Wise Woman Herbal Ezine

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  • Wednesday, July 08, 2020 5:07 PM | Anonymous

    Weed Walk with Susun

    Elder (Sambucus canadensis)

    There is a woman who lives in the elder tree. She is called Elda Mohr by some. Ask her permission before harvesting any part of the elder and your medicine will be helpful. Ignore her, so the tales go, and your medicine may poison you! The flowers and berries are strong medicines, yet safe enough for infants. Tincture of the flowers yields a remedy that gently lowers a fever, preventing convulsions in the wee ones. The berries (which will come later in the year) not only make a great wine and a fabulous jam, they are anti-viral when tinctured. A great ally to have on hand to deal with colds and the flu. Elderflower champagne may have medicinal benefits, too, but I make it mostly because it tastes so good.

    Valerian (Valeriana officinalis)

    The root of this perennial plant is famous as an aid for those who can’t sleep. I personally find it overpowering; like a kick to the head. And as many as a third of those who take valerian root find themselves stimulated rather than sedated. So I tincture the flowers instead. They are softer and smoother; inviting sleep rather than knocking one out. Surprisingly, the fresh root is odorless. The stink of the dried root is caused by the break down of the active constituents. Consider growing some, if only to enjoy the butterflies who adore it.

    Day lily (Hemerocallis fulva)

    This showy roadside weed is one of the first edible weeds I put in my salad. There is no mistaking the bright orange flowers! (All upward-facing lilies are safe to eat, no matter what their color. Lilies that face out or down are not safe to eat.) In China, day lilies are dried and added to soups and other foods. Euell Gibbons dipped the flowers in batter and fried them. The blossoms, harvested early in the morning, just before they open, are considered a specific remedy for women with a genetic disposition toward breast cancer.


    Nettle (Urtica dioica)

    Uh-oh! Here’s nettle in flower. Too late now to harvest it for drying or eating. The only reactions reported from ingestion of nettle have occurred when the flowering plant has been consumed, so I stay away from it once flowers are visible. What can we do with flowering nettle? Wait; wait for the flowers to set seeds and for the seeds to ripen and then harvest the seeds. Or cut it and use it to make nettle rot fertilizer. Cover nettle stalks and leaves with cold water in a bucket, cover, and wait 3-6 weeks, or until it stinks. I use 1-3 cups of this diluted in a gallon of water to keep my gardens lush all summer.

    Raspberry (Rubus species)

    This photo is of a special local variety of raspberry that is incredibly delicious. Note that the back of the leaf is white. This is the easiest way to distinguish raspberry from blackberry; the color of the berries can be confusing, for there are red blackberries and black raspberries as well as black blackberries and red raspberries (and golden raspberries, too). As with the nettle, once the raspberry is flowering, I stop harvesting. Second-year canes bear fruit, so are not ideal for medicine, and the first year canes, which are the best for drying, need to gather energy now so they can fruit next year.

    Comfrey (Symphytum uplandica x)

    Here are the beautiful flowers of garden comfrey, the one that is safe to use. Wild comfrey, which does not occur in North America, has yellow flowers and is a smaller plant. Henry Doubleday, an Englishman, hybridized "blue comfrey," also known as Siberian comfrey, to remove the problematic, liver-disturbing alkaloids found in the wild comfrey. I have drunk comfrey infusion (mostly from comfrey that I have purchased from herbal suppliers) for over thirty years with no ill effects. My sweetheart, who drinks twice as much comfrey infusion as I do, was declared very healthy on a recent liver function test. (Which was done as standard procedure, not because there seemed to be a problem). To harvest: I cut entire flowering stalks of garden comfrey near the ground and hang them individually to dry. The stalk is especially rich in alantoin, a healing alkaloid.

    Green Blessings...

  • Wednesday, July 08, 2020 4:31 PM | Anonymous

    The Healing Medicine of Trees ~ Willow ~
    By Susun Weed


    WILLOW is an ogam: Sail or Salle, meaning “the color of death.” (That is, the wood is white, like bones.) The early Americans carved willow trees on gravestones because the willow rises up from the earth, then bends her branches back down to it. Willow, like elder, symbolizes a gateway between the worlds.

    Everyone knows and loves the willow; it is a common tree throughout moist, temperate regions. The weeping willow comes to mind first for many people; pussy willow is rarely far behind.

    Probably every one of the 400 species of willow has been used as medicine. For example, herbalist Ellen Evert Hopman cites Daniel Moerman who recorded Native Americans using S. nigra (black willow) as an anaphrodisiac; S. caprea (goat willow) as a specific against whooping cough; S. amygdaloides (peachleaf willow) as a sacred herb in the sun dance ceremony; S. arbusculoides (little tree willow) as an Eskimo/Inuit wound healer and soother of sore eyes; S. fuscescens (Alaskan bog willow) as a cure for mouth sores and an analgesic; S. Babylonica (weeping willow) as we do and as a “wind” tonic; S. candida (silver willow) as a reliever of fainting and trembling; S. discolor (pussy willow) as a stomachic; S. fragilis (crack willow) as a styptic, S. cordata (heartleaf willow) as a way to increase appetite; and S. purpurea (purple osier), S. gooddingii, and S. caroliniana (coastal willow) as an ally for rapidly cooling off the feverish.

    Willow is anodyne, diaphoretic, digestive, sedative, astringent, tonic, and anti-rheumatic.

    To the botanist, willow is Salix. The active compound is salicin. When extracted into vinegar (acetic acid), the compound acetisalicylic acid is formed. Thus, willow has long been used as a muscle relaxer, pain killer, inflammation cooler, and fever reducer. It is generally the inner bark of white willow (Salix alba) that is used medicinally, but I have it on good authority that the inner bark, the leaf buds, or even, in an emergency, the mature leaves, can be used successfully.

    For ease of use, put up some willow in vinegar or one-hundred-proof vodka. A dose (the equivalent of two aspirin) is a tablespoonful of the vinegar or a dropperful of the tincture. If using the dried plant, steep four tablespoons of inner bark in a quart of cold water overnight, then bring the whole thing to a boil. Cool and take a cup at a time.

    Willow is one of the original Bach flower essences. He suggests using it when there is bitterness and resentment. Willow is and was the wood of choice for the Druids’ harps. Willow is said to “speak the truth.”

    Willows always grow near water; so the sight of them signals water to the primitive parts of our brains. The wood of the weeping willow is so wet that, even when well dried, it hardly burns at all; rather it seeks up a choking and awful-smelling cloud of thick yellow smoke.

    Did you know that willows are unisexual? Male trees have yellow staminate flowers. Female trees have seeds surrounded by light, fluffy, whitish down. The seeds blow about in the wind and collect along the roadsides in great numbers.

    Willow is cultivated for use in making baskets and wicker furniture. In previous times, willow withies were used to create wattle walls, wattle fences, and coracle boats. Willow can be coppiced or pollarded to produce long, thin, straight rods that are flexible and easy to work with. An ancient Celtic house found in Ireland required five miles of willow rods in its construction. Willow is also used to make cricket bats and various useful hoops.

    Willow produces a rooting hormone that allows it to root when merely stuck into the ground. Willow tea helps other plants form roots as well.
    Willow is from the same root (wicce, to bend) as wicker and wicked and wicca. The early Greeks believed that nine wild orgiastic Muses lived in the willow tree. A willow wand is used magically for working moon charms and for casting spells to entice creative visions.

    A Japanese folk tale tells of a man who so revered a willow tree that it became a real woman, whom he married and had a child by. When the villagers cut down the willow – ironically, to build a temple to Quan Yin – the wife dies. Trees are our natural places of worship.

    Green Blessings...

  • Wednesday, July 08, 2020 4:24 PM | Anonymous
    Fresh Yarrow Tincture

    by Susun Weed

    Look for yarrow growing in fields and meadows. Harvest only the wild white yarrow. And harvest on a sunny day, in the middle of the day if possible, so the yarrow is strongly scented. For tincture, the flowering tops are the best. (For salves, the larger, lower, basal leaves are preferred.)

    I usually cut the top three or four inches of each yarrow plant, doing my best to allow the stalk to reflower by cutting just above a leaf node. I use the stalk, leaves, and flowers in my tincture.

    Using scissors, I cut the yarrow stalks and flowers into pieces and fill a jar with them. Then I add 100 proof vodka right up to the top. Lid it tightly. Stick on a pretty label with at least the name of the plant and the date. And wait. The tincture is ready to use in six weeks.

    I spray yarrow tincture on my ankles to repel ticks.

    I spray it all over myself to repel mosquitoes.

    I spray yarrow tincture on wounds and bug bites.

    I spray it on my toothbrush and use it as a deodorant.

    Yarrow tincture has many more uses. How will you use yours?

  • Tuesday, June 30, 2020 11:53 AM | Anonymous
    Tomato Toast

    Susun Weed

    My favorite summer breakfast. Raw tomatoes are so temping. Who could resist? But, I want some nutrition, not merely pleasure, from those tomatoes. Voila! We shall "cook" them with fat, in this case, mayonnaise. So slather it on. And add a fresh herb from your garden (unwashed so you get the good gut flora) for savor and flavor.

    2 pieces whole wheat bread, toasted
    2-4 tablespoons mayonnaise
    2 ripe tomatoes, sliced thick
    2 sprinkles sea salt
    2 tablespoons fresh basil, minced

    I understand that the first item on this list – whole wheat bread – may be the most difficult to get. Real whole wheat bread can be nearly impossible to find. For many years I simply made my own, since even health food stores that make bread rarely offer 100% whole wheat.

    The second item – mayonnaise – is so easy to get, the only problem is choosing from competing brands. Of course, you could make your own, in which case you can select the best ingredients.

    As for the tomatoes, I hope you can pick your own. I get my tomatoes from Hearty Roots CSA. And, my local supermarket stocks local tomatoes (and lots of other local produce, from corn to squash).

    How to make tomato toast:
    Toast bread and cool.
    Spread mayo on bread.
    Add sliced tomatoes.
    Sprinkle with Fleur de Sel or your favorite salt.
    Add minced basil, shiso, or any other of the anti-oxidant mint family sisters.

    Alternate versions abound, many of which hide the tomatoes in a sandwich. The ultimate version of tomato toast adds lettuce and bacon, and becomes the beloved BLT.

  • Thursday, June 25, 2020 10:02 AM | Anonymous

    Dear Susun,

    My daughter is 14 years old and has been menstruating for approx 1 1/2

    years. Her periods have been coming approx every other month and then

    she bleeds fairly heavily for 2 weeks. This month is a bit puzzling.

    She has been bleeding for three weeks continually and still going

    strong. I have been giving her a tonic tea for about 3+ years that

    consists of raspberry, nettle, alfalfa, mint, dandelion lf, licorice,

    motherwort & lemongrass. 1 c 2x day about 5 days on and 2 days off.

    About a year ago I made up a tincture of Licorice, black cohosh, pau

    d'arco,cramp bark, echinacea & kelp to help regulate her endocrine

    system. She takes a dropperfull from a 2 oz bottle 1 or 2 x day but I

    have stopped that for the time being. She craves kelp which I order

    from Ryan Drum and she eats it like candy, sometimes a sandwich bag full

    about 2-4x week.

    Should I be concerned about the duration of her period? She is in good

    health and except for having to wear pads for such a long period, has no

    complaints. She has never had cramps or other uncomfortable things with

    her period although right before and during her period her face breaks

    out with acne a fair amount. We did a Rights of Passage ceremony after

    her first period and she has a good healthy attitude about her period.

    I must mention too that she has a "learning disability" and functions at

    about a 7 or 8 year old level according to "the experts".

    I am thinking about starting her on Vitex tincture 1/4 tsp 2 x day to

    help regulate her endocrine system and blending another herb tea using

    raspberry, nettle and yarrow to help control the bleeding.

    I would most appreciate your input. It could simply be that her body is

    still adjusting to this new cycle but better safe than sorry.

    Thanks for your time.


    Susun's Response: Menstrual hemorrhage

    Dear one,

    First, let's get that bleeding stopped. It does not seem healthy to me that she bleeds so much and for so long. I like shepherd's purse tincture, a dropperful every four hours until the menstrual hemorrhage stops. Second, that kind of bleeding depletes the body's iron supplies, and when iron supplies are low hemorrhage is more likely to occur, so let's end that vicious cycle. Iron supplements are difficult to digest; yellow dock tincture or decoction is easy to digest and very effective. (More info in my book, Wise Woman for the Childbearing Year.)

    I am concerned that you are using so many herbs together. How will you ever know what is having an effect? You say you are using combination of raspberry, nettle, alfalfa, mint, dandelion lf, licorice, motherwort & lemongrass. 1 c 2x day about 5 days on and 2 days off. Instead, I would suggest that you make an infusion of nettle one day and raspberry leaf another day (you can flavor with mint.)

    Use one ounce of dried herb in a quart jar, fill to the top with boiling water, cap and steep for at least four hours. If you wish to use dandelion, use the root tincture and take 5-10 drops before meals. I would not use licorice with an adolescent (or most adults) as it can have severe side effects (thyroid disturbance, blood pressure problems, adrenal stress).

    As for your tincture of Licorice, black cohosh, pau darco,cramp bark, echinacea & kelp. . .yikes. I would not use this at all and am worried that it may be increasing your daughter's problems. The raspberry leaf and nettle infusions will help her more than this formula. I have never heard of using kelp in tincture form and am very pleased that she is eating it. That is the best way I know to take it. The other herbs in this mix I would not use at all in this situation.

    Chasteberry tincture is an excellent hormonal tonic. I think it is a great idea for you to use it. Yarrow increases menstrual bleeding and is frequently used as an abortifacient; I would avoid it in this situation.

    Green Blessings, Susun Weed

  • Thursday, June 25, 2020 9:38 AM | Anonymous

    Green Leek Vinegar

    Dear friends of the green,

    Let us make a delicious vinegar!

    Begin by buying (or harvesting from your garden) a bunch of leeks. Use them to make potato-leek soup or any other dish of your desire. Save those tough green tops. You know the part that I mean, the part you were about to throw away or put in the compost. Instead, chop it coarsely, and find a jar that will be mostly filled by the amount of chopped green leek tops that you have. Best if it has a plastic lid. The jar can be plastic, too. Don’t smash your chopped green leeks into the jar, but don’t let them be too loose either.

    After your green leeks are in the jar, pour apple cider vinegar over them, right to the top of the jar. I prefer to use pasteurized apple cider vinegar. I buy a gallon at the store, bring it just to a boil in a non-metallic pan over a high heat, then let it cool, and finally put in back in the original container, now marked so I know I have pasteurized it. Raw vinegar and herbs can combine to make strange (stinky) alien beasts!

    Label your vinegar with the date and contents. Wait six weeks. If you are impatient, you could probably use it after just two weeks, but wait as long as you can, which means, make it now, so it will be ready when you want it. Besides being a fantastic salad dressing and marinade (the softened leek tops can be thrown in too), your Green Leek Vinegar helps keep your cholesterol in balance and your immune system strong. This remedy is safe for babies and children.

    Hardy souls begin their day with a spoonful of Green Leek Vinegar in water. Whew! That’s a powerful potion!

    Copyright© Susun Weed

  • Tuesday, June 16, 2020 3:20 PM | Anonymous

    Glorious summer greetings to you as we fly toward summer solstice, the longest day of the year.

    I hope you have been eating your flowers. And that you will continue to eat flowers all summer long. There are many more wild flowers in bloom now – such as red clover and sweet clover and periwinkle (poisonous, but a few won’t hurt) – and many more to come, like daisies and day lilies and rose of Sharon. Some folks plant edible flowers, like pansies and nasturtiums. Others eat the medicinal/edible flowers from their herb gardens, like calendula and borage.

    Among other things, eating flowers is one way to get more flavonoids in your diet. I don’t know if eating flowers is common in the diet of all the blue zone folks, but I do know that eating flower flavonoids can help you live a longer, happier life.

    Flavonoids are found ubiquitously in the colored parts of plants. In fact, flavin-oids are named for the Latin word for yellow: flavus. Flavinoids have a wide range of biological and pharmacological activities. They have been shown to be anti-allergic, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anti-microbial, antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral, anti-cancer, and anti-diarrheal.

    Flavonoids help inhibit coagulation and platelet aggregation, reduce atherosclerosis, lower blood pressure, reduce oxidative stress, improve endothelial and capillary function, modify blood lipid levels, regulate carbohydrate and glucose metabolism, and modify mechanisms of aging.

    A recent study found that women who consumed the most flavonoids were the most likely to reach the age of 70 with no chronic or serious health problems.

    Over 5000 naturally occurring flavonoids are known. Foods with the highest flavonoid content are parsley, onions (and their skins), especially red onions, blueberries, currants, raspberries, black berries, grapes, black tea, green tea, bananas, peanut skins, all citrus fruits, ginkgo, red wine, sea-buckthorns, and dark chocolate (cocoa content of 70% or more).

    I strongly suspect that stinging nettle, red clover, comfrey leaf, and linden blossoms are also very high in flavonoids. And flowers are wonderful sources of flavonoids too.

    So eat the flowers and smile a happy, healthy, flavonoid-rich smile.

    Green blessings.


  • Friday, June 12, 2020 10:45 AM | Anonymous
    Postpartum Depression Brew

    • ½ ounce dried, shredded licorice root
    • 1 ounce dried, crumbled raspberry leaf
    • 1 ounce dried, finely cut rosemary leaves
    • 1 ounce dried, cut skullcap

    Mix the dried herbs thoroughly together. Use two teaspoons per cup of boiling water to prepare this strongly scented and interesting tasting tea.

    The usual dose is two or more cups daily for several weeks to two months.

    A tea made from the herb sage is an excellent post-pregnancy anti-galactagogue that dries up the flow of mother’s milk. But pregnant women should avoid sage at all costs; the herb has steroid-like factors that could induce miscarriage.

    Raw garlic is a great all-around food for pregnant women. It helps veins maintain or regain elasticity, reduces hemorrhoids and lowers blood pressure.

    Excerpt from The Wise Woman Herbal Childbearing Year

  • Friday, June 12, 2020 10:10 AM | Anonymous

    The Rosaceae (Rose) Family

    by Susun S. Weed


    Herbal medicine is people's medicine. And people's medicines are the medicines of the earth: the common weeds. Weeds, though often reviled, are powerhouses of nourishment, medicine, magic, and beauty. Their medicinal qualities, when wisely extracted and used, can counter major as well as minor disturbances of health.


    But do beware! Eating weeds has been known to awaken the "wild woman" within. A wild woman may run with the wolves, or even howl with them. Who knows what she'll do if she eats weeds and gets loose!


    Weeds in the rose family—Rosaceae—can certainly be triggers of wild and out-of-bounds behavior. Wild roses are particularly noted for inciting wild sensations in women. Look at how they spread their long limbs and intoxicating scent over everything.


    And what could be more feral, more dangerously wild than a blackberry patch? Brambles are in the rose family. At my brother's Oregon homestead, and along roadsides down under, blackberry canes grow as thick as my wrist and more than twice my height. . . overnight. That's wild—untameable, uncivilized, uncultivated, unconquered—Indeed. Who knows what will happen if you inhale their perfumes, consume their flowers, make teas of their leaves, bite into their fruits.


    But inhale, consume, drink, and bite we do. The rose family lavishes such abundant love and rich fruitfulness on us—who could resist her gifts? Who could refuse Rosaceae as juicy and delicious as peaches, apricots, cherries, plums, apples, pears, quinces, strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, rose hips, and almonds?


    Who would disdain to use Rosaceae as safe and effective raspberry leaves, hawthorn hips, peach pits, cinquefoil roots, and agrimony tops? Who is unaffected by the love magic of a deep red rose?


    Thorny, exotic, and deeply nourishing to all the senses, the rose family invites you to a friendly, sensual, love-in. Come, I'll introduce you.


    Almonds (Prunus dulcis). The only rose whose seeds we eat. One of my first teachers told me to "Eat three almonds a day to prevent cancer." She was right, too. Almonds contain numerous phytochemicals that are known to counter cancer. More prosaically, ground almonds are a superb skin scrub that removes blemishes while nourishing the skin deeply.


    Apricots (Armeniaca vulgaris). Both fruits and pits are highly regarded as anticancer helpers. The FDA says apricot kernels are poisonous; nonetheless, you can buy them in Asian markets and through underground networks of those who believe in their value. Unsulphured dried apricots are a regular part of my anticancer lifestyle; I don't eat the pits.


    Apple (Malus communis). An apple a day keeps the doctor away and cancer at bay. Apples and apple products—apple sauce, apple juice, apple cider vinegar—contain special fruit acids that not only block cancer formation, but also help prevent recurrences after treatment.


    Red cherries (Prunus), purple plums (Prunus), and red rose hips (Rosa rugosa). The dark, rich colors of rose family fruits indicates the presence of especially potent antioxidants known to counter heart disease, cancer and cognitive decline.


    Hawthorn (Crataegus species). Flowers, leaves, and fruits are all medicinal. Tincture of hawthorn berries is used worldwide to help lower high blood pressure, relieve congestive heart disease, and counter arteriosclerosis. A tea of dried hawthorn flowers and leaves is said to strengthen the heart muscle, ease anxiety, and sooth the grief of a broken heart.


    Agrimony (Agrimonia eupatoria). Flowering tops of this garden weed are dried and brewed into a tea considered helpful for diabetics and others with spleen, kidney, or liver stress. Agrimony is most often used to ease the pain of gallstones and acid indigestion. Salve or oil of fresh agrimony in flower is said to relieve varicose veins.


    Blackberry (Rubus villosus and other species). Root is a good choice for an astringent tincture. Prolonged use of a tea of the leaves is said to cure not only simple diarrhea, but even serious intestinal problems such as gastritis, colitis, and irritable bowel syndrome. If you chew fresh blackberry leaves to heal your bleeding gums, you'll be following a tradition which goes back to Biblical times.


    Cinquefoil (Potentilla canadensis and other species). Roots and leaves, flowers and seeds can be made into a tincture or dried and brewed as a tea. Cinquefoil remedies provide a mild astringent action sufficient to check diarrhea, nose bleeds, and bleeding gums. Potentillas are wonderful in the garden, too, and many cultivars are available. They flower freely and continue flowering for months, even in dry, poor soils.


    Raspberry (Rubus strigosus, R. ideaus and other species). Leaf infusion is a famous helper for pregnant women who want a well-toned uterus, and thus an easier birth. Raspberry infusion is used to prevent miscarriage when taken at the beginning of pregnancy, ease labor pains during the birth, and increase milk supply after. Some midwives rely on it to prevent postpartum depression. Fresh raspberries preserved in apple cider vinegar are a delicious heart tonic. Tincture of fresh raspberry offers fragrine, a tonifying alkaloid which strengthens the uterus and helps the hormones dance.


    Rose (Rosa rugosa, R. canina and other species). Hips preserved in apple cider vinegar are a tasty immune system tonic. The buds of rose leaves put up in half glycerine and half water yield a superior hormonal tonic. My favorite rose treat? Rose petals preserved in honey. What a delicious way to strengthen my heart, my nerves, my glands, and my immune system. A cold compress of rose water is a lovely way to relieve a headache.


    Rowan (Sorbus species). This most magical member of the Rosaceae family is also called mountain ash. It is said to protect high energy spots and to act as a guardian to the "gates between the worlds." The fruit is so high in vitamin C that it gave its name—sorbus—to the synthetic compound sold as vitamin C: ascorbic acid.


    With their delicious fruits, powerful medicines, fragrant flowers, aids to beauty, and sweet magical sparkles, the Rosaceae have something for everyone. See if there isn't one growing by your doorstep, in your garden, in a vacant lot, along the road. Smell it, eat it, enjoy it. Let yourself be a little wild.

    Join the wild wise women who are reweaving the healing cloak of the Ancients and spreading green blessings.

  • Thursday, June 11, 2020 2:34 PM | Anonymous

    Herbal Oils for Breast Self-Massage ~ Part Two
    by Susun S. Weed

    Using infused herbal oils is an easy and pleasurable way to keep your breasts healthy, prevent and reverse cysts, dissolve troublesome lumps, and repair abnormal cells. Breast skin is thin and absorbent, and breast tissue contains a great deal of fat, which readily absorbs infused herbal oils. The healing and cancer-preventing actions of herbs easily migrate into olive oil—creating a simple, effective product for maintaining breast health.

    Add beeswax to any herbal oil and you have an ointment. The antiseptic, softening, moisturizing, and healing properties of beeswax intensify the healing actions of the herbs and carry them deeper into the breast tissues.

    Whether you want to maintain breast health—or have had a diagnosis of cancer—infused herbal oils and ointments are soothing, safe, and effective allies.


    Evergreen oils

    Wonderfully fragrant infused oils can be made from all kinds of evergreen needles. (See page 298.) Evergreen oils are superb for regular breast self-massage, especially for those troubled with painful or lumpy breasts. Evergreens, including the renowned yew, contain compounds clinically proven to kill cancer cells.

    The most powerful in this respect are arbor vitae (Thuja occidentalis) and cedar (Juniperus virginia). But all evergreens contain antiseptic, antifungal, antiviral, and anti-tumor oils. I make my infused evergreen oil from white pine (Pinus strobus), the most common evergreen in my area; friends use spruce, cedar, and hemlock.

    Infused evergreen oils are generally nonirritating (a few women report sensitivity to spruce needle oil), but essential oils of evergreens can cause a rash. Essential oil of the evergreen tea tree (Melaleuca species) has been poured into cancers that have ulcerated, causing some to go into remission. This is dangerous and may be painful; I strongly advise you to seek counsel before you use tea tree, or any essential oil, in this way.


    Olive oil (Olea europea)

    The oil pressed from the fruits (olives) and seeds (pits) of these magnificent, long-lived trees is neither an infused oil nor an essential oil. It is my favorite oil for eating, cooking, and using as a base for infusing herbs. Virgin or extra virgin oils are great for eating but have a rich smell which is overpowering in an infused oil or ointment.

    As a base for infused oils, I use the less expensive (and less aromatic) pomace oil—made by pressing the ground pits after the olives have been squeezed dry. No matter what type you use, fancy or plain, olive oil will no doubt uphold its ancient and venerable reputation for healing and nourishing skin and scalp.


    Plantain leaf oil (Plantago lancelota, P. majus)

    With its brilliant color and its solid reputation as a breast cancer preventive, plantain oil/ointment is another favorite for breast self-massage. Frequent applications of the jewel-green oil—as many as ten times a day—have been used successfully by women to reverse in situ cancer cells in the breasts. Plantain oil is very easy to make at home. (The aroma of the finished oil reminds me of salami.) Plantain ointment is the first first aid I reach for when I itch, when I get a sting, when I need to heal torn muscles, when I want to draw out thorns, splinters, or infection, and when I need to relieve pain and swelling.


    Poke root oil (Phytolacca americana)

    That strange-looking weed with the drooping black berries that towers over gardens and roadsides throughout much of eastern North America is pokeweed—an old favorite of wise women dealing with breast lumps and breast cancer. If I felt a suspicious lump, I’d reach for poke root oil. It reduces congestion, relieves swelling, and literally dissolves growths in the breasts.

    Jethro Kloss, author of the classic herbal Back to Eden, used freshly grated raw poke root poultices to burn away breast cancer. Caution: Fresh poke placed directly on the skin is strong enough to damage healthy tissues as well as cancerous ones.

    The infused oil is also effective and far safer. A generous amount is gently applied to the lump, covered with a flannel cloth and then with a hot water bottle (no heating pads), and left on for as long as you’re comfortable. This is repeated at least twice a day. Poke root oil is too powerful for regular preventive care. Caution: Poke oil can cause a rash on sensitive skin. Ingestion of poke oil can cause severe intestinal distress.

    Poke root tincture can be used instead of poke root oil. The properties are quite similar, though the oil is absorbed better and may be considerably more effective.


    Red Clover blossom oil (Trifolium pratense)

    The infused oil of red clover blossoms is a remarkable skin softener. It melts away lumps, counters cancer, and helps the lymph system reabsorb unneeded cells. Combine it with internal use of red clover blossom infusion for an even better chance of eliminating abnormal cells and preventing breast cancer recurrence. It’s gentle enough for regular use in breast self-massage.


    St. Joan’s Wort blossom oil (Hypericum perforatum)

    The vermillion red oil of the flowers or flowering tops of St. Joan’s (St. John’s) wort is mild enough to be used regularly to promote breast health, yet powerful enough to seem positively miraculous as it repairs damage to the skin and nerves of the breasts. I consider it an indispensable ally for all women. In addition to using it for breast massage, I favor it for assistance in healing the armpit and breast area after surgery, reducing skin damage from radiation, and relieving nerve and muscle pain. Its antiviral powers pass through the skin and into nerve endings, preventing and checking a wide variety of skin problems, including virulent hospital-bred infections such as shingles.

    I find St. Joan’s wort oil an exceptionally useful ally for women dealing with nerve damage caused by removal of axillary lymph nodes. Frequent applications restore sensation, promote good lymphatic circulation, help prevent lymphedema, and offer prompt and long-lasting relief from pain.

    Women who apply St. Joan’s wort oil before and after radiation treatments report that their skin stays healthy and flexible even after dozens of treatments. In addition to preventing radiation burns, this oil prevents sunburn, too. It’s the only sunscreen I use to protect my skin, which gets plently of sun. And it’s a superior healer of sunburn, as well.

    St. Joan’s wort oil is an invaluable ally for those with sciatica pain, leg and foot cramps, ba ck pain, neckaches, arthritis pain, bursitis, or any other ache. I use it externally (along with 25 drops of the tincture internally) as often as every 10 to15 minutes when dealing with the acute phase of a cramped, spasmed muscle. For long-term pain, I use oil and tincture as frequently as needed, sometimes as often as ten times a day.

    St. Joan’s wort oil is also the best remedy I’ve found to relieve the pain and promote rapid healing of nerves and skin troubled by shingles, cold sores, mouth and anal fissures, genital herpes, and chicken pox. Hourly applications of oil, plus 25 drops of tincture taken internally at the same time, is not excessive in the initial, acute stages of these problems. As symptoms abate, I use fewer applications. In chronic conditions, I use the oil and tincture four times a day. Used as a scalp oil during chemotherapy, St. Joan’s wort encourages rapid regrowth of healthy hair.


    Yarrow flower oil (Achillea millefolium)

    Yarrow flowers and leaves infused in oil make a sparkling green oil that promotes fluid flow in the breasts and inhibits bacterial growth. Women have noted that consistent use of yarrow oil seems to prevent the growth of new blood vessels that cancerous tumors need for growth. Yarrow is also a wonderful ally for relieving swollen, tender breasts and nipples. As it may irritate the skin slightly, I use yarrow only as needed.

    Yarrow is a plant imbued with a reputation for psychic powers and energy healing. The aroma of the oil is said to give power to the heart and strength to the vulnerable. Sleep with yarrow, and you’ll have a dream of the future.


    Yellow Dock root oil (Rumex crispus, R. obtusifolia)

    This dark yellow, orange, or burnt-sienna-colored oil is a classic remedy against all hard swellings, tumors, growths, and scabby eruptions. It softens tissues and helps the body reabsorb lumps. The ointment excels as an ally for those dealing with skin ulcers (bed sores), burns from radiation, or mouth sores from chemotherapy. Yellow dock has been known to resolve worrisome nipple discharges. Yellow dock oil does not recommend itself for regular use; I reserve it for occasional intense use.

    ~ Part One ~


    Excerpt from: Breast Cancer? Breast Health! the Wise Woman Way
    by Susun S. Weed

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