 2018 8:43 AM | Wise Woman (Administrator)

    Seaweed is An Everyday Miracle, Part 2

    by Susun Weed



    SEAWEED IS A WAY TO GET YOUR JUICES FLOWING


    Daily use of seaweed provides optimum nourishment for the hormonal, lymphatic, urinary, and nervous systems. The hormonal system uses minerals and trace elements so richly available from seaweed to repair tissue, build new cells, and create hormones responsible for regulating blood pressure, metabolism, fertility, sexuality, and reaction to allergens, to name but a few.


    The lymphatic and immune systems are avid partakers of seaweed’s splendid feast of nutrients. Combined with this optimum nourishment, the communication enhancing effects of seaweed further enhance response time and strength in the immune system. This reduces opportunist bacterial and viral infections and helps prolong youth and vitality, not to mention joy and ease in life.


    The urinary system gets a special boost from seaweed’s seeming excess of potassium and sodium. Those with cystitis, kidney weakness, gout diabetic kidney ills, and bladder weakness find health / wholeness / holiness with seaweed and Wise Woman Ways.

    The nervous system relaxes in the presence of seaweed’s mineral abundance. Seaweed creates an inner environment where nerve signals flow more smoothly and where brain chemicals are produced as needed: to maintain alertness, increase memory, reduce pain, and provide a sense of buoyant bliss. (Envision the head sized floats of kelp bobbing on a gently undulating sea.)


    SEAWEED IS A GUT GREASER


    Seaweed provides a multitude of gifts to the digestive system: soothing, disinfecting, and nourishing distressed surfaces, helping out with the metabolism of lipids, and maintaining a healthy balance of digestive yeasts and bacteria in the intestines.


    Seaweed is an exceptional ally to the wise woman healing those with gastric ulcers, duodenal ulcers, ulcerated colon, colitis, constipation, watery stools, and other intestinal ills, thanks to its bio-available nourishment, high algin content, mucilaginous fiber, and rhythmical resonation.


  • Tuesday, March 20, 2018 8:32 AM | Wise Woman (Administrator)

    MEETING THE PLANTS

    WITH Susun S Weed



    Herbal Pharmacy


    In your herbal pharmacy you transform fresh and dried plants into herbal medicines. Learning to identify and use the common plants around you is easy and exciting, beneficial and safe. Making your own medicines saves you money if you follow the Wise Woman tradition of using local herbs, free for the taking. Even one day's work in field, forest, and kitchen can provide you with many years' worth of medicines. When you make your own, you know for sure what's in it, where it came from, when and how it was harvested, and how fresh and potent it is.


    Dried herbs are best for the infusions recommended in this book. Stock your herbal pharmacy with your own foraged or cultivated dried herbs; expand your resources and experiment with new herbs by buying dried herbs from reputable sources.

    Fresh herbs are best for the tinctures and oils recommended in this book. If you can't make your own, buy from sources who wildcraft or grow their own herbs to use fresh in preparations.


    Whether you buy or make your own medicines, remember, herbal remedies may not work or may work incorrectly if they aren't prepared correctly. Read this chapter carefully; it contains easy to follow instructions for every remedy and preparation mentioned in this book.


    Meeting the Plants


    Start by noticing the plants that live with you, along your driveway or sidewalk. Don't assume that medicinal plants are hard to find. Fennel, Pepper Grass, Dandelion, Plantain, and Mugwort (to name a few) are as common in cities and suburbs as in the country.

    Learn more about the weeds around you directly from the plants, from a personal guide, and from field guides and herbals.


    When we open all our senses, including the psychic ones, to the green world, we learn to hear and understand plant language. Through shape, color, location, scent, texture, taste, and energy, plants tell us how they will affect our bodies, which plant parts we can use, and how we prepare them. Some Wise Women converse with the plant fairies and the devas. Some hear the song that each plant sings. Some feel the dances of the leaves, breezes, and insects. All are means of learning the ways of herbs. Though the scientific tradition scoffs at such knowledge, the Wise Woman tradition honors the plant as the ultimate authority on its uses.


    A personal guide into the plant world will show you plant features which ensure positive identification, such as the hairs on Wild Carrot which safely distinguish it from Poison Hemlock. A personal guide will introduce you to the foods, medicines, dyes, fibers, decorations, and delights hidden in common plants, and instruct you in wise harvesting and preparation. Check local garden clubs, botanical gardens, and nature centers for contacts with personal guides.


    Field guides are indispensable references once your taste for herbal identification is whetted. I find the line drawings in the Petersen guides more helpful than color photographs when I have to distinguish between similar looking plants.


    Herbals concentrate on the specifics of using plants as medicines and are rarely illustrated well enough to serve as a guide to identification. Field guides hardly ever include information on medicinal value. The link between your field guide and your herbal is the botanical binomial, or Latin name, of each plant. The binomial is (usually) consistent in all references, unlike common names which overlap and vary from region to region. Once you have identified a new plant, you can look it up by finding the binomial in herbals and other references. This can increase your confidence and ability to find and use safe herbal medicines.


    My years of leading Weed Walks and helping people identify wild plants have shown me that learning to recognize herbs in the field is far easier, and much less fraught with danger, than most people realize. As Euell Gibbons is quoted as saying: "You don't learn all the plants at once; you learn them one at a time."


    Even if you never pick your own herbs, knowing how the live plants look will be a great asset when you go out to buy them.


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


    Healing Wise


    Author: Susun S. Weed. Superb herbal in the feminine-intuitive mode. Complete instructions for using common plants for food, beauty, medicine, and longevity. Introduction by Jean Houston. 312 pages, index, illustrations. Retails for $17.95

    Order at: www.wisewomanbookshop.com


  • Tuesday, March 13, 2018 6:25 PM | Wise Woman (Administrator)
    Bladderwrack Tea

     

    ~ Gently simmer a handful of fucus for 15 minutes in enough water to cover. OR, fill a quart jar only full with dried bladderwrack; add boiling water to completely fill the jar

    ~ Cap and let steep overnight.

    ~ Next morning, strain (give the seaweed to the nearest patch of earth), warm and enjoy, seasoned to your taste!

  • Tuesday, March 13, 2018 4:14 PM | Wise Woman (Administrator)
    Seaweed is an Everyday Miracle

    Seaweed is an everyday miracle. The benefits of including seaweed’s optimum nourishment into your daily diet are extensive: increased longevity, enhanced immune functioning, revitalization of the cardiovascular, endocrine, digestive, and nervous systems, and relief from minor aches and pains. No wonder seaweed has been part of the traditional diet of all coastal cultures, including the people of Japan, Korea, China, Iceland, Denmark, Wales, Scotland, Hawaii, and the South Pacific Islands, and all the people who had trading contacts with the coastal cultures.All seaweeds are high in fiber. Those in the brown family supply large amounts of algin as well. Each seaweed contains a wide range of essential nutrients, including enzymes, nucleic acids, amino acids, minerals, trace elements, and A, B, C, D, E, and K vitamin complexes. Seaweeds offer us zest for life and the perfect medium for electrical nerve flow.


    Benefits from a wise woman alliance with seaweed - glossier hair, more luminous skin, less digestive distress, renewed energy and stamina, rekindled sexual desires, and reawakened delight in life - will be noticeable in about 13 weeks.

    SEAWEED IS AN ALLY WITH LOTS OF HEART

    Seaweed is an ally with lots of heart. Dancing, singing seaweed strengthens circulation, balances blood pressure, lowers cholesterol, builds healthy blood, increases the veins and hearts contractile force, restores and increases cardiac efficiency, nourishes and prolongs the life of the heart muscle, and encourages rhythmical working of the heart in all its aspects: physical, emotional, and inspirational.

    How can weeds with so much sodium (we all know salt raises blood pressure) be good for the heart and even hypotensive - that is, capable of lowering blood pressure~

    DID YOU KNOW~

    Sodium is not to blame for high blood pressure. Sodium chloride may be. Table salt may be. But table salt contains sugar, aluminum salts, and several other agents as well as sodium chloride. This is an unnatural salt solution and one that creates cardiovascular stress. The naturally occurring sodium in seaweeds (and garden weeds) bathes the inner being with rich salty nourishment, like the amniotic fluid of our original home. This sodium relieves tension in blood vessels made brittle by immersion in the wrong saline solution, table salt. (Note that commercial sea salt is usually as full of free flowing agents and other addenda as commercial table salt. Real evaporated seawater salt is pinkish in color. As usual, if it’s white, you can’t trust it.)

    Seaweed is a wonderful green ally to use with other Wise Woman ways when healing those with problems of the heart and circulation including atherosclerosis, hypertension, chilly extremities, varicosities, heart infections, repressed feelings, and self blame. 

  • Tuesday, March 13, 2018 4:07 PM | Wise Woman (Administrator)

    Using Herbs Simply and Safely, Page Two

    by Susun Weed


    If you are allergic to any foods or medicines, it is especially important to consult resources that list the side effects of herbs before you use them.


    * Understand that different preparations of the same herb can work differently

    The safety of any herbal remedy is dependent on the way it is prepared and used.

    * Tinctures and extracts contain the alkaloids, or poisonous, parts of plants and need to be used with care and wisdom. Tinctures are as safe as the herb involved (see cautions below for tonifying, stimulating, sedating, or potentially poisonous herbs). Best used/sold as simples, not combinations, especially when strong herbs are being used.

    * Dried herbs made into teas or infusions contain the nourishing aspects of the plants and are usually quite safe, especially when nourishing or tonifying herbs are used.

    * Dried herbs in capsules are generally the least effective way to use herbs. They are poorly digested, poorly utilized, often stale or ineffective, and quite expensive.

    * Infused herbal oils are available as is, or thickened into ointments. They are much safer than essential oils, which are highly concentrated and can be lethal if taken internally.

    * Herbal vinegars are not only decorative but mineral-rich as well. A good medium for nourishing and tonifying herbs; not as strong as tinctures for stimulants/sedatives.

    * Herbal glycerins are available for those who prefer to avoid alcohol but are usually weaker in action than tinctures.


    * Use nourishing, tonifying, stimulating, and potentially poisonous herbs wisely

    Herbs comprise a group of several thousand plants with widely varying actions. Some are nourishers, some tonifiers, some stimulants and sedatives, and some are potential poisons. To use them wisely and well, we need to understand each category, its uses, best manner of preparation, and usual dosage range.

    Nourishing herbs are the safest of all herbs; side effects are rare. Nourishing herbs are taken in any quantity for any length of time. They are used as foods, just like spinach and kale. Nourishing herbs provide high levels of proteins, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, carotenes, and essential fatty acids. Examples of nourishing herbs are: alfalfa, amaranth, astragalus, calendula flowers, chickweed, comfrey leaves, dandelion, fenugreek, flax seeds, honeysuckle flowers, lamb's quarter, marshmallow, nettles, oatstraw, plantain (leaves/seeds), purslane, red clover blossoms, seaweed, Siberian ginseng, slippery elm, violet leaves, and wild mushrooms.

    Tonifying herbs act slowly in the body and have a cumulative, rather than immediate, effect. They build the functional ability of an organ (like the liver) or a system (like the immune system). Tonifying herbs are most beneficial when they are used in small quantities for extended periods of time. The more bitter the tonic tastes, the less you need to take. Bland tonics may be used in quantity, like nourishing herbs.

    Side effects occasionally occur with tonics, but are usually quite short-term. Many older herbals mistakenly equated stimulating herbs with tonifying herbs, leading to widespread misuse of many herbs, and severe side effects. Examples of tonifying herbs are: barberry bark, burdock root/seeds, chaste tree, crone(mug)wort, dandelion root, echinacea, elecampane, fennel, garlic, ginkgo, ginseng, ground ivy, hawthorn berries, horsetail, lady's mantle, lemon balm, milk thistle seeds, motherwort, mullein, pau d'arco, raspberry leaves, schisandra berries, St. Joan's wort, turmeric root, usnea, wild yam, and yellow dock.

    Sedating and stimulating herbs cause a variety of rapid reactions, some of which may be unwanted. Some parts of the person may be stressed in order to help other parts. Strong sedatives and stimulants, whether herbs or drugs, push us outside our normal ranges of activity and may cause strong side effects. If we rely on them and then try to function without them, we wind up more agitated (or depressed) than before we began. Habitual use of strong sedatives and stimulants-whether opium, rhubarb root, cayenne, or coffee-leads to loss of tone, impairment of functioning, and even physical dependency. The stronger the herb, the more moderate the dose needs to be, and the shorter the duration of its use.

    Herbs that tonify and nourish while sedating/stimulating are some of my favorite herbs. I use them freely, as they do not cause dependency. Sedating/stimulating herbs that also tonify or nourish: boneset, catnip, citrus peel, cleavers, ginger, hops, lavender, marjoram, motherwort, oatstraw, passion flower, peppermint, rosemary, sage, skullcap.

    Strongly sedating/stimulating herbs include: angelica, black pepper, blessed thistle root, cayenne, cinnamon, cloves, coffee, licorice, opium poppy, osha root, shepherd's purse, sweet woodruff, turkey rhubarb root, uva ursu leaves, valerian root, wild lettuce sap, willow bark, and wintergreen leaves.

    Potentially poisonous herbs are intense, potent medicines that are taken in tiny amounts and only for as long as needed. Side effects are common. Examples of potentially poisonous herbs are: belladonna, blood-root, celandine, chaparral, foxglove, goldenseal, henbane, iris root, Jimson weed, lobelia, May apple (American mandrake), mistletoe, poke root, poison hemlock, stillingia root, turkey corn root, wild cucumber root.

    In addition, consider these thoughts on using herbs safely:
    *Respect the power of plants to change the body and spirit in dramatic ways.


    *Increase trust in the healing effectiveness of plants by trying remedies for minor or external problems before, or while, working with major and internal problems.


    *Develop ongoing relationships with knowledgeable healers-in person or in books-who are interested in herbal medicine.


    *Honor the uniqueness of every plant, every person, every situation.


    *Remember that each person becomes whole and healed in their own unique way, at their own speed. People, plants, and animals can help in this process. But it is the body/spirit that does the healing. Don't expect plants to be cure-alls.

  • Tuesday, March 13, 2018 4:03 PM | Wise Woman (Administrator)
    Using Herbs Simply and Safely
    By Susun S. Weed



    Are herbs "dilute forms of drugs" - and therefore dangerous? Or are they "natural" - and therefore safe? If you sell herbs, you probably hear these questions often. What is the "right" answer? It depends on the herb! These thoughts on herbs will help you explain to your customers (and yourself) how safe--or dangerous-- any herb might be.

    To prevent problems when selling or using herbs:

    1. Be certain you have the correct plant.
    2. Use simples.
    3. Understand that different preparations of the same herb can work differently.
    4. Use nourishing, tonifying, stimulating, and potentially poisonous herbs wisely.


    * Be certain you have the correct plant.

    One of the easiest ways to get into trouble with an herb is to use the "wrong" one. How could that happen? Common names for herbs overlap, causing confusion as to the proper identity. Herbs that are labeled correctly may contain extraneous material from another, more dangerous, herb. Herbs may be picked at the wrong stage of growth or handled incorrectly after harvesting, causing them to develop detrimental qualities.

    Protect yourself and your customers with these simple steps:

    •  Buy herbs only from reputable suppliers.
    • Only buy herbs that are labeled with their botanical name. Botanical names are specific, but the same common name can refer to several different plants. "Marigold" can be Calendula officinalis, a medicinal herb, or Tagetes, an annual used as a bedding plant.
    • If you grow the herbs you sell, be meticulous about keeping different plants separate when you harvest and dry them, and obsessive about labeling.



    * Use simples

    A simple is one herb. For optimum safety, I prepare, buy, sell, teach about and use herbal simples, that is: preparations containing only one herb. (Occasionally I use will add some mint to flavor a remedy.)

    The more herbs there are in a formula, the more likelihood there is of unwanted side-effects. Understandably, the public seeks combinations, hoping to get more for less. And many mistakenly believe that herbs must be used together to be effective (probably because potentially poisonous herbs are often combined with protective herbs to mitigate the damage they cause). But combining herbs with the same properties, such as goldenseal and echinacea, is counter-productive and more likely to cause trouble than a simple. A simple tincture of echinacea is more effective than any combination and much safer.)

    Different people have different reactions to substances, whether drugs, foods, or herbs. When herbs are mixed together in a formula and someone taking it has distressing side effects, there is no way to determine which herb is the cause. With simples, it's easy to tell which herb is doing what. If there's an adverse reaction, other herbs with similar properties can be tried. Limiting the number of herbs used in any one day (to no more than four) offers added protection.

    Side effects from herbs are less common than side effects from drugs and usually less severe. If an herb disturbs the digestion, it may be that the body is learning to process it. Give it a few more tries before giving up. Stop taking any herb that causes nausea, dizziness, sharp stomach pains, diarrhea, headache, or blurred vision. (These effects will generally occur quite quickly.) Slippery elm is an excellent antidote to any type of poison.


    ~ Page Two ~

  • Monday, March 05, 2018 3:51 PM | Wise Woman (Administrator)

    Digestive Distress, Part Two
    by Susun Weed


    Step 4. Stimulate/Sedate . . .

    ~ White flour products slow the digestive tract; so does too much grain-fed meat. Whole grain products, well-cooked beans, wild meats, and cooked greens speed it up.

    ~ Add more liquids and soft foods to your diet - applesauce, yogurt, nourishing soups, herbal infusions - to help relieve constipation. Chew your food slowly and savor it. Drink lavishly between meals.

    ~ Menopausal women will want to avoid the use of bran as a laxative, as it interferes with calcium absorption. Instead try prunes, prune juice, rhubarb with maple syrup, or figs. (See "Fruit Fix," page XXX.)

    ~ Ginger tea with honey is a warming, easing drink when your tummy is upset. Ahhh. Try the fresh root grated and steeped in boiling water, or put a tablespoon of the powdered stuff from your spice cupboard in a cup of hot water and enjoy.

    ~ Crushed hemp seed (Cannabis sativa) tea - rich in essential fatty acids - is a specific against menopausal constipation.

    ~ Herbal laxatives such as aloes, cascara sagrada, rhubarb root, and senna are addictive and destructive to normal peristalsis. Except in rare cases (such as relief of constipation for a ninety-year-old woman confined to a bed), I do not advise their use.

    Step 5. Use supplements . . .


    ~ Constipation and digestive distress are common side effects from taking iron supplements. A spoonful of molasses with 10-25 drops of yellow dock root tincture in a glass of warm water is a better way to increase iron, and improve elimination.

    Step 6. Break and enter . . .


    ~ Enemas and colonics are last-resort techniques. They do not promote health and may strip the guts of important flora. Regular use of enemas is highly habit-forming. For the sake of your health, avoid them.

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