Wise Woman Herbal Ezine

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  • Tuesday, December 01, 2020 5:16 PM | Anonymous

    Winter Edible Weed
    by Susun Weed

    Garlic Mustard (Alliaria officinalis)

    Our official major salad plant, for which we give endless thanksgiving. This hardy green will be available until it is buried by snow.


    For now, it is the main ingredient in all our late fall, early winter salads. Not too bitter, and not too spicy, but just right for colder weather. Let’s pick lots of this one.

  • Tuesday, December 01, 2020 5:11 PM | Anonymous

    Nourishing Infusions
    by Susun Weed

    The liquid portion of our diets is as important as the solid portion. That's why 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 chosing those herbs as my drink, I increase the amount of protein, vitamins, minerals, and micronutrients in my diet without consuming extra calories, and at a xost of only pennies a day. I'd rather drink nourishing herbal infusions than any other beverages. I drink infusion in the morning, throughout the day, and in the evening, too.

    Water is a good drink. But what water? Is water from the tap safe and healthy? Is it better to buy bottled water?

    I make my nourishing herbal infusions by pouring boiling water ove dried herbs. Boiling the water removes chlorine and kills germs, so I feel safe using any water to make my infusion. I strongly prefer tap water over bottled water because I want to minimize the amount of plastic I consume. And I avoid mineral-depleted distilled water. But I only use cold water from the tap, as hot water can contain traces of plastic or lead leached from the water pipes.

    Instead of making nourishing herbal infusions, I could buy vitamin- and mineral-enhanced water, maybe with some ginseng or green tea thrown in.

    Bottled waters with added vitamins and herbs are big business, with more than $3 billion dollars in annual sales. Unfortunately, neither the vitamins nor the herbs in "enhanced water" have any impact on energy or health. Energy drinks do contain caffeine, and that has a strong effect. But neither the herbs nor the supplements currently added to any bottled water have been found to have any nutritional effect. These waters are considered "non-functional," that is, they are colored and flavored water, not nutrition. Worse yet, enhanced waters are sweetened, often heavily.

    Unfortunately, the body doesn't count the calories in what we drink, so drinking sugary beverages increases calories, and appetite, and -- you guessed it -- the size of your butt. I don't buy energy drinks, instead, I rely on stinging nettle infusion. Nettle gives me the energy of the earth: strong, solid, endless energy. Nettle infusion supplies me with enormous amounts of electrolyte minerals, lots of protein, and astonishing amounts of vitamins. And it tastes great iced on a hot day.Yum, yum.

    Perhaps drinking juice is as good as drinking infusions, maybe better if the juice is fresh.

    Americans bought more than $2 billion dollars worth of organic juices last year. And more than that in non-organic juices. Neither packaged nor fresh fruit juices supply much nutrition however. (With two exceptions: freshly-squeezed citrus juices and tomato juice.) Juicing doesn't liberate minerals or vitamins, just fruit sugars, flavors, and colors. Nourishing herbal infusions are superior to any juice in both nutrition and cost. Most bottled juices, no matter what they're called, are made from high-fructose apple and grape juice concentrates. Sweet calories from fruit juice pile up around our waists. Instead of juice, I drink nourishing herbal infusions of linden or oatstraw. Both are slightly sweet, and taste even better with a little honey added. Linden infusion reduces inflammation and aids the heart. Oatstraw infuison provides generous amounts B vitamins, lowers cholesterol, and increases libido.

    Tea has many health benefits. Surely drinking iced tea is a healthy choice for quenching summer thirst. Iced coffee sounds good, too.

    All kinds of tea are healthy, and a few cups of coffee a day have been shown to decrease the incidence of some diseases. But bottled iced tea and iced coffee are heavily sweetened. Most bottled iced teas have no health benefit because they are not made from brewed tea but from tea concentrate. Iced coffee lattes add insult to injury by being rich in fat as well as too sweet. Brew tea at home and carry it, iced, in a thermos instead of buying bottled stuff. Better yet, brew yourself some red clover infusion. It tastes like black tea. Add lemon and a little mint, pour over ice, and you have a drink that is not only nearly calorie-free but alsoa tremendous source of nutrition, and a leading preventer of cancer.

    After nourishing herbal infusion, my favorite summer refresher is a chocolate malt.
    Yes, malts, especially chocolate malts, are thirst quenchers that pack a nutrition punch with no more calories than sweetened teas, enhanced waters, or fruit juices. Malt powder is an excellent source of B vitamins. Milk is Nature's way of building strong bones. And chocolate promotes heart health. Now and then, in between quarts of nourishing herbal infusion, I cool down with a nourishing chocolate malt. Umm, umm.
    Green blessings make the best drinks.

    Give nourishing herbal infusions a chance this summer -- and you'll still be brewing them when winter solstice rolls around.

    My favorite herbs for making nourishing infusions are
    ~ Stinging nettle (Urtica dioica) for lots of energy.
    ~ Red clover blossoms (Trifolium pratense) to forstall cancer.
    ~ Oatstraw (Avena sativa) to be very, very sexy.
    ~ Comfrey leaves (Smyphytum uplandica x) to help the memory.
    ~ Linden blossoms (Tillia species) to counter inflammation.
    ~ Chickweed (Stellaria media) to lose weight.
    ~ Hawthorn blossoms (Crataegus oxycantha) for older hearts.
    ~ Raspberry leaves (Rubus species) for uterine health.

    To brew a nourishing herbal infusion:

    Place one ounce (30 grams) of dried herb by weight in a quart (liter) jar.
    Fill jar to the top with boiling water.
    Cap tightly and steep for at least four hours; overnight is fine.
    After brewing, strain the liquid from the herbs.
    Squeeze the herbs to get all the goodness out.
    Refrigerate the liquid, which needs to be consumed with a day or two.
    Drink your nourishing herbal infusion over ice or heated up, with honey or not.
    I drink 2-4 cups of infusion a day.

    You can mix nourishing herbal infusions with fruit juice or soda water; you can add whiskey or miso, honey or ginger to them, or flavor them in any way that appeals to you.

  • Tuesday, November 17, 2020 7:46 PM | Anonymous

    Would you like to try some elder berry preserves? I enjoy it mixed into yogurt, but let’s also have some crackers with tara cheese (or cream cheese) and a smear of elder preserves. Heavenly! That ought to bring a cooling breath to any inflamed emotions, joints, guts, lungs, throats, and private parts. Thank you Elda Mor.

    Elder berries reduce inflammation. Throughout the centuries elder has been used in teas, infusions, wines, preserves, and ointments to reduce swelling internally and externally.

    Elder berry is considered a specific to reduce swelling in the mucus tissues, especially when that swelling and irritation is caused by bacterial or viral infections (colds, flu, sore throat, cough, bronchitis, sinusitis, tonsillitis, pneumonia).

    Elder berries taken internally are useful for easing inflammation associated with wounds, sprains, and bruises, and old or injured joints. (Ointments are used too, but they are usually made from the twigs and leaves, as the berries stain everything they touch.)

    Elder berry preserves reduce the symptoms of allergies as well; less sneezing, itchiness, and swelling reward those who ask for elder’s help.

    Elder berry increases the proliferation and release of inflammation-busting cytokines, so the effect is systemic, not local. Inflammation lies behind most of the major problems of our time: stroke, heart attack, blood vessel disease, diabetes, arthritis, headaches, cancer, and probably obesity as well. Elda Mor is literally a life saver.

    Add elder berries to your breakfast: in your cereal, on your toast, mixed into yogurt, poured onto pancakes. Whether you make preserves, jam, jelly, syrup, or decoction, you will reap the longevity and anti-inflammatory benefits of elder. 

    green blessings,
    Susun Weed


  • Tuesday, November 10, 2020 5:02 PM | Anonymous
    Make A Tincture/Fresh Herb

    I use tinctures in varied doses, from several dropperfuls at a time, to only a few drops at a time. I take tonic tinctures daily. Others as needed.

    Alcohol pulls out more poisonous constituents than water.
    Tinctures are superior when made from fresh plants.

    These tinctures require fresh plants, no exceptions.
    * St. Joan’s wort flower means trouble for viruses and frowns.
    * Poke root stirs up the lymphatic and immune systems.
    * Bloodroot in tiny amounts counter periodontal disease.
    * Motherwort calms anxiety, eases the heart.
    * Skullcap eases pain and brings deep sleep.

    Fill any size jar to the top with cut-up pieces of fresh, just harvested herb, then add 100-proof vodka, right to the top of the jar.
    Lid well, label. Ready to use in six weeks.

  • Tuesday, November 10, 2020 3:28 PM | Anonymous

    Seven Rivers of Healing
    by Susun S Weed

    Whether we see ourselves as body machines, dirty temples, or ever changing perfection, we all want and need help with healing injuries, illness, and deviations from our healthy norm. But with a limitless number of techniques to choose from, not to mention a multitude of practitioners, how do we choose? Who can we trust? What do we do? The Seven Rivers of Healing give structure to our quest for health.

    The Wise Woman Tradition encourages us to make use of every healing option. But we can't use them all at once. Where do we start? How can we gauge what is most appropriate? How can we avoid harming ourselves in our attempts to heal/change? The Seven Rivers of Healing is a ranking system, a way to order our choices and determine what to do first.

    The Seven Rivers of Healing contain all the techniques and all the substances used for healing throughout all times and all places. They flow from the most ancient past to the inconceivable future, collecting every method of healing ever known and bringing them to us today. They apply to all aspects of our beings, all parts of our wholeness: physical, emotional, mental, symbolic, and sacred.

    The Seven Rivers of Healing connect orthodox and alternative medicines. Their flow represents a truly complementary approach to health care. One that can carry us on the magic carpet of science into the Great Mystery. One that allows all people to honor their individual beliefs about life and death and what we do in between. One that honors the interconnectedness of all. One that helps us in our search for completeness and in our desire to leave the world a healthier place for our children and grandchildren.

    The Seven Rivers of Healing offer us a truly integrative approach which invites the hard-nosed realist to try out energy approaches and brings the shaman into the operating theater. It arose, in part, from my distress over the lives lost by those who believed that modern medicine can only do harm. It arose, in part, from my distress over the damage done to those who believed that modern medicine can do no harm.

    The Seven Rivers of Healing is a pattern based on the recognition that we can be harmed by that which claims to heal us. The Seven Rivers of Healing affirms that all forms of healing do work -- but not that they are all always safe or beneficial. The flow of the Seven Rivers of Healing follows the most important precept in healing: "First, do no harm."

    The Seven Rivers of Healing are not limited to any one tradition. Whether you are most comfortable in the scientific tradition, the heroic tradition, or the Wise Woman Tradition, flowing with the Seven Rivers of Healing will broaden your vision of health and increase your healing options. For the purpose of this book, however, I will frame my discussion primarily from the viewpoint of the Wise Woman.

    First, Do No Harm
    Every healing option, every method and material has its place in The Seven Rivers of Healing. They are arranged in the Rivers according to the frequency and severity of their harm, including unwanted side effects. Thus, the First River carries healing options that never cause any harm. The Second River carries options that may occasionally cause very mild harm. The Third River carries options that may, at times, cause some slight harm.

    The Fourth River carries options that sometimes cause moderate harm. The Fifth River carries options that always cause some moderate harm but rarely death. The Sixth River carries options that always cause moderate harm and can sometimes kill. The Seventh River carries options that always cause harm and frequently cause grave harm or death.

    Techniques, treatments and diagnostic procedures from the first four Rivers, when properly used, rarely cause harm and rarely have detrimental side effects. (If they do, the effects are usually mild and short lived.) Techniques, treatments and diagnostic procedures from the last three Rivers, even when carefully and properly administered, almost always cause some harm, sometimes severe harm, as a consequence of their use. In addition, they usually have unwanted side effects that can be severe and long lasting.

    Interaction with our physical being increases as we move through the Seven Rivers. In the First River, we are alone: not so much as the gaze of another person touches us. In the Second River, we open our minds: thoughts and ideas enter us, hands touch us lightly. In the Third River, we open our senses: vibrations, sounds, colors, and subtle energies move around and through us.

    In the Fourth River, we open our mouths and take substances into our bodies: we move ourselves vigorously, circulating fresh blood deeply into our open and receptive cells. In the Fifth River, we enlist the aid of strong touch, powerful plants, even acupuncture needles to help us open and change. In the Sixth River, we disable or ignore our natural warning systems so we may ingest isolated, synthesized substances (drugs and supplements) which have powerful actions on our bodies and minds.

    In the Seventh River of Healing, we are opened with knives, entered with needles and tubes, opened with radiation, penetrated with magnetic fields, altered with psychoactive allies.

    Not only are we more at risk because we are more open (and more opened)--physically and mentally, emotionally and psychically--as we move from the first to the last River of Healing, but we are also more at risk because the currents of each successive River flow deeper and faster, sweeping us toward our goal with more and more force and urgency.

    Each River increases the reality of the life/death struggle/union. In the first two Rivers, we encounter the thought of death, we learn about it. In the Third River of Healing we dream of death, we fear death. In the Fourth River we acknowledge that death is needed to feed life. In the Fifth River we are rescued from death by strong medicines and heroic measures. In the Sixth River, we brush death’s shoulder, using poisons for their healing power. In the Seventh River we mimic death with anesthesia. We break ourselves into pieces. We are killed and returned to life. Or not. All Rivers return to the ocean, to the All, to the Void.

    Each River can take us to the healing we want. Each River alone could be enough to create the health we seek. But when we understand and use them all, sequentially, going only so far as we need to gain health/wholeness/holiness, then we find ourselves healing in unimaginable ways. With the Seven Rivers of Healing to guide us, we can remember the playful child we once were and explore our healing options with a light and amused heart.

    Green Blessings,



    Seven Rivers of Healing

    A 46 week self study course with Susun Weed


    SEVEN RIVERS OF HEALING Have you ever felt amazed and overwhelmed by all the different approaches to healing available to you?  Susun Weed's Seven Rivers of Healing provides a clear path through the maze of health care choices.

    Relieve your anxiety, enlighten your mind, and empower yourself through the personal delivery of easy-to-access knowledge.  Rediscover your inner wisdom with this 46 week self-study course brought right to your email inbox each week once you join.

  • Tuesday, November 10, 2020 3:06 PM | Anonymous

    Hot Colds and Cold Colds
    by Susun Weed



    Winter is coming. So are colds and the flu. Here are some tips for preventing these viral illnesses. And for getting well fast if you do get sick.


    Preventing colds and the flu can be summed up in three words: Wash your hands.The viruses that cause colds and the flu most readily enter our bodies by means of our hands.Wash your hands after shopping. Remind your children to wash their hands as soon as they come home from school. A little "hysterical hygiene" goes a long way to keeping colds at bay.


    Of course, there are herbs that can be used to help thwart colds and the flu. Yarrow is a clear favorite, especially as a tincture. Teachers, moms, and wise children find a dose of 5-25 drops of yarrow tincture in the morning in some liquid reduces the likelihood of getting sick by more than half.

    Astragalus is gaining fame for its ability to support strong immune system functioning. I throw a few tongue-depressor-like pieces in my soups, where they infuse their goodness without imparting much flavor. Powdered astragalus can be added to almost anything, from oatmeal to pancakes, soups to gravies. And there is always the tincture, which works well in doses of 1-3 dropperfuls a day. (If at all possible, use domestic astragalus, rather than that from China.)


    Eleuthero, which used to be called Siberian ginseng, is another immune system nourisher, used in the same ways as astragalus: cooked into food or taken as a tincture.


    And don't forget honey. A spoonful at the first sign of a sore throat or runny nose can kill the bacteria responsible and help you get better fast.


    And if you do get sick, here's my favorite way to get well fast. Treat a cold cold with heat. Treat a hot cold with cold. This may sound too easy, but it is actually one of the most effective ways I know of to minimize the severity and duration of a cold (or the flu). I first learned about cold colds and hot cold when I was studying Five Element Theory with a sweetheart who was attending acupuncture school.


    It is important to remember that "cold" and "hot" don't refer to temperature; they refer to what we might call metabolism. Thus, the person with a cold cold could very well have a raging fever and the person with a hot cold may have no fever at all. Similarly, hot foods and herbs are not necessarily cooked, and cold foods and herbs need not be refrigerated.


    So how can we tell the difference between a cold cold and a hot cold? And what are cold herbs and hot herbs, cold foods and hot foods?

    The person with a cold cold (or a cold flu) is pale. Their bodily fluids are copious and without color: The nose runs with clear or white mucus; the bowels are loose and the feces are light in color; urination is profuse and colorless. The tongue may be coated with a white moss. If there is fever, it is accompanied by chills. The person with a cold cold seeks heat and hot foods.


    The person with a hot cold (or a hot flu) is ruddy; the face, or at least the cheeks, are very red. The eyes may feel dry and irritated. Their bodily fluids are scant and dark: nasal mucus is dry, yellowish, or "stopped up;" the bowels slow and feces are hard; urination is infrequent and highly colored. The tongue may be red or coated with a yellow moss. If there is a fever, it is "raging." The person with a hot cold seeks coolness and has little appetite.


    When you have a cold cold, indulge your desire for heating foods and herbs: Drink lots of hot spicy herbal teas with honey, such as ginger tea, cinnamon tea, or any of the spicy "Yogi Tea" type blends. Nourish yourself with chicken soup, beef broth, miso soup. Enjoy baked winter squash, baked potatoes, baked yams, baked garlic. Eat lots of olive oil, ghee, butter, olives, and avocados. Eat beans and eat the warming grains: kasha, rye, oats. Stay warm; take a hot bath or a hot shower and wrap up snugly before going to sleep.


    When you have a hot cold, indulge your desire for frozen fruit smoothies. Drink lemon and honey water, iced nettle infusion, hibiscus and mint teas. Nourish yourself with seaweed salads, cucumber sandwiches, and fresh tomatoes with basil. Enjoy berries and melons, green salads, and roasted fowl. Eat the cooling grains: corn, millet, spelt. Eat a little something even if your appetite is small. Stay cool; take off your shoes and socks and put your bare feet on the ground. But keep covers handy when you go to sleep.


    You see, cold colds turn into hot colds and vice versa. They don't stay the same the whole time you are sick. So be prepared to pull the covers up to your chattering teeth and flowing nose even if you went to bed stuffed up and sweltering. Or to throw off the pile of covers you clutched hours earlier. The real beauty of this idea of hot colds and cold cold is the premise that everything, even a cold, will change and so the cure comes, not from knowing the right answer, but in following the flow of the sickness and offering appropriate treatments. I imagine a balance scale, swinging back and forth between hot and cold, with me gently damping the swings, making each one a little less severe, until single-pointed stillness -- health -- is regained.


    Whether dealing with a hot cold or a cold cold, you can eat as much of the neutral nourishing foods -- rice, wheat, fish, honey, and yogurt -- as you wish. But, beware of taking vitamin C while harboring a cold or the flu; it is extremely cooling.

    I hope these tips for preventing and dealing with colds and the flu help you, and those you love, stay in glowing good health all winter long.

    Green Blessings.
    Susun Weed

  • Tuesday, October 27, 2020 4:12 PM | Anonymous

    Yellow Dock Seed Vinegar
    Susun Weed

    Fill a jar about ¾ full of the seeds, then fill it to the top with vinegar.
    Cap with a plastic, rubber, or cork lid. Label.

    Wait six weeks and use.

    Tastes good and is good for you, too. Keeps you regular and helps you use iron in your system.

    (A jar filled with yellow dock seeds and vinegar may break as the seeds can absorb the vinegar and expand, so leave room!)

  • Tuesday, October 27, 2020 3:03 PM | Anonymous

    by Susun Weed


    Modern ladies praise rosemary's ability to make their scalp healthy and dander free, and their hair lush, thick, and dark. To make a rosemary hair rinse, brew a full ounce of dried rosemary in a quart of boiling water overnight. After you've washed your hair, pour the dark, sweet-smelling rosemary liquid over your head, rubbing well into the scalp. Leave it be; no need to rinse it out.


    If you have very bad dandruff, add a tablespoon of borax per half cup of rosemary hair rinse just before use. Lavaggio, a hair tonic made from an Italian folk recipe that is 99% rosemary, is available for sale for those who don't want to do it themselves.


    Recent research has found that the heart has memory cells just like the brain. No wonder rosemary is renowned as a heart tonic, too! The oldest recipes call for soaking several handfuls of fresh rosemary in a large glass of white wine for several days, then sipping the wine to ease palpitations, strengthen weak hearts, and heal broken hearts. Rosemary in capsules, or rosemary tincture in large doses, can raise blood pressure however, so I stick to tea or external applications.


    Rosemary infused oil or ointment (not the essential oil, which can cause poisoning) eases the pain of arthritis, improves flexibility of the joints, counters and sometimes cures eczema, and hastens wound healing. If you don't have the oil, rosemary tea can be used instead.


    Rosemary tea has a beneficial effect on the lungs and breathing. If you have a cold, rosemary tea is happy to help you feel better. Too tired and sick to do anything? Just throw a big handful of rosemary in canned chicken soup and heat. For best effect, let steep for an hour, then eat it. Ahhh. When imbibing rosemary tea, feel free to add honey, especially if your throat is scratchy and sore.


    Rosemary, like all its mint sisters, is antispasmodic, mildly so as a tea, more strongly in vinegar, and powerfully as a tincture. Not only does it relieve nervous pains and headaches, rosemary eases all digestive woes, from gas to gall bladder problems. A tablespoon or two of the vinegar on salad is an easy way to take this remedy. Because of the danger of kidney damage, I use small (1-5 drop) doses of rosemary tincture, and only occasionally.


    As a seasoning, rosemary feeds the brain and helps prevent cancer. As a medicine, rosemary restores memory and improves digestion. No wonder boxes made of rosemary wood are considered magical. As rosemary is only happy when commanded by a woman, its magic is most suited to the needs of women. Perhaps Pandora's box was made of rosemary wood. For sure, your life will be more magical when you remember rosemary.

  • Tuesday, September 29, 2020 1:44 PM | Anonymous

    Did you know that black-eyed Susan roots can be used for the same purposes as echinacea root?

  • Tuesday, September 29, 2020 12:41 PM | Anonymous

    Goldenrod Tonic
    Susun Weed

    Keeps the immune system strong all winter

    • Harvest goldenrod tops (flowers, some stalk and leaves) on a bright, sunny day.

    • Cut them up and fill any jar that has a plastic lid.

    • Fill the jar right to the top.

    • Now add pasteurized apple cider vinegar to the jar, again filling it right to the top. Screw on the lid. (Metal lids will corrode and ruin your tonic.)

    • Label.

    • Wait six weeks.

    Use on salads, beans, or in a glass of water, perhaps sweetened a bit with maple syrup, as a refreshing drink.

    Don’t like vinegar? Fill your jar with 100 proof vodka and make a goldenrod tincture, which is taken by the dropperful.


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