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with Susun Weed

November 2001 ~ Volume 1 Number 5

Legal Disclaimer


What's Inside Weed Wanderings this Month...

Calendar of Events

Feature Article
Using Herbs Simply and Safely

Book Review
NEW Menopausal Years

Ask Susun Weed
Orgasms increase fertility!
Bones need high-quality fats
Hot flashes are healthy...

Recipe of the Month
     Yarrow Skin Wash

~ New Links ~
Fun and interesting
sites for you to visit!

Extra Feature
What's Science Got to Do With It?


Weed Wanderings Archive


Wise Woman Center -- Workshops for Women
Join us this year for spirit healing and herbal medicine workshops, intensives, and apprenticeships with Susun Weed and other Wise Woman teachers. The Wise Woman Center in Woodstock NY exists to re-weave the healing cloak of the Ancients. This land, this sacred sanctuary for women is a place for the teachings of the Wise Woman way. The Goddess lives here, as do goats, fairies, green witches, and elders. Located between Woodstock and Saugerties, 5 miles from the NYS Thruway, the Wise Woman Center is easily accessible while private enough for nude swimming. You'll receive a map and directions when you register. Nourishing wild-food vegetarian meals are included with all workshops.

See the Calendar of Events & Workshop schedule (and to register) for this year, click here.


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? It depends on the herb! These thoughts on herbs will help you understand how safe--or dangerous-- any herb might be.

Follow these four steps to prevent problems when selling or using herbs:

1. Be certain you have the correct plant
2. Use simples - One herb at a time
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.

If you grow the herbs you sell, be meticulous about keeping different plants separate when you harvest and dry them, and obsessive about labeling.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.

Use simples - One herb at a time

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.

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.

Different preparations of the same herb 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 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.


For permission to reprint this article, contact us at:

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NEW Menopausal Years the Wise Woman Way

by Susun Weed
Introduction by Juliette de Bairacli Levy
Paperback - 304 pages (2001)
Published by Ash Tree Publishing

The best book on menopause just got better!
Originally published in 1992, Susun S. Weed has completely rewritten this classic after listening to over 20,000 women talk about menopause and what works for them.


Other titles by Susun Weed: Breast Cancer? Breast Health! the Wise Woman Way, Wise Woman Herbal for the Childbearing Year, and Healing Wise.. LEARN MORE...

Is This Menopause? Preparing for the Journey

Excerpt from Susun Weed's NEW Menopausal Years The Wise Woman Way

"Is today not the best day to begin?" asks Grandmother Growth. "If you are old enough to ask 'Is this menopause?,' you are old enough to plan your journey to the old woman you are growing into. Let us gather what we need. It is time to begin your journey into Change."

"Is this menopause?" is a self-answering question. As soon as you ask, consider the process begun. Something is changing or you wouldn't be asking. Irregular periods? An occasional hot flash? If you are over forty, you are definitely beginning your menopausal years. (Menopausal changes begin for some women even earlier.)

"Is this menopause?" It is the rare woman who menstruates every 28 days until one month she simply doesn't any more. For most of us, menopause is a process that takes many years, not a specific, knowable end-point.

"Is this menopause?" In linear time, in the minds of many MDs and gynecologists, menopause is a single event, a definite end: the last menses. Everything before that last drop of blood is called "peri-meno-pause," and everything after that last drop of blood is "post-menopausal." To this way of thinking, there are no menopausal women. Only peri- or post-menopausal women. This is like defining puberty as the first drop of blood and nothing more.

To the wise woman, to the woman experiencing menopause, menopause is a spiraling process over time. One that changes and shifts even as it courses though us, so we never know what to expect from day to day during the Change.

"Is this menopause?" you surmise as you skip a cycle, then bleed normally for a year.

"Is this menopause?" you ponder, struggling to understand your new sexual preferences and appetites.

"Is this menopause?" you desperately hope as the blood pulses out of you in torrents.

"Is this menopause?" Since you asked: Yes, it is. And there are preparations you can make now that will help ease your journey of Change, of metamorphosis, of initiation as a fully mature woman.

"Is this menopause?" you wonder, taking off your sweater when everyone else seems chilled.

"Is this menopause?" you guess as you start to bleed 13 days after your last menses.

Yes, this is menopause. Your menopausal years have begun. Ally with hormone-helpful herbs, now. They'll moderate menopausal flooding and stabilize the ending of your menstrual cycles. They'll nourish and tonify the glands in transition at menopause, so you can encounter your flashes (of heat! of insight!) with more serenity.

"Is this menopause?" you think as you awaken, in a panic, sweating, and toss off the covers.

"Is this menopause?" you wonder as you contemplate your first grey hairs . . . your first serious wrinkles . . . the softening texture of your skin . . . the way your breasts and belly are growing larger and giving in more and more to the downward tug of gravity.

"Is this menopause?" you suspect as you find yourself sleeping less yet flowing with creative juices.

"Is this menopause?" you ask, noticing that you're digesting everything (food, people, events) differently.

"Is this menopause?" you whisper, feeling bone-tired, deathly tired, deeply exhausted.

This is menopause and you are not alone. This is menopause no matter what your doctor says. You are beginning your Change and you can change with grace and humor. Let herbs and other foods rich in essential fatty acids help you Change. They'll moderate cardiovascular disturbances (flashes, flushes, sweats), strengthen your liver, and help keep your energy levels high and your heart healthy.

Let calcium- and mineral-rich herbs and foods give you deeper sleep, more even emotions, and strong old bones. (The more bone you build before your menses stop, the more you'll have as a crone.)

The physical/menstrual/emotional/sexual changes that accompany menopause may be frightening. Let Grandmother Growth help. She knows the ways of women's mysteries. She lives the ways of the Wise Woman, healing and wholing person and planet. She offers stories about Change. New ways to understand the menopausal years, and new visions of Old Woman, She-Who-Holds-the-Wise-Blood-Inside.

"Shall we begin?"

Excerpt from Susun Weed's NEW Menopausal Years The Wise Woman Way

The menopause "bible" for half a million women is now revised and expanded.

New! Menopausal Years includes all the effective remedies women know and trust, plus 100 new pages. Beautifully illustrated, superbly indexed, wrapped in the healing cloak of the Ancient Ones, this is a book for women of all ages who want strong bones, healthy hearts, and a long, joyous life without hormones.

"This book should be in the hands of every woman, world-wide, no matter what age."
Juliette de Baïracli Levy, author Common Herbs for Natural Health

"What a joy! What delight! User-friendly, poetic, and still gives the facts."
Rosetta Reitz, author Menopause: A Positive Approach

"I'm so glad Susun Weed exists - her work is vitally important."
Olympia Dukakis, Academy Award-winning actress

"An enormously rich and superior brew, brimming with a tremendous variety of useful information."
Mara Taub, author Menopause: A Self Care Manual

"Thank you for putting together such an important book. Women come into our library seeking this material all the time."
Maggy Brown, Center for Medical Consumers

"Your wild green wisdom has inspired me for years!"
Christiane Northrup, MD author The Wisdom of Menopause

ORDER Susun Weed's NEW Menopausal Years The Wise Woman Way

Wise Woman Herbal Series
Get all four of Susun S. Weed's best-selling herbal medicine books together and save 20%. The Wise Woman Herbal Series includes:
~ New Menopausal Years the Wise Woman Way (for Women 30-90)
~ Breast Cancer? Breast Health! The Wise Woman Way
~ Healing Wise
~ Wise Woman Herbal for the Childbearing Year ( in its 29th printing)
The total value of this offer is $59.80, Yours for $48.00 plus shipping.
Yes! I want to order the Wise Woman Herbal Series (click here).



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Extra Feature...

What's Science Got to Do With It?
by Susun S Weed

Once upon a time, healing was considered an art. Healing was understood by all to be a complex interaction between the patient, the healer, the community of living people, the communities of the plants and animals (and insects and rocks and fish), the communities of the non-living people (such as ancestors, spirit guides, and archetypes) and that mysterious movement known by so many names: Creator, God/dess, All High.

The healing arts included a keen knowledge of human behavior, a thorough knowledge of plants, a flair for the dramatic arts, especially singing/chanting and costuming/body painting, and a comprehensive knowledge of anatomy, physiology, and biochemistry. (If you think these areas are not arts, look at the system used by Traditional Chinese Practitioners which includes such "organs" as the triple heater and a dozen different pulses.)

Art does not preclude or oppose science. Science is, after all, only the honest testing of ideas and the ability to observe clearly the confusing relationship of cause and effect. The best of science is deeply indebted to art. Art understands that science is left-brained and art is right-brained, and a whole brain includes both.

Science, however, is not so easy with art. Science believes art is superstition. Science believes art is fuzzy, soft, not-replicable, and therefore untrustworthy. (It is interesting to me that the Liberal Arts University I attended -- UCLA -- required students to take a variety of science courses, but the Science College I turned down -- MIT -- did not require students to study the arts.) Science defines itself as factual and art as fantastical.

Truly great scientists understand the need to honor intuition along with information. But the world is rarely run by the truly great. So bit by bit, the art of healing is denigrated and the science of healing is venerated. The healer spends more and more time interacting with machines and drugs and technology and less and less time with the patient; more and more time studying books and less and less time learning about the strange, symbolic, provocative powers of the psyche. The healer focuses more and more on fixing the sick individual and less and less on the patient's need for wholeness in self, family, and community.

The herbalist becomes a biochemist. The pharmacist no longer needs to know botany. Herbs are presented as drugs in green coats. And the active ingredient is the only one worth mentioning.

Is this what I want? Is this what drew me to herbs? Is this what fascinates me about herbal medicine? My answer to all these questions is absolutely NOT. While acknowledging the usefulness of science, I maintain the right-brain's superior abilities in the art of healing. I defend the rights of the miracle-workers, the shamans, the witch doctors, the old-wif herbalists, the wise women, those who have the skill, the personal power, and the courage to midwife the changes -- large and small, from birth to death and in between -- in the lives of those around them.

Herbal medicine. Magical plants. Psycho-active plants. There is a thread here, and it goes a long way back. At least 40,000 years. The plants say they spoke with us all until recently. Forty thousand years ago we know our ancestors were genetically manipulating, hybridizing, and crossbreeding specific psychedelic plants. And using them in healing. Maria Sabina, one of the twentieth century's most renowned shamanic healers, went into the forest as a small child and ate psilocybin mushrooms because they spoke to her. She healed only with the aid of the
"little people" (mushrooms) and she healed not just body but soul. In the Amazon, the students of herbalism, of healing, are apprenticed to psychoactive plants as well as to human teachers.

There is a lot of talk lately about the active ingredients in plants. I've had many a chuckle as product ads claim to have the most of this or that only to be superseded by the announcement that a new, better, more active active ingredient has been found.

For example, when Kyolic Garlic was shown by Consumer Reports to have virtually no allicin (the "active" ingredient), Kyolic countered with an ad campaign claiming superiority because it contained a different, stronger, active ingredient.

For instance, most standardized St. John's/Joan's wort tinctures are standardized for hypericin. But the latest research shows that hyperforin is the real active ingredient!

To illustrate: an article several years ago in JAMA on use of Ginkgo biloba to counter dementia explained that no active ingredient from among the several hundred constituents present had been determined and it was, in fact, likely that the effect resulted from a complex, synergistic interplay of the parts. An article in the New York Times, however, cautioned readers not to use ginkgo until an active ingredient had been established.

It happened to me: An MD on a menopause panel with me told the audience that no herb was safe to use unless its active ingredient was measured and standardized. What can I say? To me the active ingredient of a plant is the very part that cannot be measured: the energy, the life force, the chi, the fairy of the plant, not a "poisonous" constituent. To the healer/artist/herbalist, the active part of the plant is that part that can be used by the right brain to actively, chaotically, naturally, "jump the octave" and work a miracle. This active part is refined away in standardized products, for the real active part is the messy part, the changeable part, the subtle part, and the invisible part.

Does science have anything to do with it? Certainly! The process of identifying specific compounds in plants, replicating them in the laboratory and mass-producing them as drugs cannot be replicated by or superseded by any healer or herbalist. Preparation of standardized drugs protects the consumer (usually) and protects the plants from over-harvesting (although the net effect on the environment may be detrimental).

If we put into the lap of science anything having to so with measuring and certifying, then surely I beg science to be the guardian of the purity of the herbs we trade in our commerce, knowing that art is the guardian of the purity of the herbs we gather ourselves. (A tip from the apprentice book: When Harvesting put only one kind of plant in a basket. This allows one to quickly and easily notice if an interloper has been mistakenly introduced.)

This story doesn't have an ending, for it is ongoing. The dance of health and illness, of art and science (and don't forget commerce) has no pause. So the ending of our tale is not happy, but neither is it sad. Take a look, the real ending of the rainbow is in your own heart.

To learn about the three traditions of healing, see Healing Wise by Susun Weed.

~RECIPE of the MONTH ~


Yarrow is a good companion plant in the vegetable garden. Its root secretions are said to be strengthening to other plants and actually make them more disease resistant. Yarrow is also said to keep ants and harmful insects away.

Yarrow makes an excellent skin wash, its astringency making it particularly beneficial to oily complexions. Pour 2 cups of boiling water over about 1 cup of crumbled dried flowering Yarrow tops, cool, and strain. Pat on the skin. This wash soothes chapping and minor irritations as well.

To dry Yarrow flowers: Gather freshly opened flowering stalks, breaking them off at the base. Tie in bunches of three or four and hang upside down to dry, in an airy place, away from direct sunlight. When they are thoroughly dry, remove the flower clusters carefully and discard the rest of the plant. Store the flower clusters in jars with tight-fitting tops, away from the sun.

Excerpt from Maida Silverman's A City Herbal

Learn more about Historical Lore, Legends, and Uses of Yarrow

NEW LINKS to check out...

InterNational Organization to Reclaim Menopause The purpose of this web site is to provide women with accurate, honest information about menopause from a perspective that views this process as natural and even health enhancing. It hopes to correct the misleading and inaccurate information that menopause is a deficiency condition that requires us to take hormones. Contributions and Feedback are welcome. Vicki Meyer, Ph.D.

Ancient Earth Wisdom
is a grass-roots effort, an herbal educational resource founded by Roxann Phillips, herbalist/naturalist. Concerned about the increasing regulations from the government, she feels that knowledge of the healing plants is a sacred birthright, not to be abused, or controlled and relegated only to those in positions of power. If you are interested in building a healing relationship between yourself and our Earth Mother, you are in the right place!

SHAMANISM - Working with Animal Spirits Shamanism, the world's oldest healing tradition, is found in all cultures on Earth. Shamans work with their allies--the animal spirits. Learn the wisdom of over three hundred of these spiritual teachers. Our site is simple. We have no dogma, no rituals, no human teachers. We charge no fees. We accept no gifts. We come to this place in space and time to share our teachings and to be a part of this intricate weaving of shared knowledge. Each of us has determined our placement. This site speaks to your soul. Each of you has been a member of all the cultures, all the races and all the religions that have graced Earth. We invite you to walk with us through our tapestry... and to awaken knowledge that lies deep within your soul.

Holistic Medicine Resource Center
Extensive documentation on holistic medicine, alternative medicine, holistic healing, nutrition, toxic consumer products and many other subjects. Links to other holistic healing sites, conference & retreat listings,case histories of healings & transformation, medical news items, holistic healing mailing list and USENET groups listings, alternative medicine practitioner directories, and much more!

NRDC BioGems - Save Endangered Wild Places

This website enables you to take fast and effective action in defense of our planet's most endangered wild places. The BioGems initiative is aimed at saving wildlands of exceptional natural values. The twelve BioGems featured here span North and Central America; the site also features a watchlist of South American wildlands under threat. All of these natural treasures are imperiled by logging, mining, oil drilling or other commercial exploitation. We have selected these BioGems not only for their ecological importance and their imminent plight, but also because well-coordinated web activism by people like you can make a very big difference in saving them. Become a Biogems Defender and be part of a coordinated effort to save endangered wild places.

Random Inspirations Inc was started by Dianne Duffett because of her strong feelings for need for this type of book. Serious changes in our health care system have motivated her to publish "Help Your Doctor Help You with your Personal Medical Journal," a new way of taking control of personal medical information. This medical journal is an effective way to keep track of personal medical records and provide accurate information to physicians and specialists.

Witchware Virtual Greeting Cards

Free virtual cards with lots of great options. Beautiful images of goddesses, fantasy, nature scenes, pagan symbols, beltane and more. Choose your own background, message, and sound, and font options!!! Delightful and practical...saves postage.

Merlinstar is home to "Spiritual Consultant" Valerie Celene, along with a Network of individuals and businesses dedicated to the "Soul Purpose" of expressing "Heaven on Mother Earth". Valerie has been sharing her gifts of "Spirit" for the past 15 years. She is Clairvoyant, Clairaudient,& Clairsentient. She offers a variety of services including... Psychic Consultations & Vibrational Healings ie: using crystals and essential oils to clear and balance energy on every level; body, mind and soul. Valerie offers private tutoring,workshops & on going classes in the areas of Spiritual/Psychic development, healing, and Body/Self awareness.

At every stage of developing and expanding a successful business, the Office of Women's Business Ownership is here to counsel, teach, encourage and inspire. America's 9.1 million women-owned businesses employ 27.5 million people and contribute $3.6 trillion to the economy - yet women continue to face unique obstacles in the world of business.

The U.S. Small Business Administration is doing more than ever to help level the playing field for women entrepreneurs, and the SBA's Office of Women's Business Ownership is leading the way. OWBO promotes the growth of women-owned businesses through programs that address business training and technical assistance, and provide access to credit and capital, federal contracts, and international trade opportunities.

Know of a good site to recommend?

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Bones Need High-Quality Fats
Infusion of Raspberry leaf - uterine tonic
Orgasms increase fertility!
Hypericum perforatum is the herb for herpes
Hot flashes are healthy!
Recipe for Brewing Infusion of Red Clover
Initiating Delayed Labor Naturally

If you have a personal health question for Susun, she has a free hotline every Tuesday evening (from Mid-April to the end of October) from 7:30 to 9:30 EST - Call: 845-246-8081. NOTE: It is helpful if you have read Susun's article and books before calling her, as you will find answers to your preliminary question there and so Susun will be able to help you with more indepth questions you may have.

Legal Disclaimer: This content is not intended to replace conventional western medical treatment. Any suggestions made and all herbs listed are not intended to diagnose, treat,cure or prevent any disease, condition or symptom. Personal directions and use should be provided by clinical herbalist or other qualified healthcare practitioner with a specific formula for you. All material on this website/email is provided for general information purposes only and should not be considered medical advice or consultation. Always check with your personal physician when you have a question pertaining to your health and healthcare.

Sent: Monday, October 01, 2001
Subject: Bones Need High-Quality Fats

Greetings from San Juan, Puerto Rico.

I like your articles.

When you say Bones need high-quality fats, can you be more specific?
When cooking which one I should use? If it is true that canola oil is more healthy?

Sent: Monday, October 01, 2001
Subject: Bones Need High-Quality Fats

Susun's Response:

There is , of course, much heated opinion and lots of contention as to what fats are the best. Here's my opinion.

Most everyone agrees that hydrogenated, even partially-hydrogenated, fats are to be avoided. I do not eat them at all.

Very many people believe that saturated fats such as those found in butter, meat, cheese, chocolate, and coconuts are not healthy. I disagree. In fact, I have seen plenty of studies that support my belief that these are in fact very healthy fats when eaten as part of a diet containing whole grains, cooked greens, and lots of fruits and vegetables.

As you mentioned, vegetable oils, especially canola, have received much favorable press. I do not use them though, as they are too rich in omega 6 fatty acids. I do use olive oil, which is not, strictly speaking, a vegetable fat; the olive is a fruit.

The healthiest women in the world eat about 8 gallons of olive oil a year, plus fat from meat and cheese; their diet contains no vegetable oils of any kind.

And: nowhere is it more important to get organic than in your fats -- that's where the chemicals are concentrated.

Green Blessings,
Susun Weed

Sent: Friday, September 28, 2001
Subject: Adenomyosis

I have a chronic condition called Adenomyosis...which is Endometreosis contained in the wall of the uterus... so there are pockets of calcification all along the back wall of my uterus.. in the myometrium layer... which causes cramping and very heavy bleeding during my periods ... cuz the uterus can't contract properly....

so.. I was wondering if you had any luck in treating women with this problem... I know its pretty common...I am 42 yrs and would like to keep my uterus... .. my hematecrit dropped down to 21.... 3 months ago...i have it back up to 30.. .. but it is such a strain on the body...if you have any suggestions or could recommend any healer in my area... i would be grateful....

Sent: Monday, October 01, 2001
Subject: Infusion of Raspberry leaf - uterine tonic

Susun's response:

Not sure what the best herbs for you would be. What have you tried? Motherwort tincture could be a helper to ease or eliminate the cramps. It seems to work deeper than ginger or catnip, but those are good remedies if you don't have motherwort tincture at hand. (It is easy to buy.)

Infusions of raspberry leaf, comfrey leaf, nettle leaf (any one) are renowned uterine tonics and I would drink at least a quart a day. And I would switch from day to day which I drank.

Chasteberry, also known as vitex, is a remedy which has helped many women with endometriosis and possibly could be an ally for you, too. A dropperful of tincture can be taken four times a day for several years or until you experience relief from pain and other distress.

I have not ever heard of your specific condition. Hope the above is of some help. Let me know, please, if anything is really successful for you so I can pass the news on to others.

Green Blessings,
Susun Weed

Sent: Thursday, September 27, 2001
Subject: getting pregnant and libido

I'm 35, I have a stressful job, and we are trying to get pregnant! We have been trying now for 6 mos. with no success. I feel worthless and tired. Not to mention, sex is the last thing that I feel like doing. A friend referred me to your web site and book. I'm looking for some help!!! Sex should be wonderful at this age, right??? Why am I so disinterested. If I could boost my libido then....maybe I could get pregnant. Any ideas??? thanks for listening

Sent: Monday, October 01, 2001
Subject: Orgasms increase fertility!

Susun's response:
Please have your husband read this. From now on you must focus on your sexual pleasure and trust that your baby will come to you when you are having fun. Of course intercourse is fun, but it is not usually the most pleasurable sex for women and it needs to come AFTER your orgasm. That orgasm will provide a more loving environment for the sperm to traverse on its way to the egg. Also, it is best if you focus your efforts on the days BEFORE you ovulate.

And, you have to have those orgasms even if you don't want them!! I know this sounds silly, but having orgasms is really to best way to reinvent your libido. Kegels help too.

There is a chapter on fertility in my book NEW Menopausal Years. Also information on Lunaception, a novel way to increase fertility. And lots of info on Kegels. You need this book.

You will also find an article on fertility on my website --- Feeling Frisky? Herbs for fertility.
And there is one in the september newsletter -- Fertility After Forty (Counts for you too!!)

Green Blessings,
Susun Weed

Sent: Wednesday, September 26, 2001
Subject: Help for immune/nervous system

Dear Susun,
I hope you find time to respond to my request for information. I suffer from genital herpes on a very frequent basis and I do what I can to avoid trigger foods and situations. I was hoping you might have suggestions for prevention of outbreaks, or even treatment during them.

Thank you for any help you might be able to offer.

Subject: Hypericum perforatum for herpes
Date: Monday, October 01, 2001

Susun's response:
Hypericum perforatum, also known as St Joans (Johns) wort is the herb I choose when herpes is the problem. The oil of the fresh flowers rubbed on the places where the sores appear can prevent them from coming out. Frequent applications is the key. Really frequent, like every 10-15 minutes if you can do it.

The tincture of the fresh flowers can be used to kill the virus. A dose is a dropperful, taken as frequently as every two hours if an outbreak seems close. I have seen this one-two punch get rid of shingles, which is a severe form of herpes, but it must be used at the time of the outbreak.

To get behind the scenes, you will need to use other herbs inbetween times. Recipes and suggestions for these can be found in either of my books Breast Cancer? Breast Health! the Wise Woman Way or Healing Wise.

Green Blessings,
Susun Weed


Sent: Sunday, October 07, 2001
Subject: hot flashes

Hi Susan,
I hope it is ok to ask you a question? I had a hysterectomy and can't and don't want to take hormone replacements; I am taking black cohosh, wild yam cream with progesterone; drink oatstraw and nettle tea daily but I still have incredible hot flashes; what would you suggest?
Thanks for your consideration in advance. Bright Blessings

Subject: Hot flashes are healthy!
Date: Tuesday, October 09, 2001

Susun's response:
Those hot flashes sure made me gasp for breath, sweat, and generally want to fall in a sobbing heap on the floor. Labor pains are not something I would choose as a vacation either. But both the hot flashes and the labor pains helped me birth a new being into the world: in one case my daughter Justine, in the other, myself as a baby crone.

The stronger and healthier the woman the more hot flashes she will have. Some women continue to have them into their 70s!! The herbs you are taking may be making things worse. Hot flashes are prompted by many things, including liver stress caused by excess hormones in the blood. Black cohosh, wild yam, progesterone cream -- all these stress the liver by adding hormones and do little or nothing to add to your health. So far as I am concerned, you are wasting your money on wild yam and progesterone creams. You can read more about these products and so much more in New Menopausal Years the Wise Woman Way, available in November.

And I have lots of suggestions for coping with hot flashes there, too. Have you invested in fans and air conditioning? Are you using liver helping herbs like dandelion? Cooling herbs like chickweed? Avoiding alcohol and orange juice and other triggers? This is a fantastic opportunity to get really healthy so you can enjoy the next fifty years of your life.

Green Blessings,
Susun Weed

Sent: Tuesday, October 02, 2001
Subject: Recipe for Brewing Infusion of Red Clover

Hello, I was wondering if you could give me the recipe for brewing red-clover tea to increase fertility? I have found a local supplier of organic red clover - should I buy the leaf, or the whole plant? Any information you could provide would be most appreciated. Thank you

Subject: Recipe for Brewing Infusion of Red Clover
Date: Tuesday, October 02, 2001

Response from Susun's Daughter (Justine):

The infusion - one ounce of dried herb brewed in a quart of boiling water for 4-10 hours

You should use red clover blossoms: vibrant purplish-pink (not brown), fresh smelling, as whole as possible. Store in dark, dry place, in paper bag or glass jar. The energy or life force, of an herb can be sensed even when the plant has been dried. Absence of energy means the herb is old or has been handled incorrectly. Hold the herb in your hands: feel for tingle, look for sparkle.

If you are buying by mail, return herbs that do not look, smell, and feel alive.

Infusion is the most medicinally potent water-based herbal preparation. My medicinal infusions contain a great deal of herbal matter and are steeped for a long time. The result is a liquid much thicker and darker than an herbal tea, leaving no doubt that you are dealing with a medicine.

Prepare infusions in pint and quart canning jars. A teapot or cup is impractical for the long brewing an infusion requires and their openings allow for volatile essences and vitamins to escape. Canning jars rarely break when filled with boiling water. They make it easy to measure the amount of water used in the brew.

For flower infusions place one ounce of dried flowers (two big handfuls) in a quart jar. Fill the jar to the top with boiling water, put on the lid and infuse for two hours. Flowers are the sexual expression of the plant. They are generally delicate and volatile. When the stalk and the leaves of the plant are used along with the flowers, as with Yarrow, Red Clover, and Skullcap, infuse for four hours, as though it were the leaves alone.

I urge you order a copy of Susun Weed's Wise Woman Herbal For The Childbearing Year - you will find it an invaluable resource. All of the information in this email is copied directly from her book, and there is so much more to discover!

Love, Justine (Susun's daughter)

Sent: Saturday, October 13, 2001
Subject: Wife and labor induction


My wife has a 10+ pound baby still inside and wants to induce labor naturally. Can you give me some natural, herbal tips or a link?

Thank You.

Sent: Saturday, October 13, 2001
Subject: Wife and labor induction

Response from Susun's Daughter (Justine):

here are a few pages from The Wise Woman Herbal For The Childbearing Year, this should help, if the baby is ready to come out and there are no other complications....Also, you will want to pick up a copy of this book if you don't have one yet...I will be really handy in the months to come...

Childbearing Year by Susun Weed
page 59 - Unripe Cervix ...

Before natural labor will begin, your cervix must ripen. Your fingers can tell if your cervix is ripe. An unripe cervix feels like the tip of your nose; as it ripens, it gets softer, more tongue-like. If it is necessary to initiate labor and the cervix is not ripe, these two herbs, together or as simples, will usually hasten the ripening. CAUTION: Do not put your fingers or anything else in the vagina if the membranes are not intact.

Taking Evening Primrose oil, three capsules daily for up to a week, may ripen the cervix.

Black Cohosh tincture, 10 drops under the tongue hourly, will have a noticeable effect on the cervix in three or four hours. Continue until the cervix is fully soft and ripe.

Nipple stimulation is very effective for ripening the cervix and initiating labor. Have someone else suck continually on your nipple, or roll the nipple between your thumb and finger. You may need to continue for many hours to establish regular labor. It's fine to rest during a contraction and resume stimulation as it fades.

p. 60-61 Initiating labor

The herbs used to initiate labor are listed here in order of increasing strength. With the exception of Castor oil (and there is some disagreement on that), these herbs will not be effective unless the cervix is ripe. CAUTION: Do not try to initiate labor unless the fetus is at least 37 weeks gestational age.

Get the uterus to begin contracting by "imagining" that it is. Don't try to force or push the feeling, just let it arise by itself. If your mind worries or focuses on the problem, gently return yourself to the solution by affirming that labor has begun and that you will feel it very soon. As with all visualizations, this one works well with any of the other remedies.

Homeopathic Caulophyllum 200x, is reported as a good labor initiator. The dose can be repeated every half-hour for two hours.

Labor can be initiated by stimulating the uterus. Rub the belly softly and persistently, with or without oil. Make an infusion of Blue Cohosh and use it as an enema. Have an orgasm. Rub and gently pinch the nipples. All are safe and effective ways to encourage uterine contractions.

Castor oil, a favorite herbal remedy of Edgar Cayce, is used internally and externally to stimulate the uterus, soften the cervix, and help initiate labor. Rub Castor oil on the belly and cover with a warm towel if the cervix is ripe and labor seems near.

Or use Castor oil as a stimulating purgative. The dosage and procedure for starting labor with Castor oil varies considerably from midwife to midwife, but everyone uses some form of this treatment. Two ounces of Castor oil, two ounces of vodka, and two or more ounces of orange juice is the usual dose. This is often followed with a hot shower. After an hour, the dose is repeated and an enema is given. The dose is repeated a third time one hour later and another hot shower enjoyed. labor will begin 3-5 hours after the last dose if all is well.

Blue Cohosh tincture, 3-8 drops in a glass of warm water or tea, is very effective in starting labor. Repeat every half-hour for several hours until contractions are regular. If labor is not underway in four hours, use a dropperful of the tincture under the tongue every hour for up to four more hours or until contractions are strong and consistent.

Homemade or commercial herbal labor tinctures, based on Blue Cohosh and supporting herbs, are commonly used as a safe and reliable way to initiate labor. Follow the directions on the tincture bottle or take 10 drops every hour until contractions begin. One midwife uses labor tincture hourly and homeopathic Caulophyllum 200x every half-hour. She says this establishes a smooth labor within five hours. Contractions build slowly when a labor tincture is used; do not discontinue until they become regular. See Appendix II -labor Tincture.

Excerpts from Childbearing Year by Susun Weed - invaluable for mother and baby

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Susun Weed's books include:


Wise Woman Herbal for the Childbearing Year
Author: Susun S. Weed. Simple, safe remedies for pregnancy, childbirth, lactation, and newborns. Includes herbs for fertility and birth control. Foreword by Jeannine Parvati Baker. 196 pages, index, illustrations.
Retails for $14.95
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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 $15.95 Order at:

NEW Menopausal Years the Wise Woman Way

Author: Susun S. Weed. The best book on menopause is now better. Completely revised with 100 new pages. All the remedies women know and trust plus hundreds of new ones. New sections on thyroid health, fibromyalgia, hairy problems, male menopause, and herbs for women taking hormones. Recommended by Susan Love MD and Christiane Northrup MD. Introduction by Juliette de Bairacli Levy. 304 pages, index, illustrations.
Retails for $16.95 Order at:
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Breast Cancer? Breast Health!

Author: Susun S. Weed. Foods, exercises, and attitudes to keep your breasts healthy. Supportive complimentary medicines to ease side-effects of surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, or tamoxifen. Foreword by Christiane Northrup, M.D. 380 pages, index, illustrations. Retails for $14.95

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